In Revolver's new Dec/Jan 2019 issue — which is on newsstands now and available via our webstore — we explore the theme of "Dreams and Nightmares" with the help of King Diamond, Myrkur, Alex Grey, Robert Englund, City Morgue, Venom Prison and others. Since the topic proved particularly compelling and revealing, we've asked some more of our favorite artists about their dreams and nightmares — including Anthrax's Charlie Benante. Below, the drummer/songwriter shares about being haunted by a man in an orange jumpsuit, the in-between dream state that led him to Worship Music, and why he wants to challenge his Big 4 compatriots to a Big Brother–style songwriting challenge.
WHAT'S THE MOST TERRIFYING NIGHTMARE YOU'VE EVER HAD?
Back in the early- to mid-Nineties, I was having difficulty sleeping, I was having these crazy nightmares, they were the kind of nightmares where you wake up and you can't move. It happened three times, where I woke up and there was this figure, this man, standing above my bed staring at me, in an orange jump suit. Even today, it just creeps me out. This happened three times. I remember telling my girlfriend at the time about these nightmares that I was having, that I couldn't move, I was paralyzed, I had to somehow wake up and know that this wasn't really happening. Anyway, we were in Las Vegas and she had the same nightmare. She woke me up and said, "Oh my god, I saw that same guy in the orange jumpsuit!" I was freaking out … I don't know if it was something that she experienced because it was something I told her about, it was on her mind and she had the same dream. But the whole thing just freaked both of us out.
HAVE YOUR DREAMS EVER INSPIRED OR INFLUENCED YOUR MUSIC?
There have been times when I remember waking up and saying to myself, "There's that riff, there's that melody," and I'd just hum it into a record or on my phone. But there was this one time that was part dream and part real. I woke up and the TV was on, and the guide was on, the listing of all the shows that were coming on, and the show that was about to come on was called "Worship Music." And I thought, What a great title. And I started to think about it more and more: It's not "worship music" like you go to a church or whatever faith you have. I worship so many forms of music whether it be Beatles music or Led Zeppelin music or metal in general, I worship music. And I think Worship Music as the title of our record, it hit a nerve with people, they reacted to [the fact that the title] can mean two different things: "I worship music," or "This is music of worship." I felt the same way about Aerosmith's record Rocks. On the album cover were diamonds with the words "Aerosmith Rocks." But you could look at it in a different way, that Aerosmith rocks.
WHO WOULD BE YOUR DREAM MUSICIAN TO COLLABORATE WITH, AND WHY?
There are so many musicians I'd love to collaborate with. It's always been a dream, of course, to work with a Beatle, or work with Jimmy Page or someone like that who I've looked up to since I was a little kid. Rush, working on a song with them would be awesome. Also, I'd like to take the members of the Big 4 bands and mix and match them and see what songs we would create. Have me join up with Dave [Mustaine], Kerry [King] and James [Hetfield], have Scott [Ian] get together with Tom [Araya], Lars [Ulrich] and [David] Ellefson, kind of like an episode of Big Brother, where we're all stuck in a house and we regroup to create new song and see what those sound like. I think that's a cool idea.
HAVE ANY OF YOUR DREAMS OR NIGHTMARES COME TRUE?
I'd say that the nightmare that we're all living in this country has come true.
WHAT'S YOUR DREAM FOR 2019?
My dream for 2019 is more music, better music, being created, being played, being accepted, being featured. Fewer people putting rock music down, more people embracing it and realizing that you should never, ever come down on a form of music that's been around longer than you have. On a recent tour we did — Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth — it was packed every night. I would look out into the audience and think, Rock is dead? Are you kidding me? It's alive and well and I think people need to embrace it, stand up for it and speak out for it.