Of the three bands on the bill at Sunday's Jagermeister Tour Houston stop, Anthrax is perhaps the one with the most varied reach. Sure, everyone loves Slayer, and Megadeth has a dedicated following of Mustaine-iacs, but it was Anthrax who touched the most upon hip-hop and hardcore punk.
Their breakdowns were legendary, and they arguably helped create rap-metal on 1991's Public Enemy collaboration "Bring The Noise." Whether or not they should be strung up for that is your call. "Caught In A Mosh" has a disgusting boogie-rock groove that Fu Manchu and most stoner-rock bands have been chasing since Anthrax released Among The Living in 1987.
Most people forget that Anthrax was part of the Big Four of thrash, along with Megadeth, Slayer and the mighty Metallica. Of course, Metallica would go on to be the Beatles of pop-metal and wearing a Slayer shirt would get you suspended from school during the late '80s and early '90s. If you liked Megadeth, you just sort of scared people and were more than likely a suicide risk.
This summer the Big Four played a few shows together before Metallica ended their Death Magnetic touring cycle. After the shows, and Slayer's Tom Araya fully healed from neck surgery, they decided to jump on the road together.
Our first memory of Anthrax was the episode of Married...With Children where Bud and Kelly Bundy win the band for a day and they ended up trashing the living room. After that, they seemed like a decent band to get into.
Last week Rocks Off talked to drummer Charlie Benante, who with Scott Ian has been one of Anthrax's principal songwriters since he joined in 1983, about the band's recording future, their influence and Swedish punk rock.
Rocks Off: Is this the first time all three of these bands have been out together?
Charlie Benante: Nah, nah. We did a tour in 1990 called The Clash Of The Titans and it was us and all of these bands. After this summer's Big Four shows we got the idea to get together again.
RO: What are the biggest differences between that tour and now?
CB: We will be the first band on every night, and with the other tour it was rotated. Anthrax, we are starting to get our stuff back together again.
RO: And you guys have a new album coming out too, right? We read that the band recorded 13 tracks, but you may change some of them out.
CB: Yeah, by next year we will have a record out. We really, really like five or six songs, that we don't want to touch. We have six songs that we don't feel comfortable with that we will definitely rework and rewrite.
RO: You guys cover the Refused's "New Noise" live. How did that come about?
CB: We aren't doing it live anymore, but it may end up being a B-side. I was a big fan of that band, and Scott (Ian) was too. That whole record for me was way ahead of it's time. The sad part about it is that they put the record out, did some shows, and broke up. I just always loved that record and that song specifically.
RO: What modern bands do you see in Anthrax the most in?
CB: I hear elements of us in this and that. Right now, I can't say.
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RO: What records are you listening to right now?
CB: The Refused, as a matter of fact! They just re-released the album with a bonus package with a live DVD. I listen to a lot of old Scorpions. I liked the new Korn record too. Stuff like that.
RO: When you think of Houston what do you think of?
CB: King's X. They are good friends of ours, and I love that band. Whenever we come through some of the guys come out. DRI is another one of those bands that I still listen to, to this day and just love them. Everything. Those songs are awesome.