Anthrax News: Drummer Charlie Benante recovering from hand surgery, Scott Ian says no new covers album, band settles lawsuit with former vocalist Dan Nelson
Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante is recovering from minor hand surgery, but the show must go on with the band, as Shadows Fall drummer Jason Bittner will be filling in for him on the the first few weeks of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, which just kicked off this past Saturday (June 30) in San Bernardino, California.
Bittner is a friend of the band and has most recently filled in for Benante at two Anthrax shows in Argentina in February, when Benante and bassist Frank Bello (who is Charlie’s nephew) missed several shows on the band’s North American tour to spend time with Charlie’s mother, who was terminally ill.
Bittner also previously joined the band on November 8, 2011 at Northern Lights in Clifton Park, New York to perform the Anthrax classic “Madhouse”. He also filled in on drums for Benante for two shows in January 2006 after Charlie was forced to leave the tour early to be with his wife Sandra, who gave birth to the couple’s first child, Mia Charley Benante.
Other members of Anthrax are no strangers to having fill-ins, as Sepultura guitarist Andreas Kisser substituted for Scott Ian in 2011 when he wife was having their baby, and Alex Skolnick and Eric Petersen from Testament, as well as members of Death Angel jumped in at a gig earlier this year when Ian fell ill.
Here’s the remaining dates for the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival:
Jul. 3 – Seattle, WA – White River Ampitheatre
Jul. 4 – Boise, ID – Idaho Center Ampitheatre
Jul. 6 – Phoenix, AZ – Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion
Jul. 7 – Albuquerque, NM – Hard Rock Casino Albuquerque presents The Pavilion
Jul. 8 – Denver, CO – Comfort Dental Ampitheatre
Jul. 10 – Dallas, TX – Gexa Energy Pavilion
Jul. 11 – Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Jul. 13 – Tampa, FL – 1-800-ASKGary Ampitheatre
Jul. 14 – Atlanta, GA – Aaron’s Ampitheatre at Lakewood
Jul. 15 – Indianapolis, IN – Klipsch Music Center
Jul. 18 – Oklahoma City, OK – Sandstone Ampitheatre
Jul. 20 – St. Louis, MO – Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre
Jul. 21 – Chicago, IL – First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre
Jul. 22 – Detroit, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre
Jul. 24 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
Jul. 25 – Cleveland, OH – Blossom Music Center
Jul. 27 – Philadelphia, PA – Susquehanna Bank Center
Jul. 28 – Pittsburgh, PA – First Niagra Pavilion
Jul. 29 – Washington, DC – Jiffy Lube Live
Jul. 31 – Saratoga, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Aug. 3 – Boston, MA – Comcast Center
Aug. 4 – Scranton, PA – Toyota Pavilion
Aug. 5 – Hartford, CT – The Comcast Theatre
Despite previous reports that Anthrax would be releasing an album or E.P. or cover songs to celebrate and thank fans for the success of the ‘Worship Music’ album, Guitarist Scott Ian has clarified that that isn’t factual. “We’re not working on a covers album,” Ian told VH1 Classic Radio. “It’s not at all what we’re doing. We just always record cover songs. They just happen when we’re in the studio or when we’re touring, we get bored of jamming on our own songs at sound check so you end up jamming on cover songs and eventually we’ll end up recording them and eventually, somehow, they end up getting released in some way, shape or form as B-sides, but we’re definitely not working on a covers album.”
Ian did say the band is working on new material: “We do already have two or three things kind of in the works as far as new music goes so it’s just a case of if you can get into that mode to start working on them. I can’t even explain why or how it happens but sometimes you’ll just get into a mode and you’re able to create and you’re able to work on stuff and move stuff forward, new stuff, but sometimes you just can’t. Sometimes you’re on tour and there’s just no spark, it’s just not there, it’s just all about what you’re doing in the moment, playing those shows.”
Anthrax were recently in Manhattan Federal Court to settle legal matters with their former vocalist Dan Nelson, who was in the band from 2007-2009. Nelson was part of the initial writing and recording sessions for the band’s latest album, ‘Worship Music.’ None of Nelson’s vocals were used on the record, several songs were rewritten once the band reunited with vocalist Joey Belladonna, but Nelson still sued the band for $2.65 million.
No details have been disclosed in regards to the settlement, but even if Nelson settled for less than his lawsuit, it still obviously left a bad taste in the mouth of Anthrax’s members. The New York Post reported that bassist Frankie Bello stated, “I’ve got to put a Band-Aid on my tongue from biting it so much,” after leaving the court house.