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Exclusive: Anthrax Premiere Cover of Cheap Trick's "Big Eyes"

Exclusive: Anthrax Premiere Cover of Cheap Trick's

Today, brings you the exclusive premiere of Anthrax's cover of Cheap Trick's "Big Eyes." The song is from Anthems, the band's new eight-song EP that pays tribute to classic songs by some of Anthrax's favorite bands from the 1970s.

Anthems will be released in North America March 19 by MRI/Megaforce and March 22 in Europe via Nuclear Blast.

The EP includes covers of Rush's "Anthem," Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak," "TNT" by AC/DC, Boston's "Smokin'," "Big Eyes" by Cheap Trick, Journey's "Keep on Runnin," plus the album version and a special remix of Anthrax's "Crawl" from the band's 2011 album, Worship Music.

"We were toying around with the idea of doing a Cheap Trick song, and 'Big Eyes' was one of our favorites," said drummer Charlie Benante. "We recorded it, but then got busy with other things, so we never finished it. What happened was, Joey was out in LA doing vocals for the EP and Jay Ruston [co-producer] pulled 'Big Eyes' up and had Joey do the vocals, something we didn't know he was going to do. But it turned out so great. Joey's vocals are so amazing, so we knew we wanted the song on the EP.

"After Joey's vocals, all the song needed was a guitar lead, and I did that in my Chicago studio. I think the song turned out to be one of the best songs on the EP. Everyone in the band is a huge Cheap Trick fan. They were one of the first concerts I went to, probably in 1978 when I was living in New York, I saw them at the Palladium. Actually, 'Big Eyes' is the second time Anthrax has covered a Cheap Trick song; in 1992, we recorded 'Auf Wiedersehen,' which was the B-side of their single 'Surrender,' as one of the bonus tracks for Anthrax's Sound of White Noise."

"These are all bands I grew up with and have listened to forever," added vocalist Joey Belladonna. "It's just great music. I had fun singing these songs and I was happy recording together with Anthrax, doing classic rock songs. Fun stuff!"

Anthems was produced by Anthrax, Jay Ruston and Rob Caggiano and recorded for the most part throughout 2012 literally all over the world: at Benante's home studio, in Ruston's New York studio, on the band's tour bus while on last summer's Mayhem Tour, in hotel rooms, and backstage at their Berlin show last December.

Anthrax — Belladonna, Benate (drums), Scott Ian (guitar) and Frank Bello (bass) — hit the road last month in support of Anthems. They'll return to North America to headline the Metal Alliance Tour, which kicks off March 22. For all of these dates, Anthrax will be joined by Shadows Fall guitarist Jon Donais.

Check out Anthrax's current tour dates here. Keep up with Anthrax at their Facebook page!

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