I was standing on the side next to Kerry King, watching Andreas play in Anthrax and I had my guitar on and I was warming up, getting ready to come out. So it was very strange and cool at the same time and Kerry he’s looking and he’s like ‘Wow, that’s got to be weird!’ and I said ‘It’s great, Anthrax is great!’. And Kerry goes ‘Man, I never got to see Slayer play’.”
Wikimetal (Nando Machado): Hi Scott!
Scott Ian: Hey, how are you?
W (NM): Good! This is Nando, I’m here with Daniel, we’re the hosts of the number 1 heavy metal podcast in Brazil, Wikimetal, how are you?
SI: Good, how are you?
W (Daniel Dystyler): Excellent, we’re great and very honored to have you on our show. We’ve been listening to everything you’ve been doing for heavy metal throughout the years and it’s really a pleasure, an honor, to have you on our show. So, in the name of all the head bangers in Brazil, I’d like to thank you.
SI: Right on, thank you.
W (NM): So to start the interview, about the beginning of your career, who were your main influences?
SI: The beginning of Anthrax, you mean?
W (NM): Yeah, or maybe when you started playing guitar.
SI: Well, when I started playing guitar it was lot of different people. Everyone from Pete Townsend from The Who to Tony Iommi, Ted Nugent, Ace Freely, Richie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen, Angus and Malcolm, Rudolph Schenker, Michael Schenker, you know. All of these people, probably. And Joey Ramone and I’m sure a lot of other people I’m forgetting.
W (DD): And talking about the early 80’s, on the “emerging heavy metal” scene, what were the main differences, in your opinion, between the guys from California and New York?
SI: Well… I guess the main thing I could think of was that the guys from California drunk a lot more than us. And I know that doesn’t have anything to do with music but, from the first times we ever met Metallica or Exodus or Slayer, or Megadeth back in 83, 84, 85, all those years, those guys drank so much. And none of us were really big drinkers at all, so when we would hang out with them it was always pretty crazy for us because we weren’t used to drinking like that. So I can actually say that was the biggest difference.
I haven’t stopped working in 30 years. And that’s why I have a career.”
W (NM): Can you tell us a little bit about that time? How was the, let’s say, file sharing, in the early 80’s? Did you use to send each other tapes, and use the mail and things like that?
SI: Yeah, there was a lot of tape trading back there, for sure. I can remember my first time ever hearing Mercyful Fate was because I was trading tapes with a guy from Denmark. So he sent me some Mercyful Fate stuff and I had never heard King Diamond sing before. And I remember being the first one of all my friends to hear King Diamond for the first time. So tape trading back there was a lot of fun. It was different because it wasn’t actually like stealing because you would trade tapes, you would hear stuff and as soon as you hear it you would go find it and buy it.
W (NM): Is it very different from today file sharing through the internet?
SI: Yeah, it’s a lot different. Everyone is illegally downloading and it’s not going out and buying the record after downloading. I would 99% of the people aren’t buying the record.
W (DD): Yeah, you’re right Scott. And although we always promote the new albums and try to explain that the whole business needs the support from the fans. If you download and do like a digital acquisition of the album, or a physical CD, or go to the show, or buy official merchandise… So we’re always trying to promote the band on that way.
Scott, as you play such an important part in the history of crossover, in your opinion who else was the main responsible for the crossover between punk and metal, and later between rap and metal? And who were your inspiration to play such an important role in these two merges?
SI: Well, I think for me Suicidal Tendencies would be the main… To me they were the first ones to really cross it over, because they had so many elements of punk, hardcore and metal. They had all three going on. We were huge fans of Suicidal. So, they were big influence on us, If anything certainly on me wanting to do the S.O.D album. I think Suicidal was a very important band. I think bands like D.R.I, bands like Corrosion of Conformity, bands like that from back then were really important in crossing over from let’s say the “punk” or “hardcore” side to the metal side. And certainly on the metal side obviously Anthrax, what we did with S.O.D and Slayer certainly were into it, they definitely had a hardcore element into their sound, from Show no Mercy to Hell Awaits you can definitely hear the hardcore element coming out more in their sound. I guess all those bands that I mentioned. Certainly there’s other bands too like, I would say, Faith No More early on, they were really breaking down a lot of boundaries with that type of music. But for me, If I had to name one band I would say the most important was Suicidal.
W (NM): Since you’ve mentioned Stormtroopers of Death, do you ever have problems with skinheads being a long haired Jew going to punk shows and playing in a punk band? Or let’s say hardcore band?
SI: You mean now?
