Anthrax Guitarist Scott Ian Talks Mayhem Festival, Next Album + More
Guitarist Scott Ian of Anthrax was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Ian talked about how he combats boredom while on the road, his feelings on ‘Worship Music’ since its release last year and the band's upcoming run on this year’s Mayhem Fest. If you missed Full Metal Jackie’s show, read the full interview with Scott Ian below:
Anthrax has been touring hard over the last year plus; how has your daily routine while touring changed over the years?
It really hasn’t changed all that much. You just kind of get into a mindset, at least I do anyway, I have a different mindset once I’m out on a tour and it’s just a way to get past the time as smoothly and constructively as possible, just try to get stuff done. Boredom is my worst enemy on tour because then I just can’t do anything, it just becomes so mind numbing – I can’t write, I can’t do anything, I’ll literally just sit and do nothing and that’s kind of pointless. So I just try to find stuff to do, I try and write or just catch up on literally paying bills, just try and find something to do to help pass the hours of the day because generally from the time you wake up to show time it’s pretty damn boring.
Anthrax is part of the Mayhem Festival this summer and such a huge lineup. Slayer, Motorhead, Anthrax and even Slipknot all metal icons; