ANTHRAX’s CHARLIE BENANTE Talks Why He Writes Guitar Parts For The Band

Charlie Benante

During an appearance on Drum for the Song, ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante was asked how he ended up writing guitar riffs for the band and picking the six-string up in the first place.

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 [1985] ‘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.