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Brandon Marshall of the Denver Westword recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Denver Westword: How do you view the current state of the music industry, and what do you feel needs to be done in order for new artists to survive it?

Charlie Benante: That’s a touchy subject, because there is no music industry. Basically, you’re out there on your own, dude. The thing that sucks about the young kids is that they think that music is free, and they shouldn’t have to pay for it.

Denver Westword: In 2000, when [METALLICA‘s] Lars Ulrich went to the Senate over Napster, did you have an inkling that downloading music was going to be so hurtful to artists? Did you support Lars‘s decision?

Charlie Benante: Oh yeah I did and I did support Lars.

Denver Westword: A lot of these younger kids aren’t going to have album artwork or liner notes because bands are not going to be putting out physical CDs. It’s become a financial and artistic loss.

Charlie Benante: Right, but what they don’t know won’t affect them. Well, think of things like this, people grew up never understanding what a record was, and then a tape came into play. Then, the CD came into play, and some people don’t even know what a VHS tape was. It’s just so far removed. In just a few years, you probably won’t even know what a fuckin’ CD is, because it will all be digital downloads. You won’t even have a physical copy in your hand to enjoy. It’ll just be air [laughs].

Denver Westword: Why do you think thrash metal has such a global appeal, and were you surprised to see places like Brazil and Germany become such a hotbed for it?

Charlie Benante: Well, let me tell you something about the South American audiences: They are probably some of the best audiences that hard rock and heavy metal bands will ever play to. They are so devoted and so passionate about the music. It’s amazing to see that. I love it. I’m not talking bad about other places, like America, or parts of Europe, or whatever, but sometimes they get a little jaded because they get it so often. You go down to South America, where they don’t get it so often, and you can just see how much they appreciate it. It’s a different vibe, man. They fucking’ let it all go.

Denver Westword: Tell us about the new EP ANTHRAX has coming out. Is it cuts left over from “Worship Music”? Is it already recorded? Do you have a release date set?

Charlie Benante: Well, we’re going to put it out in September, a year after the release of the record. So, we’re just looking to that release. Basically, it’s going to be made up of a bunch of really cool cover tunes and some live songs too.

Denver Westword: Are the live songs recordings from the last tour?

Charlie Benante: Yep.

Denver Westword: What bands are covered?

Charlie Benante: The covers that we did are basically a collection of bands and songs we love from the ’70s. It may consist of RUSH, BOSTON, JOURNEY and CHEAP TRICK. So, it’s a really cool collection of tunes.

Denver Westword: Are you guys going to speed some songs up and put an ANTHRAX twist on them?

Charlie Benante: We do, but I wouldn’t say we speed them up. I would say we stay true to what the songs are, but we give it our little imprint.

Read the entire interview from Denver Westword.

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