The record, which comes on the heels of Anthrax’s fantastic ‘Worship Music‘ album, also features the legendary metal group’s take on classic anthems by Cheap Trick (‘Big Eyes‘), Thin Lizzy (‘Jailbreak‘), AC/DC (‘T.N.T.‘) and Rush (‘Anthem‘).
Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante revealed to us exactly how the group chose ‘Smokin” for inclusion on this collection: “We were on tour, on the bus talking about putting the EP together, what songs we had started recorded that we would going to dust off and finish, and what songs we wanted to record. I remember I was was wearing a Boston t-shirt, and someone said ‘how about a Boston song?’ We didn’t want to do a song that was obvious, and when ‘Smokin” was mentioned, we knew that was the song. One of the great things about ‘Smokin’ is that there’s a really cool section that has a real ‘Anthrax-y’ feel to it, the guitars and drums and playing the same type of rhythm, the kick drums are going with the guitars – I immediately heard in my head what we could do with it.”
As fans of the original song are surely thinking right about now, ‘Smokin” features an extremely prominent keyboard part, something Anthrax isn’t exactly known for incorporating in their own music. What to do? Back to Charlie: “We had thought about having the guitar play the keyboard parts, but Jay Ruston [co-producer of Anthems] brought up the idea of bringing in his friend Fred Mandel to play them. Fred’s played with Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, and Cheap Trick, and he absolutely nailed the keyboards for ‘Smokin’. I’m so happy he did them, it really makes the record. I love the track, it’s upbeat, it’s fast, and it’s smokin’.
Benante and artist Stephen Thompson also created six different alternative covers for ‘Anthems,’ each one an “Anthrax-ed” take on the original song’s album cover art. As you can see they did a terrific job with the iconic image from Boston’s self-titled 1978 debut.
‘Anthems’ arrives in stores and at digital retailers Tuesday, March 12. Anthrax will hit the road on the ‘Metal Alliance Tour‘ — with support from Exodus and High on Fire — starting March 23 in Las Vegas, Nevada and ending April 20 in New York City.
Hear Anthrax Perform ‘Smokin” by Boston