Scott Ian – Anthrax ‘Jackson Guitars’ Tribute to Dimebag Darrell’


I’m a massive nerd. Not one of the super smart ones like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, but more like the ones that geek out on science fiction movies and old comic books like MAD Magazine and 2000AD while wearing vintage t-shirts featuring 80’s robot cartoons on them… like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. To top it off I have been known to geek out hard on heavy metal including, but not limited to, two bands in particular.

Pantera, and Anthrax.

The second my best mate Jack showed me Pantera’s film clip for ‘Mouth For War’ off of their album Vulgar Display of Power I was hooked. Much in the same way when my buddy Rob from up the road introduced me to Anthrax, a band that I immediately frothed on, especially after I found out that they sang songs about Judge Dredd (a 2000AD staple) whilst having some of their artwork drawn by the late great MAD Magazine illustrator Mort Drucker. 

To me, it ticked so many boxes.

So when I found out that Scott Ian of Anthrax and Mr Bungle was releasing a new signature Jackson guitar, the X Series Signature Scott Ian KVX King VTM “Baldini” in tribute to his dear departed friend, Dimebag Darrell Abbott of Pantera, I simply had to speak with the legend. I managed to get hold of him between shows on his current Mr Bungle tour, but in true fanboy fashion it didn’t take long before I started chewing his ear off about our mutual love of comic books, their creators (like Alex Ross, their longtime album cover artist) and their recently released Anthrax: Among The Living graphic novel celebrating the band’s landmark album. But I just had to hit him up about the book’s long list of contributors, a veritable who’s who of comic-doms biggest legends.

So as a fanboy yourself (and I say fanboy with the highest amount of respect), did you geek out a bit when you got the chance to work with these amazing artists and writers?

We get asked all the time to do stuff and people have been talking to us about a comic book. ’You should write a comic, you should write a comic.’ I don’t want to write a comic about my band. I think it’s cheesy. I don’t have any ideas that make any sense and I have no time. There’s never any reason to do anything like that. Then when Z2 [Comics, the company that published it], hit us up, they came to us with the idea. ‘What if we take Among The Living, and we have different contributors, that pick a song, and write whatever inspires them? It doesn’t have to be about the lyrics that you wrote, it could just be whatever they’re inspired to write by a song.’ I thought the idea was brilliant.

But still, my biggest caveat was, I’m gonna make a list of people that I want to be a part of this, and if we can’t get at least half of these people, I don’t want to do it then. I don’t want to have something that I don’t feel proud of, or I don’t think was up to the level of Among The Living.

Grant Morrison, he was the first name on my list, and we got Grant. I’m like, well now we can do it, because we’ve got Grant, so it doesn’t even matter who else is in [laughs] But yeah, it was incredible. My friend, Ian Sattler, he was my editor at DC when I wrote Lobo for DC. He edited this book, and he’s got so many connections in that world. So he was able to really make the connections with writers and artists and I was able to as well.

It was an amazing project to be a part of, I can’t believe I got to write the ‘I Am The Law’ story. I actually had to submit an outline to Rebellion because they own the rights to Dredd. So I actually submitted an outline for them to approve my story and they greenlit it. They said go ahead. So it’s just incredible that we got to use Judge Dredd in our book.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the big luxury hardcover edition, that they did of it. It’s so nice. I remember when they sent it to my house. I was like, This is so good. This is like something Metallica would put out. I was like this is the best thing we’ve ever done.

The other thing that blew me out with the artwork, was Charlie Benante’s rendition of Death and Dread. At first glance, it looked like it could be a Brian Bolland cover.

Yeah, it’s great. That’s the alternate cover. It’s killer. The whole thing is so good. You know I love that Gerard and Mikey Way [My Chemical Romance] are part of it. We really got a group of people who love comics and love our album and were inspired to do it. It’s not like we had to go, hey do you want to be a part of this? People were like, I want to. Yes, please, can I can I do this? What song can I have?

It was such a good experience. WE GOT BRIAN AZZARELLO, I mean it’s insane, working on an Anthrax story. It blows my mind. Rick Remender, and of course Grant!!! I’m friends with Grant. So I was hoping when I emailed him, I said, Hey would you like to be a part of this thing? He wrote me right back and he said what song? I said, You’re the first one we’ve asked. So take your pick. Then he wrote me back a little bit later and he said, How about Indians? I’ve got a really cool idea and I was like it’s all yours.

Well, I love the book and I’ll be getting the pic from it of the maggot-spewing Notman tattooed on me soon enough… But we’ve got to talk about this new signature Jackson guitar of yours, the Dime Slime Green, X Series Signature Scott Ian KVX King VTM Baldini. I’m excited about it, especially given it’s been built as a tribute to your friend, Pantera legend Dimebag Darrell. How did this guitar finally come about?

I had had a soloist made for myself years ago in that type of finish, and then cut to years after that, when I started playing the King V shape and the King V became my signature. I had a custom-shop Slime made for myself, because it’s definitely gonna look good on the V.

I got such a great response to this one-off custom-shop Slime that I had made. People were freaking out over it and that’s when Jackson contacted me and said, What do you think about adding this finish to your signature line? Because I had a red one, a black one and a white one and I said, Yeah that would be great.

So I think people will be really excited by it and seemingly they are.

Yeah, we’ve been talking about getting a Jackson on the wall in the shop because one of the few things we don’t have hanging on the wall is a guitar.  Fortunately for me, it’s not one of the USA models, so it’s more affordable for me. Is that an important thing for you, for it to be accessible to guys like me who can’t spend 10 grand on a guitar?

100%? Most people can’t. I mean, for real, you know I’m not walking in the stores buying $10,000 guitars. Yeah, it’s really important. It’s important to me to have something that’s affordable, and also feels great and plays great and sounds great.

