Scott Ian. Does anything more need to be said? You can’t have thrash metal, without Scott Ian. You can’t have a mosh, without Scott Ian. You couldn’t wear fluro board shorts and be in a metal band in the 1980’s, without Scott Ian. Scott Ian is a larger than life character of the metal scene, his image, his signature jumping splits mid-riff, and his not-man on stage circle stomp, are even larger than the man himself. He has navigated his baby Anthrax into becoming one of the most important metal bands of all time and he has always been a huge advocate for the scene at large, and forged friendships across genres.
So what is Scott Ian doing in Australia, on his own, without his band? He is embarking on his first ever spoken word tour of Australia and he is bringing with him an arsenal of stories from the formation of Anthrax, his various side projects and his life in general; and if you have had the chance to read his autobiography, I’m the Man (2014), and Access All Areas (2017), you will know that it hasn’t been boring. I was fortunate to spend some time with Mr Ian, ahead of his tour next month
Scott how did the concept of your spoken word shows come about?
“About five years ago I got an offer to do a show in London where I would go on stage and tell stories. I did this out of curiosity as I had never done this before. I was struck by the offer, so did zero prep and got on stage and talked for two hours. I had a great time and it went over really well. And from this point I have toured the UK, USA and Europe and I love it. It is really something that I would like to continue to do in the future.”
How different are they for you from your live role with Anthrax?
“Other than the obvious, that I don’t have a guitar and a band, it is the same really. I am expressing myself physically and mentally and it is very much the same attitude except I have all of the responsibility and I really like this. It is still performing and interacting with an audience. ”
What should Australian audiences expect from your talks?
“I get asked all the time on this, what is the craziest thing I have seen on tour, or the craziest episode, or guy on tour. It is me talking about my experiences and all of the above. It is a reflection and retelling of situations throughout my career and people seem to really dig it. It is great for me to relive and share some of these things and people come back for more. That’s basically what this is all about.”
To focus now a little on your music, where is Anthrax currently at studio wise, after the release of your live album Kings Among Scotland?”
“We are not anywhere, we are out on tour with Slayer and we will finish up the year with them in Europe. After the holidays in January maybe then we will get in to a room and start writing some material. But at this stage, we are on tour, and we won’t be entering any studio until at least next year.”
How did the band go about getting Joey back into the band?
“We called him and asked if he wanted to be back in in the band and he said yes. It was as simple as that. Joey has been back in the band longer now than when he was in the eighties. You know we wanted him back and he wanted to come back and it was that simple.”
I have always been a huge fan of the John Bush era of the band, especially The Sound of White Noise, this is one of my all-time favourite albums. The band, until we heard material, coped a fair amount of flack at the time for this move, but how was the mood within the band as a unit at the time, were you nervous?
“We felt great. I can’t care what anyone else thinks. This is a big misconception, most bands don’t give a shit what anyone else says outside of the band, apart from maybe one or two people they trust. If you listen to everyone around you, you should go home. If you are in a band, and you are listening to someone else this is not appropriate. We never paid any attention to this, and remember it was also pre-internet days, so we didn’t get much of it. We made a decision at the time that we felt great about it, and we knew what we had. We had an amazing album that we were about to unleash and that’s what we did.”
In the media, so this may, or may not be true, there has been some coverage over bad blood with the band and John, is this true? And is a reunion type tour a possibility?
“There is no bad blood, John is a friend of mine. Franky was just at the Armoured Saint show in New York recently. There is zero thought though of any reunion, or tour at this point. We are all good and there are no issues.”
A side project of yours, that I think was amazing, and totally underrated, was The Damned Things, releasing Ironiclast in 2010. How do you look back on that album and touring, and is there any chance of that line-up playing together again?
“I love that album and yes there is an opportunity. We actually have a finished record but we don’t have any plans. This has been a secret, and no one knows this. But at some point we will get together again and release this record.”
If you could put together a supergroup to record with, who would be in it and why?
“I don’t know, I don’t know how to answer that question. It already exists and its AC/DC. My feeling toward this would be, you know, it is so hard to predict, and you don’t know if it is going to work. So I have no idea really. In a sideways way, if I could ever get on stage and play a song with AC/DC, that would be a dream come true. This is probably the closest I could possibly get to answering this question.”
Finally Scott, and thank you so much for your time, do you have a message for your Australian fans ahead of the tour next month?
“Yes I am so excited that I get come out there and do this. Australia is not a place that I don’t get to go to very often. This is amazing, and blows my mind and I plan on putting on a hell of a show. I love it down there and I don’t get there often enough.”
What an amazing person to chat with. He is an experienced man, one who speaks with authority and confidence, but also, as a man, who is humble and more than in tune with himself. I am really looking forward to the opportunity of hearing him speak next month and extrapolating further on his autobiography and beyond. Ticket information for the tour can be found below.
Interview by Mark Snedden
Scott Ian – One Man Riot Spoken Word Tour
Sept 24th @ Dunstan Playhouse, rAdelaide
Sept 26th @ Goldfields Theatre, Melb
Sept 29th @ Metro Theatre, Syd
Oct 1st @ The Tivoli, Bris