Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal of Metal Assault recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Metal Assault: Usually you’ve been playing at least three songs off [“Among The Living”] in your set anyway, but this time you’re playing the whole thing. How much of a challenge is it actually, and how much did you have to prepare to play these songs?

Benante: I’ve been actually preparing for it, because one of the songs, we haven’t really played it live. So you have to re-learn how to play it and see what type of approach you’re going to put on the song too, because it’s a very, very fast song. So, I have to kind of pace myself, and it’s a challenge but I’m sure I’ll pull it off.

Metal Assault: Lately a lot of bands have been [playing their] classic albums [in their entirety]. Did this come about because other people were doing it?

Benante: Well, we actually did this back in 2005 but we played a big chunk of the record and not completely every song off of it. We may be left off one song. So to me this has always been a bit of an interesting concept to go out and play a whole album or a whole album side or whatever, and I remember back in the mid-’90s or end of the ’90s, CHEAP TRICK were doing it. They were playing the first four records, which I thought was great. They would play every song off of one record each night, and I thought that was killer!

Metal Assault: Coming to this new release of yours which is coming out in a couple of weeks, the “Anthems” EP, which has six covers, the“Worship Music” track “Crawl” and its remix version too. How did that come about? I think a few members of ANTHRAX have been talking about it for a few months, so is it something that’s been in the works for a while?

Benante: What happened was, we would always record B-sides and stuff, and we had a bunch of them that were recorded musically but we didn’t really finish them. Then we were talking, and I said we should really do something with these and may be do a bit more. So I mentioned RUSH, and “Anthem” was the song that came out. Then we were talking about more songs and the JOURNEY song came out. So I said I’m going to record these, do the drums and everything, and then I’ll put a scratch guitar part on it and send it. So I sent it to Scott [Ian, guitar] and thenFrankie [Bello, bass] got it and Joey [Belladonna, vocals] got it, and then we just finished all the stuff that way. We were so happy with the way it was turing out that I was like, “Wow, I bet our fans would really like to hear this!” And that’s how it happened. But we wanted to keep it as an EP and not a full record because we wanted to have it priced very well, you know? I mean, originally I jokingly said let’s charge $6.66, but iTuneswouldn’t do it.

Metal Assault: Why wouldn’t they do it? Was it because of the 666 thing?

Benante: Well, they said it wasn’t because of the 666 thing, but just due to the way their pricing works, $6.66 would not work within their system, which is, like, bullshit. Come on!

Read the entire interview from Metal Assault.