W (NM): No, no. At the time.
SI: Oh, no, not really. I started going to CBGB’s in 1983 to see hardcore shows and I never had a problem. Nobody ever bothered me. Me and my friends, who all had long hairs, when we started going to shows, people accepted us right away. And it’s not because I was in Anthrax. Anthrax wasn’t really doing anything yet, so there was a certain element at that time that if you looked someway someone would want to fight you, but I always thought the skinheads had more issues with the punks. The skinheads and the punks were always fighting with each other. There was only a couple of heavy metal dudes, with long hair, even going to the show. So no one ever bothered with us, because there was only 3 or 4 of us at the time. So nobody really cared. You know, when I was going to the shows there was no nazi scene in New York at the time. Skinheads in New York weren’t Nazis at all. It was a lifestyle for sure, the skinhead lifestyle, but they weren’t Nazis, they weren’t racist skinheads. Maybe some of that element came in later on, in the late 80’s or in the 90’s, but in 83 until 87, when I was going to shows, there was never a problem with Nazis or skinheads, ever. Jewish, Christian, Muslim, whatever, it’s music.
W (NM): Since you mentioned that, here in the Wikimetal show we try to fight against any type of discrimination or prejudice.
I guess the main difference between the guys from California and New York, was that the guys from California drunk a lot more than us.”
W (NM): So, changing the subject, Scott, we have a classic question on our show that we ask every single person we interview. Just imagine yourself listening to music in a random way and a song comes up that you can’t stop yourself and you start head banging wherever you are. Which music would that be, so that we can listen on our show right now?
SI: Right now? I don’t know, how about Riff Raff from AC/DC?
W (DD): In our opinion Worship Music was one of the best albums of 2011. Can you tell us a little bit about the production and recording of this album?
SI: Sure, what do you want to know?
W (NM): Anything in particular you’d like to share with our listeners?
SI: Other than the fact that we had to find a singer come in, be on the record with us. Obviously that all worked out with Joey. It’s been almost two years already that Joey’s been back in band. We made this record very much the same as we’ve done every other Anthrax records. It all started with just us in a room, jamming on riffs and arranging music, and going from there. Our attitude with this album was…When we started writing this record it was the beginning of 2007 so it had already been 4 years at that point since We’ve Come For You All had come out. So we figured “alright, it’s already been 4 years, we’re not going to rush anything. As long as it takes for us to finish this album, it doesn’t matter”. Because it was such an important record for us, based on that it had been so long, so the record has to be great, it has to be the best thing we’ve ever done. We didn’t know how to do that, all we knew was how to write songs and play together like we always do. But we really really just didn’t give ourselves any schedule or any deadline. It was basically when we’re happy, when we’re 100% happy with this, we’ll know it. And it wasn’t until Joey joined the band and started singing on the songs that we realized that this is right now, this is the record we need to make. Pretty much Joey enabled us to make this record and finish it the way it needed to be finished.
Wikimetal (Daniel Dystyler): Where did the idea of putting together “The Big Four” tour came and how did it happen? Do you remember anything about the first time you were approached?
Scott Ian: The first thing we ever heard about it was from Lars. It was after the Metallica induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Charlie and I were invited to that. So it was at the party, afterwards. We were in the bar and we were all pretty drunk and Lars came up and said “What do you think about doing The Big Four?” And I said “What do you mean?” and he said “The Big Four, you know, us, and you guys and Slayer and Megadeth. What do you think about going and playing shows?” And Charlie and I looked at each other and we were like “Yeah! It would be great! Of course, we would love to”. So the next day I remembered the conversation, I was with a terrible hangover. I remembered Lars talking about “The Big Four” and I figured “Ah, we were just drunk, he wasn’t serious”. And it was a couple of months later, maybe three or four months, our manager got a phone call from Metallica’s manager asking if we would want to do it and if we were available. So that’s when we knew it was for real and obviously we were really excited.
Wikimetal (Nando Machado): In your opinion, Scott, how important was the reunion of these four bands and if you agree that after that there was a kind of resurrection of Heavy Metal?
