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GARY HOLT & CHARLIE BENANTE Discuss Touring Together, Road Stories & ANTHRAX's Cold Reception In The Bay Area

They're cool now, but Anthrax had a rough go during their first Bay Area show.

Benante Holt Interview

New Year, new slate of ripping tours for us grizzled headbangers.

A trifecta of metal vets kicked off a series of dates on January 17 as thrash legends Anthrax and Exodus, alongside the Zakk Wylde-led Black Label Society, began their trek through a frozen North America to kick-start the year with an abundance of shredding and moshing.

Metal Injection spoke with Gary Holt of Exodus and Charlie Benante of Anthrax on the much-hyped tour-package, their longtime friendship and everything in between.

"It's awesome. I mean, I've toured between Exodus and Slayer with Anthrax more than any band on Earth. It's like a Guinness Book of Records level of amount of tours, you know, like countless," shared Holt, admitting, perhaps shockingly, that he has never toured with the iconic Zakk Wylde.

"I've never toured with Zakk, but he's one of my like top three guitar players on Earth. So you know, I get to watch Zakk shred and destroy the fretboard nightly and I'm fucking very excited about that."

"So many tours with Exodus. And I will always say this about Exodus, that first album Bonded By Blood is to me the best thrash album," Benante shared. "That's number one for me. That record is relentless and the songs on there are so great. And man, they're responsible for a lot," he adds before diving into his friendship with Wylde, which has only compounded with the pair's involvement in the re-tooled Pantera.

"I've known Zakk forever," explains Benante. "I remember that first fucking day and he does too. And it was the first day of the Ozzy tour, and it was in Florida and it was Zakk's first show. This is like '88, I believe? Could it have been 89? I think we were in Pensacola, Florida. Maybe that's the first date of the tour.

"And I remember I took a bike out with me like a BMX bike on tour, and I was just riding it in the arena and Ozzy's band was on stage doing soundcheck, and the guitar player, who I knew was Zakk, this was before we actually met each other, he was playing 'Hotel California' note for note. And I remember I stopped my bicycle and I just watched and listened. And then I was just like, 'this motherfucker knows this song note for note!' I just thought that's a fucking great guitar player right there. If you come from that, from knowing that song and knowing those guitar players, you got it. And then afterwards we met."

Reflecting on cutting their teeth at the dawn of the thrash movement, Holt recounted his first experience playing alongside Benante and Anthrax, one particular performance where Exodus's legendary Slay Team was not buying what the New York based moshers were selling.

"The first time we ever played together, they were on tour with Raven, and they played San Francisco. We were asked if we wanted to play the San Francisco show and we did. You know, that was when Neil [Turbin] was still singing in the band, that was before Joey. And Anthrax got treated kind of rudely by the Exodus crowd in the Bay Area. You know, our fans back then, the whole [Paul] Baloff era, the Bay Area, they were aghast that Anthrax is playing after Exodus.

"And they were like, you know, super defensive about their guys. We're like, 'dude, we were asked to play this show!' We had to tell our guys, like, relax. The Slay Team, you know, our certain select group, our little entourage, our gang, if you will. They're all mad about it. Like dude, we were asked to play, and that's the first time we met them. And then the first time we toured was for our second album when Anthrax put out Among the Living. It was an awesome tour."

2/7 – Corbin, KY @ Corbin Arena [Tickets]
2/8 – St. Louis, MO @ The Factory at The District [Tickets]
2/10 – San Antonio, TX @, Tech Port Center + Arena [Tickets]
2/11 – Houston, TX @ Bayou [Tickets]
2/13 – Omaha, NE @ The Admiral Theater [Tickets]
2/14 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Criterion [Tickets]
2/15 – Albuquerque, NM @ Revel [Tickets]
2/17 – Riverside, CA @ Municipal Auditorium [Tickets]
2/18 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater [Tickets]

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