When assked what made him pick up a six-string, Benante replied (transcribed by UG):
“How it happened was – I couldn’t really convey what I was hearing in my head through drumming to someone else, so I had to teach myself how to play another instrument, which turned out to be the guitar.
“It came very natural to me, it was just easy, and that’s how I would do it – I would just put tons of riffs on tapes and then just, later on, listen back and compile them and just make a song out of them and then bring it to the band.
“And that’s how it happened and basically it was after our first album [1984’s ‘Fistful of Metal’] when we lost our singer [Neil Turbin, who parted ways with the group in 1984] and we went in to start writing, which would be for the  ‘Spreading the Disease’ record, our second album.
“And Scott [Ian, guitar] basically took over a lot of the lyrics so that was his department, so I stepped up and took over the main musical side of things and that’s how it was and that’s how it is.”
When asked by Metal Rules a few years back if he ever wished he played guitar onstage with the guys instead of drums, Charlie replied:
“No, I do not wish for that! I enjoy playing guitar on my own and not performing with it. I guess because I have played drums for so long on stage that when I’m not playing them, I feel naked.
“Nothing is surrounding me. I’m confident in playing guitar in the studio, during rehearsal, or for myself but when it comes to being on stage; it’s just not for me.“
When asked what is his go-to guitar and amp of choice, the answered:
“Funny story, when we started making some money, one of the first things I bought was a car [laughing], a VOX AC30 amp, and two guitars. One guitar I purchased from Scott, which was an old San Dimas Charvel that I have written most of my Anthrax songs on it from the 80s.
“I also bought a Howard Roberts signature series Gibson guitar. To this day, I still have the amp and the Charvel. I’ve retired it for a while in place of some other guitars but will pull it out of the case when I get home from this tour.“