SI: I wouldn’t say there was a resurrection of Heavy Metal because of The Big Four, I think if anything the health of Heavy Metal has been really good for the last… Maybe seven years, something? I’ll say all of the 2000’s, because for me, personally, things with Anthrax really started to get good again in the year 2000. A lot of the 90’s wasn’t so good for us. But from 2000 until now everything’s just going really well. So I think the health of Heavy Metal in 2009 or 2010… Yeah, 2010 is when we did the first Big Four tour, so I think Heavy Metal was doing great. And then we did the Big Four shows and I just think it made it even stronger than it has been in a really long time, because the Big Four shows … I mean, even if you weren’t a Heavy Metal fan you heard about this. And we played Yankee Stadium in New York and that’s such a big big thing, to play at the Yankee Stadium. So even millions of people who don’t even listen to Heavy Metal knew that these bands were playing at Yankee Stadium and obviously it just raises the awareness of this music, on a really big level. It certainly helps, you know, by doing these shows. It makes people really excited. I know fans all around the world are certainly excited about The Big Four because every city wants The Big Four to come and play a show and if it was up to me we would go to every city and play a show but I’m not the one making those plans. I’m hoping eventually we get to do more because it’s exciting for us, the band, to do it, to be together with all our friends, playing these shows. And we know how excited it is for the fans as well.
W (DD): I’m gonna ask you, Scott; being raised on Queens, New York, the concert at the Yankee Stadium probably had a special meaning to you. Any memories? How was that?
SI: For me I get to say it’s the best thing we’ve ever done in my career in Anthrax. To be able to say “I played Yankee Stadium”, you know, a sold out gig at Yankee Stadium…
W (DD): Sold out!
SI: To be able to say that is… I never even dreamed that I would be able to say those words, because it seemed impossible. Not that we would never be big enough, but bands just don’t play Yankee Stadium. Like, if you’re gonna play a stadium in New York usually you’d play at the football stadium or somewhere else, but the fact that we played Yankee Stadium just makes it even that much more special. And of course, I’m a lifelong Yankee fan so that helps as well, it made it even more special for me. The fact that I can tell people “Yeah, we played Yankee Stadium out here and I have pictures of me on stage” it’s still something really hard for me to actually believe.
I was with a terrible hangover and I remembered Lars talking about ‘The Big Four’ and I figured ‘Ah, we were just drunk, he wasn’t serious’. And it was a couple of months later, our manager got a phone call from Metallica’s manager asking if we would want to do it.”
W(NM): So, changing the subject again, Scott. Can you share with our listeners about your experience of having played with some rock legends like Roger Daltrey and Dimebag Darrell?
SI: Well, Darrell, we’ve been friends since 1985. We knew each other for 19 years. So we had a long relationship, a long fun relationship. It was more than playing with Darrell, we’ve been friends for a long long time. Roger Daltrey, that was a completely different thing, that was just kind of lucky. He was friends with my wife’s family, he was in L.A for a little while and we got to have dinner a few times and I asked him if he’d want to sing at the album and he said yes, so it was just kind of lucky and surprising that we got to do that. And it was really nice of him to do it. And it was great; it was pretty crazy sitting in the studio seeing Roger Daltrey playing an Anthrax song. Once again, that’s something in my life I’d never thought I’d be doing.
W (DD): Can you choose an Anthrax song that you feel really proud for having written so we can listen in our show right now?
SI: Yeah, I’ll pick off the new album, “In the End”. I think it’s been consistently my favorite song on the record and it’s my favorite song playing live since we started playing last October. So I’ll say “In the End” off of Worship Music.
W (NM): Scott, tell me, how did you have the idea of inviting Andreas Kisser to replace you when you had your kid last year (right?)?
SI: Yes, yes. I mean, it’s a pretty easy answer, because Andreas is fucking great, that’s why! I’ve known Andreas a long time, we’re friend and I’ve got to play with him together a few times whether it’s getting n the stage with Sepultura or… We played the Roadrunner 25th anniversary together, on a bunch of songs in New York. When my wife was pregnant and we knew the baby was gonna be coming, I knew it was going to be at the same time as a lot of festivals and Big Four shows in Europe. I made the decision that I wanted to be home for the birth of my son. So we had a lot of time to plan and Andreas was my first choice. In my brain, it was the first person I thought of. I talked to Charlie and Frankie; I said “What do you think of Andreas? To fill in for me when I’m not gonna be there?” And everyone thought it was a great idea, so… We got in contact with Andreas after and he said he would be honored to do, that it would be a dream come true for him. It just all worked out great. Because it was really important for me, personally… I had never missed an Anthrax show in my whole life, so I felt like I ha d a very good reason to not be at this. Anthrax shows. But at the same time the last thing I ever want to do is disappoint the fans. So I had to be sure that whoever was gonna be on stage filling in for me not only could they play the songs, but it was important to me that they also have some history. Somebody that the fans would love. And I just knew that once we told the world that Andreas was gonna fill in for me everybody would love that, because everybody loves Andreas. So I think the fans got to see something really cool by getting to see Andreas play with Anthrax. It just worked out great. It was actually a very easy decision.
