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Danny Lilker Elaborates on Why He’s Retiring From Being a Full-Time Metal Musician

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Dan Lilker Retiring

We were caught off guard last week when the legendary Danny Lilker — of Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, S.O.D. and Brutal Truth — announced he’d be retiring from being a full-time recording and touring musician. Not that we should be too shocked — the announcement comes as his 50th birthday rapidly approaches, and we don’t blame the guy for wanting a more stable life than living in fart boxes and sleeping on hotel floors 8 months out of the year — but still, we didn’t see it coming. Chuck and Godless discussed this very thing at length on the MetalSucks Podcast this week.

Our buds at Decibel were able to track down Lilker for an exclusive interview after the announcement, and they wasted no time in getting Lilker to elaborate on why he’s putting down his axe for good, or at least letting it rest more often. Unsurprisingly, it all makes a whole lot of sense. Here’s an excerpt:

Lilker: So, two things specifically I wanted to address was 1) I am not stopping playing music. I am merely stopping being — as I phrased it — a full-time recording and touring musician, which means Brutal Truth. I still play in two bands here in Rochester that you’re probably aware of anyway: Nokturnal Hellstorm and Blurring. I’m still in Venomous Concept. I’m still in NunFuckRitual. If I am asked to fill in on a Lock Up tour when Shane [Embury] can’t do it, like I’ve done before, I will still do that. What I’m doing is just ratcheting things down so it’s just more occasional, as far as traveling. You know, I had Blurring practice last night. I have Nokturnal Hellstorm practice tonight. We’re both working on new tunes. And we’ll both be thinking about recording soon, and both bands play out here in Rochester, so I realize that people in Chile for example won’t get to see my band play here in Rochester or something, but that’s one thing.

Decibel: I think people don’t necessarily realize how many offers a band like Brutal Truth gets to play shows. And you guys take a lot of them. You do a lot of European tours where you’re gone for two weeks at a time, and it can really wear anybody down, traveling in that manner. This isn’t just like, “Hey, we’re gonna go do a few weekend dates.” And I know Brutal Truth doesn’t necessarily do the 30-date U.S. tour anymore, but that touring that you do is real and it’s a strain. So, I think it’s probably worth getting that point across: that even though Brutal Truth isn’t the band that’s out there touring six months out of the year, it’s still an excursion when you go out on tour.

Lilker: Well, yes. And, I mean, to put it in some perspective, I started out playing thrash. The first Anthrax album, back then I was like a peer with Metallica. You know? And I have chosen — I can’t even say “chosen” — I have followed my heart playing music, doing exactly what the fuck I want to, whether it’s lucrative or not. And, you know, hey, if I played fucking hard rock or whatever and went off in a big tour bus all the time, you know, maybe that would be easier, but that’s not realistic with the music that I play, so… whatever, tough shit on me.

Lilker also directly addresses the issue of why he decided to put out a statement announcing that he’s “ratcheting things down” as opposed to just doing so. And his answer to that makes a ton of sense, too! He comes off as incredibly grounded, comfortable with his allotment in life and straight to the point; a true NYC boy. Read the full interview here.

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