Everyone's Replaceable

Eleven Ten Possible Guitarists Who Could Replace Rob Caggiano in Anthrax

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On Friday, lead guitarist Rob Caggiano announced that he was leaving Anthrax to become a full-time producer. With the band’s appearance on this year’s Metal Alliance tour scheduled to kick off in March, the band has promised that “we have been considering several lead guitarist options, and will be making an announcement on that shortly.” Which means there’s still time to play one of my favorite metal nerd games: fantasy casting.

I’d like to emphasize, as always, that I have no inside information. Anthrax could be jamming with Gordon Lightfoot right now as far as I know. These are just dudes who I think could be right for the job and/or would be cool in the position.

And so, that being said….

#1 – DAN SPITZ

ANALYSIS: Spitz is the obvious choice because — duh — he’s the original lead guitarist for the band, and his return to the fold would mean that the “classic” Anthrax line-up is back together for the first time since 2006. I’m not really sure why he left after that, but he doesn’t seem to bear any ill will towards his former bandmates. It’s hard to imagine the fans complaining if Spitz came back to Anthrax. And I’d certainly rather hear him wailing with ‘Thrax than doing DeusMonkey or Red Lamb or whatever the fuck his other band is called now. That being said, he’s born again, which I imagine gets real old real fast when you’re touring with someone. But that’s probably not an issue so long as he doesn’t constantly ask Scott Ian, “Hey brother, have you heard the good news?”

#2 – PAUL CROOK

ANALYSIS: Y’know what? I never did get the story on why Crook split with Anthrax the first time — maybe they instituted a “no blondes” rule? — but assuming he left on amicable terms, he’d be as good a replacement as any. That also assumes he wants to come back to Anthrax — last I heard, he was playing guitar for Scott Ian’s father-in-law, Meatloaf, which I have to imagine is a profitable gig.

#3 – MARTY FRIEDMAN

ANALYSIS: So yeah this is clearly never gonna happen because Marty Friedman hated Dave Mustaine so much he moved all the way to Japan to get away from him, and he’s apparently quite happy there, so joining another classic thrash band that sometimes tours with the Megadick is probably out of the question. Still, wouldn’t it be AWESOME if Marty Friedman did join Anthrax?

#4 – RICK HUNOLT

ANALYSIS: Like Friedman, he’s already got a ton of cred from his time with another revered thrash band, and unlike Friedman, he seems more open to revisiting his past. Actually now that I’m typing this, I can’t really think of any downside; Hunolt would be a really good fit for Anthrax. Hm

#5 – CRAIG LOCICERO 

ANALYSIS: Another guy who brings pre-established thrash chops to the table, he recently said that Forbidden probably won’t record any more. Obviously that doesn’t rule out touring, but… I’m just sayin’, dude might have some free time on his hands for a minute, and he’s another pick that would probably makes the fans’ collective dick hard.

#6 – JEFF LOOMIS

ANALYSIS: Once upon a time he almost joined Megadeth, which gives him a lot in common with half the other dudes on this list. In any case, if Anthrax was willing to hire Loomis and Loomis was willing to join Anthrax, this would be a no-brainer. He’s a great guitarist and a great songwriter and I can’t see any real downside other than maybe not getting to hear Loomis play his own material live for long stretches of time.

#7 – GLEN DROVER

ANALYSIS: Well, he’s a great guitar player, and he’s available. Would hiring put him a strain on the band’s relationship with Mustaine? Does it matter at this point?

#8 – ZAKK WYLDE

ANALYSIS: I can’t really see this happening for a number of reasons, but it would certainly cause one helluva stir in the metal community. Given how much Anthrax used to collaborate with Dime, there would be some nice spiritual balance to having Wylde join the group. And their guitar solos? Why, they’ve never sounded so squeally!!! 

#9 – ROB ARNOLD

ANALYSIS: I know Arnold is retired from touring (although I’m always of the opinion that the right gig will pull any dude out of retirement). I also have no idea if anyone in Anthrax is all that familiar with Chimaira. Really, I’m just a massive Rob Arnold fan who wants to see him back out in the spotlight. He’s obviously younger than the other members of ‘Thrax, but he’s a siqq guitar player and he writes awesome riffs and they’d be lucky to have him.

#10 – DAN NELSON

ANALYSIS: Clearly, this idea is ridiculous. I don’t even think Nelson plays guitar.

Okay, your turn! Do your own fantasy casting in the comments section below. If we throw enough names out there, we’re bound to stumble upon the dude accidentally.

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