I’m able to play these mid-priced guitars live, whether it’s Anthrax, or I’ve got the Baldini Burst out here with me on this Bungle run right now. It slides right in between my custom shop models, no problem. So the fact that I’m able to use this guitar, stock (I’m not customising it in any way).

I use it, the stock model, in the set live, and it’s good enough for me to do that. It’s a professional guitar at a really great price point.

The other thing I noticed on this model, that’s different to your other sigs was that it has the Floyd Rose on it.

Yeah well that was also important too. We had been talking about adding a Floyd to one of the existing models already. Then when we started talking about this one, I said it should definitely have the Floyd on it. Because I need one with a Floyd.

People have been asking when are you going to put a Floyd on one of your mid prices? So it just made sense to do it on this one. And I mean, you couldn’t have a guitar that you were calling the Baldini Burst and not have a Floyd on it to be able to do those pullbacks on harmonics and whatnot. So of course you have to have a Floyd.

Absolutely, because Dimebag was the dive-bomb king. I remember seeing solos of him and he’d be holding the whole guitar just from the Floyd. I thought Grady Champion, his guitar tech, would have that Floyd triple bolted into the guitar.

Oh Yeah, I’m sure.

Now you’re out on the road with Mr Bungle at the moment. How’s the tour been so far?

It’s been great. Look for me, I look at it probably the same way the audience does. I’m just such a fan. And lucky for me, Mike decided to give me a call a few years back and asked if I wanted to be a part of it. I just still can’t get over the fact that I get to go on stage and play together with Mike and Trevor and Trey and Dave and it’s just so amazing.

We just put ‘My Ass Is On Fire’ in the set from the first record and I would love to do more of that, what they call the vintage stuff, because the stuff we did for Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, that’s actually the ancient material that, you know, it actually predates the three albums they put out in the ’90s. So we’re actually playing the oldest material.

But yeah the shows are great. We played in Denver last night at this place called the Mission Ballroom. It’s a fantastic venue. It sold out 4000 people and they just really really got it. People coming to the shows, they’re all hardcore fans. They’ve been listening to the records for so long. And you know, Bungle hasn’t played shows in like, 23 years. People have been waiting a long time.

I know Mike Patton has had some health issues recently. How is he going with the tour?

He’s great. He tears it up every night. And it’s so much fun to just be up there. Being a part of that and getting to watch it from the best seat in the house. It’s really great.

I imagine it can be unpredictable at times, but he’s another icon, an absolute legend and was a large part of me and my schoolmate’s upbringing. He’s a creative powerhouse, [so] is there any new Bungle music on the horizon?

That’s above my pay grade [laughs] I would say that I hope that’s something at some point in the future that whether I’m a part of it or not. For those guys to make new music together is something as a fan, I of course, want.

Bungle is a very special thing. I think those guys, they hold on to that really tight and close to their hearts. It’s really important to them. It’s their whole lives. I mean, they started this thing in 1985. They were kids, you’re in high school. So as a fan, I hope so.

As a guy that gets to be in Mr. Bungle. If they ever decided to do it and asked me to be a part of it. Of course, I would say yes. But that’s all I could say about it really.

Frank Bello let slip during our chat about his sig Charvel bass that you are in the studio with Anthrax though. How’s that been going?

It’s going great. We’ve gotten nine songs so far. Charlie recorded drums on nine songs, I’ve got guitars almost done on four, then I came out on these Bungle dates. But Frankie and I are going to head back into the studio, like first week of June to finish all the guitars and bass, work on some vocal ideas. Then probably vocals and lead guitars will start not long after that. Then there’ll be another drum session somewhere down the line, probably because there are more ideas that we just haven’t really had a chance to get tightly arranged yet. So there’ll be another drum session in the next few months.

I’m not gonna put any deadline or date on anything, but I’d like to think a record would be done by the end of the year? Then we’d be out starting again next summer, you know, probably, that’s a very loose, loose schedule, in my mind.

Anthrax has got no tours booked for the remainder of the year, other than the show at the Milwaukee Metal Fest. Long shot, but what’s the chance of Anthrax making their way to Australia in the near future?

No chance now! After a record comes out? Sure. We’ll start a new album cycle once we’ve got this record done, and we can start making plans. So 100% on the new album, but you know, nothing between now and a new record. It doesn’t make sense for us to be out there just playing shows to just play shows.

We did a lot of that on the whole 40th-anniversary run. We didn’t get to come to Australia with that. So for the places we didn’t go on the 40th-anniversary run we’ll figure something out to kind of at least celebrate that at the same time as having a new record out. We have a lot of work to do.

It’s all good mate. We understand how remote we are from the rest of the world. Well when you do get down here man, you have to come out and hang with us here at Higher Ground Tattoos and Records. We’ve got a solid metal section on vinyl, I’ll chew your ear off about comic books and by then I should have my own Green Baldini Burst Jackson guitar hanging on the wall.

Yes! Yes! Right on Man. Thank you.

Interview by Duane James @duanejames666


Take a closer look at the Jackson X Series Scott Ian KVX King V™Baldinihere


  • 24.75″ scale length
  • Nyatoh body with Flame maple top
  • One-piece through-body maple-neck with graphite reinforcement and scarf joint
  • 12″-16″ compound radius bound rosewood fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and pearloid block inlays
  • Jackson® High-Output humbucking pickups
  • Three-way toggle switch, single volume and single tone controls
  • Floyd Rose® Special double locking bridge
  • Jackson pointed 6-in-line headstock
  • Jackson sealed die-cast tuners

About duanejames (67 Articles)
Wall of Sound's resident Heavy Metal Bogan. Father. Husband. Professional Tattooer. Untrained Artist. Part time writer. Full time fanboy.

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