ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante has told Eonmusic in a new interview that the band is planning “something special” to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary. “We’re working on something big for June, maybe July, which is going to commemorate our career, and we’re putting that together now,” he said. “It may be like a livestream type of thing, and it’s going to consist of a lot of songs, and a lot of songs that we’ve probably never played before. We wanted to make something special out of this, but yeah, look out for that announcement. We’re just putting it together now.”
On July 18, 1981, the then New York-based ANTHRAX was formed and started on the road to help change the history of music. Over that 40-year period, ANTHRAX has sold in excess of ten million units, received multiple gold and platinum certifications, six Grammy nominations and a host of other accolades from the media, industry and fans. In 1991, their music helped break down race and genre barriers when they collaborated with PUBLIC ENEMY on “Bring The Noise”. And, of course, along with METALLICA, SLAYER and MEGADETH, ANTHRAX helped pioneer the thrash/metal genre as a member of the “Big Four”.
When ANTHRAX celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2016, guitarist and co-founder Scott Ian said that his life had “changed profoundly” since the band’s launch. “I am a husband, I am a father,” he said. ” I am a long way from the 17-year-old soon-to-be-college dropout who co-founded a heavy metal band. The only thing that hasn’t changed, the one constant, is that I am still the rhythm guitar player in ANTHRAX. It’s what I get to do. I get to play in a band and I never take that for granted.”
In a 2018 interview with Fargo Monthly, Benante stated about ANTHRAX‘s longevity: “When you’re trying to keep it together, I would say it is important that you love what you’re doing. Throughout the years, we can see other forms of music take form and become popular. We are living in a time where the climate is telling you that rock music is done and that you need to make way for other genres. We’re, like, ‘no.’ Everyone is still here and you can see that. Just look at AC/DC or IRON MAIDEN — they stuck to their guns and they’re still relevant; that’s what we are too.”
Among the big takeaway experiences that stand out for the ANTHRAX members was when legendary author Stephen King included the band in one of his “Dark Tower” series books; in 2012, when ANTHRAX became the first metal band to have its music played on Mars, when NASA played “Got The Time” to wake up the Mars Rover Curiosity; in 1991, when they received their first Grammy nomination; when the band was caught up in the 2001 U.S. anthrax attacks and considered changing their name due to the PR nightmare that was caused; when ANTHRAX made a cameo appearance on the popular 1992 TV series “Married… With Children”; September 14, 2011, which was named “Anthrax Day” in the Bronx; and June 22, 2010, when the “Big Four” played together on the same stage for the first time ever in Sofia, Bulgaria.
ANTHRAX — Ian, Benante, bassist Frank Bello, singer Joey Belladonna and guitarist Jon Donais — is working on material for the follow-up to 2016’s “For All Kings” album, tentatively due in 2022.