Among The Big 4 of thrash progenitors -- including Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer -- that takes over Yankee Stadium Wednesday, New York headbangers Anthrax originally coupled their social commentary with witty humor while wearing colorful Bermuda shorts. "Worship Music," the group's first new studio album in 21 years with iconic front man Joey Belladonna, unleashes all the fury of the band's classic works and sounds like the guys never parted ways.
Belladonna and drummer Charlie Benante talked to Newsday about the new album and thrashing into middle age. No shorts in sight.
Joey, have you enjoyed reuniting with Anthrax?
Belladonna: It's definitely a cool thing being together again, and I'm sure those people who enjoyed what we did before will be excited for the album.
Why name a song after Judas Priest and echo their musical style?
Benante: The day Scott [Ian] and I got together to start working on that song, Judas Priest announced they were going to retire. We were pretty bummed out about it. We gave it the working title "Judas Priest." And it stuck.
Is it funny to think that the Big 4 concert is like a middle-aged thrash festival?
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Belladonna: I don't think of it that way because there is a diversity of age groups at these shows. There are kids that are 8 or 9 years old with their father or mother. Or by themselves with their friends. There are plenty of people there that never got a chance to see us, which is awesome.
In 1983, Anthrax and Metallica shared a rehearsal space in New York. Do you ever look back and think about how far you've both come?
Benante: I think the boys we were are now men, and the memories of those days are things we all cherish. When you're 20, sleeping on someone's floor was just a part of it. The big sacrifices we all made back then are a true testament to how much we all wanted it. . . . I think these things are what keep us young.
Is the title "Worship Music" referring to the devout cult of heavy metal?
Benante: That's exactly what it's hitting on. One morning, I woke up at 5 o'clock, and the TV was on to a channel that said "Worship Music." Immediately a lightbulb went off that it was a great title, but it meant something different to me. It meant how hard rock and heavy metal fans are with music. They love a handful of bands and will buy anything from them. It is a form of worship; it's like their faith.
WHAT The Big 4 -- Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax
WHEN | WHERE 4 p.m. Wednesday, Yankee Stadium
INFO $94.50-$229.50; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com