W (NM): We were all very happy here in Brazil when we knew about that. We love that guy and he’s a very good friend of ours anyway.
W (DD): And Scott, we also interviewed Andreas and we asked him the same thing and he said exactly what you said, that for him it was a dream come true.
SI: Cool, yeah. For me one of the coolest things was I had to fly to Italy for one show because there was a photo shoot happening there that I couldn’t miss. So I flew out to Italy for the Big Four show in Milan. So what we did was we had Andreas play the first 5 or 6 songs, so he played the first half of the show. So I was standing on the side watching Andreas play in Anthrax and I had my guitar on and I was warming up, getting ready to come out. So it was very strange and cool at the same time, because I was standing on the side, next to Kerry King and he’s looking and he’s like “Wow, that’s got to be weird!” and I said “It’s great, Anthrax is great!”. And Kerry goes “man, I never got to see Slayer play”. And then I walked out after six songs, I came out on stage and there was a surprise for the audience, they didn’t know I was gonna be there. And then me and Andreas played the rest of the show together. So we had three guitar players on stage and it was fucking great.
I never even dreamed that I would be able to say those words, because it seemed impossible. Not that we would never be big enough, but bands just don’t play Yankee Stadium.”
W (DD): Being from New York, tell us a little bit about the period after 9/11 if there was any confusion about the name Anthrax. You, explaining that it had nothing to do with the panic related to terrorism?
SI: Well, I don’t need to explain it again, we were called Anthrax and we had nothing to do with this, we had no intention of changing our name. We weren’t killing people. It was as simple as that.
W (DD): How was the experience of participating in the Reality Show “Supergroup” in VH1 with Ted Nugent and Sebastian Bach?
SI: Ah, it was a lot of fun. I never got to do something like that before, certainly so. Getting to live in some crazy house in Las Vegas for two weeks with all those guys and actually live like a rock star for two weeks. It was a lot of fun.
W (NM): You had a lot of songs on TV series, horror movies and video games. How important do you think these alternative medias are to promote your music?
SI: I guess videogames are probably good because people buy a lot of them, so… I assume some of those big videogames are a great way to expose yourself to people who’d never heard you before. I don’t know about soundtracks or anything like that, I don’t know that anyone actually buys those anymore. Back in the 80’s it was good, but now I have no idea.
W (NM): You have a big relationship with the film industry, you just participated on “The Walking Dead” so what’s favorite horror movie of all time?
SI: Probably… Either “Dawn of the Dead” or “Evil Dead II”.
W (NM): What do you think of all these documentaries that have been produced in the last year? Like Lemmy, Global Metal, Get Trashed, there are so many. What do you think of them?
SI: I loved the Iron Maiden movie, Flight 666, I thought that was great. I really liked the Rush documentary, I thought that was really good.
W (DD): What would you say to a young kid who was just picking up the guitar and thinking of putting up a band?
SI: I would tell him “you’d better expect to work harder than you’ve ever had to work in your life and never expect, really, anything to come out of it. You just have to work and work and work and work and work. And never stop working. ‘Cause even now, 30 years later, I never stop working. I think people may have an idea in their head that once you’re in a band and if you have success it’s just all partying and hanging out and blablabla. Maybe for some bands it was, but in my experience I haven’t stopped working in 30 years. And that’s why I have a career. So I think that would be the best advice I would give somebody. You just better be ready to work really really hard and then, maybe, you’d have a chance for success.
W (NM): Ok, Scott, just before we finish, I’d really like to first of all thank you for your time, for sharing your time with us and also for everything you’ve done through the past 30 years. I think you’ve released some of the best Heavy Metal albums, Trash Metal albums of all time, I’ve always been a huge fan. So thank you for keeping the flame alive and keeping the band together. Just for us to end our interview, can you please leave a message to our listeners?
SI: Yeah, I can’t wait to come back to Brazil, it’s been a few years, 2004 maybe? I’m really excited, we’ve been to Chile, we’ve been to Argentina, we’ve been to some other countries a few times in the last few years. But it’s been a while for Brazil and I’m very very excited for finally coming back. Especially because the band is better than it’s ever been, we’ve made a great record, so I’m really really excited about getting to play in Brazil again.
W (NM): That’s cool. So thank you once again, Scott and we look forward to seeing you playing live here in São Paulo.
SI: Oh, cool, thank you so much, guys.
W (DD): Excellent, Scott, thank you so much.
SI: All right, Cheers