• Beyond The Blast Doors

Anthrax drummer, Charlie Benante, talks Star Wars, Funko & Persistence of Time

Those that follow Charlie Benante, drummer and songwriter for thrash metal icons Anthrax, on any of his social media platforms know that when he isn't writing new music or recording quarantine jam sessions for his YouTube channel, he's posting about one of his two passions: his branded Dark Matter coffee or all things Star Wars.

What some of Benante's fans may not know is that, not only is he one of the Stormtroopers of Death, he is also an honorary Imperial Stormtrooper with the charity cosplay organization called the 501st Legion. The international group of more than 14,000 volunteers have been wearing custom built, screen-accurate stormtrooper armor since 1997 at Lucasfilm sanctioned events, local promotions or wherever a battalion of fans dressed in the Empire's finest is needed. They've even been called upon to be extras in the DisneyPlus series The Mandalorian. Speaking to Around the Galaxy's Pete Fletzer on the latest episode of the Star Wars fan talkshow, Charlie said, "It's awesome. I suited up for C2E2 [Chicago's pop culture convention] and nobody knew it was me."

His Star Wars enthusiasm doesn't end there. He's also an avid collector. "I've got so much stuff. I drank the Funko Kool-Aid a couple years back," he said. "It's impossible to have every Funko Star Wars Pop there is. There's too many, dude. I'm a completist, but there's no way I can complete that!" Viewers of Charlie's all-star collaboration YouTube videos will usually spy a different Funko Pop figure related to his guests or the song they are playing in some way behind the drummer somewhere.

On the band front, most recently Charlie has been involved in the upcoming re-release of the 1990 classic Anthrax album Persistence of Time, available for pre-order now. "The record is remastered. Everything that was lacking has been recaptured so all the low-end, the punch, the highs ... it just sounds awesome." The 30th anniversary package will also include tracks that follow the evolution of some of the songs on the record taking them from riff to rehearsal. "There's a whole video of us writing [the album] and demoing it. There's footage of us with Iron Maiden on tour." Finally, the cover artwork for the set is a variation of the original concept that Charlie had for the release.

The full, 40-minute Around the Galaxy interview includes stories of Charlie's first time seeing Star Wars in 1977, his response to the Prequels, the impact of John Williams' soundtrack and watching the Disney-era movies through the eyes of his daughter.

You can watch the interview on the Beyond the Blast Doors YouTube channel, listen on Apple podcasts, Spotify or on BeyondTheBlastDoors.com.

Pete Fletzer is the host of Around the Galaxy and a freelance writer who was best known for his work in the mid-90s for Star Wars Galaxy and Star Wars Insider magazines. He was a contributing editor and wrote content about toys and collectibles, unique fan stories and New York area Star Wars movie premiers. Follow Around the Galaxy and Pete Fletzer on Twitter @ATGcast.