10 Things You Didn’t Know about Charlie Benante

Charlie Benante

Charlie Benante is an American musician. He should be best-known to most people because of his role as the drummer for the band Anthrax. However, Benante has been involved in other projects as well, with an excellent example being his involvement in Stormtroopers of Death.

1. Born in the Bronx

Benante was born in the Bronx, which is one of the five boroughs that make up New York City. The place picked up its name because of a man named Jonas Bronck, an European settler from a time when New Netherland was still a thing. Said individual’s origin is a subject of dispute. However, the best-supported claim is that Bronck came from Sweden.

2. Not a Founding Member

The band Anthrax consisted of three individuals at the very start. First, there was the guitarist Scott Ian. Second, there was the other guitarist Dan Lilker. Third, there was the drummer Dave Weiss. As such, Benante wasn’t a founding member of the band.

3. Took Some Convincing to Sign Up

Anthrax’s line-up saw some serious changes in the earliest period of the band’s existence. For instance, the initial line-up consisted of Ian, Lilker, Weiss, plus the singer John Connelly and the bassist Paul Kahn. However, Kahn didn’t remain in said role for very long, seeing as how he was replaced by Kenny Kushner and then Lilker while another guitarist Greg Walls was brought on to replace Lilker. Similarly, Weiss winded up being replaced by Greg D’Angelo. On top of this, Jason Rosenfeld served as a temporary vocalist for some time until Neil Turban became the full-time vocalist. This line-up didn’t stay the same for very long time either. Both Walls and D’Angelo left, which shook Turbin enough that he came very close to leaving as well. Walls was replaced by Bob Berry and then Dan Spitz. Meanwhile, D’Angelo was replaced by Benante, though that took several months of persuasion on Ian’s part.

4. Has Been with the Band Ever Since

The line-up changes didn’t stop there. For example, Lilker was replaced by Frank Bello. Similarly, Turbin was replaced by Matt Fallon, who lasted for no more than a short time before parting ways with the band as well. However, Benante has been with Anthrax ever since 1982 in spite of his involvement in other projects.

5. Had Two Nephews

Benante had a couple of nephews, both of whom were the sons of Benante’s older sister. One nephew would be Frank Bello, who was Benante’s roadie before he became Anthrax’s bassist. Meanwhile, the other nephew was Bello’s younger brother Anthony. Unfortunately, said individual was murdered in the Bronx in 1996. Furthermore, the crime was never solved. Something that has continued to grieve both Benante and his nephew Bello. Indeed, the latter is known for having Anthony’s face tattooed on his upper right arm for memorial purposes.

6. Graphic Artist

Some artists stick to a single art. In contrast, others express themselves through more than one medium. In Benante’s case, he isn’t just a drummer, he is also a graphic artist. As such, he has created a fair number of Anthrax’s album covers as well as Anthrax’s T-shirt designs.

7. Does a Lot of the Songwriting

Speaking of which, Benante does a lot of the songwriting for Anthrax as well. In fact, one could say that he and Ian have been responsible for most of the music released by the band over the course of its multi-decade existence. The current state of things happened because of Turbin’s departure after the release of Anthrax’s first album in the rock industry. Thanks to that, the band had to scramble to write the second album. Ian took over the lyrical side of things, while Benante took over the musical side of things. Something that has remained the case for the most part ever since.

8. Big Fan of Jaws

Benante is known to be a big fan of Jaws, which remains one of the most influential movies ever made. After all, it was the prototypical summer blockbuster, meaning that it played an important role in establishing Hollywood’s modern business model of releasing simple, much-advertised action and adventure movies throughout thousands of theaters during the summer-time. On the more clearly negative side of things, Jaws was also responsible for perpetuating some very negative stereotypes about sharks. Something that has plagued conservation efforts ever since. Regardless, Benante is known to have a sizable collection of Jaws-related merchandise, with the result that he winded up appearing in the documentary The Shark Is Still Working in 2012.

9. Big Fan of Darth Vader

On a related note, Benante is also a big fan of Star Wars, which also played an important role in popularizing the summer blockbuster. In fact, his favorite fictional character is Darth Vader, who has been extremely influential on the franchise and beyond. This influence can be seen in how the Star Wars prequels were focused on the character to a considerable extent. For that matter, this influence can be seen in how Disney decided to lean into the inevitable comparisons between Darth Vader and the new villain of the Star Wars sequels, thus resulting in Kylo Ren who is haunted in-setting by said character’s legacy by being said character’s grandson.

10. Dating Carla Harvey

In 2019, it was confirmed that Benante was dating Carla Harvey, who is relatively well-known in her own right. Initially, Harvey became known as the Entertainment Reporter for the Playboy Channel. Later, she earned a degree in mortuary science from Cypress College, with the result that she actually spent some time working as an embalmer as well as a funeral director. Even later still, Harvey formed the metal band Butcher Babies, thus enabling her to fulfill her dreams of becoming a touring musician. On top of this, she has even written a book as well as comic books.

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