ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante spoke to “Drum For The Song”, the podcast hosted by Dane Campbell, son of ex-MOTÖRHEAD guitarist Phil Campbell, about how he was finally able to overcome his long-running battle with carpal tunnel syndrome, a repetitive stress condition that happens when a person does repeated movements with the hand and wrist. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I was suffering so much from it because I would go out and start playing the show, and then, by the fifth song, my hand would just go numb; I couldn’t feel the stick. I tried so many different things, from acupuncture to physical therapy. I even had a can of the spray air that when you turn it upside down, it gets really cold — I would do that to try to get the feeling back. I tried so many things, but I knew at the end of the day I was gonna have to have the surgery. And Paiste cymbals referred me to a doctor that one of their other drummers went to and was such a great doctor. [He] talked me through the whole thing, and my recovery was quick, and, to this day, it’s awesome.”
Benante urged fellow drummers suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome to find a surgeon with experience and expertise in the condition before undergoing the operation. “Make sure you find a good doctor, because I’ve seen drummers that have had [huge] scars,” he said. “And [on my arm] you can’t even see anything, where he went in. So you have to be careful.”
Beginning around 2012, Benante was forced to miss certain shows on ANTHRAX‘s tours due to his battle with carpal tunnel syndrome. He was replaced at the gigs initially by Jason Bittner (OVERKILL, SHADOWS FALL) and then by Jon Dette (SLAYER, TESTAMENT).
A few years ago, Charlie told San Antonio Metal Music Examiner about his inability to make all the dates on ANTHRAX‘s tours: “Unfortunately, we’re like athletes, and like athletes, they suffer from certain things. I suffer from carpal tunnel problems. But I try and do as much as I could when I can. So we still wanna keep the band… We don’t wanna disappoint people. So that’s why we do it that way.”
ANTHRAX is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2021 with a number of special activities and events. Formed by guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker in Queens, New York on July 18, 1981, ANTHRAX was one of the first thrash metal bands to emerge from the East Coast and quickly became regarded as a leader in the genre alongside METALLICA, SLAYER and MEGADETH.
Active over the past five decades, ANTHRAX has released 11 studio albums, been awarded multiple gold and platinum certifications, received six Grammy nominations, toured the world since 1984 playing thousands of shows, including headlining Madison Square Garden and playing Yankee Stadium with the “Big Four”.