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Guitarist Rob Caggiano Leaves Anthrax

Anthrax PR 2012 L
Matthew Rodgers
From left: Frank Bello, Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Rob Caggiano, Joey Belladonna

"My heart is steering me in a different direction right now," writes Caggiano plans to focus on producing.

There's a major change afoot for Anthrax as it prepares to return to the road and to release its next batch of music. Lead guitarist Rob Caggiano has announced his departure from the band in order to focus on producing.

In a statement, Caggiano -- whose two stints with Anthrax ran from 2001-2005 and 2007 to now -- said, "I'm extremely proud of my time in Anthrax. Actually, that's an understatement! We accomplished so many great things together over the years and I shared some of the best times of my life with these guys. As a band, we also weathered quite a few storms along the way. It's been a wild ride (to say the least) from Day One and I wouldn't change one single thing about the last 12 years."

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Caggiano added that, "This is an extremely difficult and emotional decision for me to make but my heart is just steering me in a different direction right now. I've always been one to follow my heart in everything that I do and while this might be one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, it feels like the right one for me at this time. Scott [Ian], Charlie [Benante], Joey [Belladonna], Frankie (and John Bush) will always be part of my family and this decision doesn't change the way I feel about that in the slightest. I would also like to say thanks to all the amazing fans I've met and hung out with worldwide over the years. You guys always were and always will be the reason why I make music! In this day and age, being a musician isn't always easy -also an understatement- but the fans truly make it worthwhile for me. I hope to see each and every one of you again really soon. The fact that Anthrax is at the top of their game right now and totally 'out for blood' after all these years is a testament to this band's longevity and conviction! I'm truly honored to have been a part of their brilliant legacy."

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Anthrax, which is nominated for a Grammy Award this year, followed with its own statement noting that the group -- whose headlining run on this year's Metal Alliance Tour with Exodus and others begins March 23 -- is "considering several lead guitarist options, and will be making an announcement on that shortly." The group also affirmed that Caggiano's departure was amicable, stating that, "Rob has been an integral part of Anthrax for so many years, as our lead guitarist, in a production capacity, but most of all, as our close friend. His contributions to the band have been enormous. While we are sad that he is leaving, we wish him nothing but great success going forward, and hope to share the stage with him again sometime down the road."

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