Charlie Benante Says Anthrax Were ‘Arrogant’ Toward Joey Belladonna
Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante admitted the band had been “a little bit arrogant, a little bit ignorant” in their previous dealings with singer Joey Belladonna.
They fired him in 1991, paving the way for a four-album era with John Bush, before a brief reunion in 2005 failed to gel and the lineup finally settled again five years later.
“I’m happy to say that we are in such a good place," Benante told The Repository in a new interview. "I think back to the days of when we were a little bit arrogant, a little bit ignorant and with maybe too many yes men around to tell us, 'Don't do this.' ... It’s hard for me to say this, because I feel some of the records we did in the ’90s were really good. But, at the end of the day, you have to do what is more pleasing to you and more gratifying.”
He described the reunion as “a return to that sound you once enjoyed." “The first song Joey sang was ‘Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t,'" he said. "I remember hearing it back for the first time, and I got goosebumps. I was like, ‘That’s it. That’s Anthrax right there. That’s the sound.’”
Benante was asked why the two albums they’d released since Belladonna’s return, Worship Music and For All Kings, had resonated so well with fans. "For lack of a better explanation, they’re good,” he said. “I think people maybe are just tired of getting new music from their favorite bands that only have three good songs. Before Worship Music, we were in a very weird spot. We were very vulnerable. I don’t know if everybody who was in the band at the time wanted to be there 100 percent.
"I just worked my ass off to write the best batch of songs for what would become that record. Then I could see the interest maybe started to come back with the other guys, and they started to take it 100 percent as well. They may disagree with me, but they may forget what was going on at that point. Getting Joey on that record, re-establishing our relationships, I think we all worked harder for that, and the records musically show that.”
Benante previously said that work was underway on what will be Anthrax's 12th album. “I think the stuff that's already in demo form, it's already on its way to being included as the trifecta of this group of albums,” he said in the new interview. “I think this one may turn out to be the best one, but that's being premature. I'd really like to slow down on the touring and concentrate on creating some new stuff. Maybe next year will be the time to do that, and I won't have to look at a wardrobe case for a while.”