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Anthrax's rockin' present makes up for a rocky past

for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

After missing Anthrax's run on this year's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival tour, drummer/guitarist Charlie Benante is happy to be back on the road as the group continues to promote its year-old album "Worship Music."

"Yeah, it was a huge bummer," says Benante, 49, who will celebrate his 30th anniversary with Anthrax next year (only guitarist Scott Ian has been around longer). "I hurt my wrist -- I actually just fell one day. Nothing more exciting than that.

"But for me it feels good to be back and playing again. As soon as this tour started I just got in the zone and stayed there."

Benante is just as pleased that Anthrax -- considered one of thrash metal's Big Four along with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth -- is in a positive zone again, too. "Worship Music" came after an eight-year recording hiatus during which the group went through a couple of lead singers before bringing back Joey Belladonna, who was part for the group for its first five studio albums.

"It was a surprise...and it wasn't a surprise," Benante says of the Belladonna's return. "I really liked the way Joey approached some of the songs on the record. It was the perfect fit."

And Benante is hopeful that it will stay that way, without any additional drama or personnel changes in the future.

"I almost forgot a lot of the (stuff) that was going on in the past," Benante says. "I'm just really trying to concentrate on the now. We're doing really well. We're playing really good shows. Everybody's in good spirits.

"Sometimes it's difficult to keep it together, but if you can keep it together and you get the rewards of the shows and the fan interaction, you realize that we should just be thankful right now. If you're able to go and play music and keep it going and be successful at it, you've got to really give yourself a pat on the back."

Anthrax, Testament and Death Angel perform Friday, Sept. 28, at Harpo's, 14238 Harper, Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call (313) 824-1700 or visit www.harposconcerttheatre.com.

Web Site: www.harposconcerttheatre.com

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