Anthrax Drummer Charlie Benante Picks His Favorite Drummers
In honor of the hugely anticipated Big Four concert at Yankee Stadium in New York City on September 14, Revolver and Guitar World are celebrating the Big Four Weeks leading up to the show. Our websites will be giving fans eye-popping exclusives, previously unseen backstage video, excerpts from our interviews with the bands—including those in Revolver’s special issue devoted to the Big Four, which you can buy right here—and much, much more. Additionally, Revolver’s September/October issue (available here) features collectible trading cards, which you can view here.
A day before Anthrax join the other members of the Big Four—Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth—onstage at Yankee Stadium on September 14, the group will release its first album in eight years, Worship Music (Megaforce). While interviewing the band’s drummer, Charlie Benante, for a feature that will appear in the November/December issue of Revolver, we asked him to pick his favorite drummers. Before answering, he asked, “Five favorite drummers, it doesn’t have to be in one field—it could be from anywhere right?” His answers may surprise you.
Neil Peart, Rush
The first drummer that, still to this day, I get inspiration would probably be Neil Peart. I mean, what other drummer writes drum fills that people play air drums to, you know what I mean? He’s still one of my favorites.
Alex Van Halen, Van Halen
I just love Alex Van Halen, always have. He just has a signature sound. When I hear it, it’s like, Well, that’s Alex Van Halen, you know?
Jerry Gaskill, King’s X
He always kind of just makes my head spin a bit. He’ll throw in these kind of syncopated fills that just always get me, you know, it’s like “Ah, God that’s great,” you know. There’s a song on Gretchen Goes to Nebraska where he just lays this pattern down, it’s called “Burning Down,” he just does this pattern for the rest of the song and just the way he does it, he doesn’t push it, he doesn’t pull it—it’s just beautiful. It’s like a drum machine, but it’s not, because it’s human and it’s very Jerry Gaskill.
Lars Ulrich, Metallica, and Dave Lombardo, Slayer
Some of these Big Four drummers have a place here, too,’cause we all were coming up together in this whole movement, this whole thrash movement—me, Lars, and Dave. And I think the three drummers always had something that was different from the other. I love the way Lars would sync in a song and I love the way Dave’s aggression in the song propelled the song. So I’d have to say those two together.
Ringo Starr, The Beatles
The first drummer I ever heard was Ringo. And Ringo’s one of those drummers that, Ringo started off as a fucking killer drummer—I mean, he just had that swing, everything. Later on the Beatles’ albums, he kind of lost it a bit for me. He just kind of become very lazy. But those first few Beatles records, man, where he would just rock it, he’s fucking awesome. So I would say those are my five that I still dig.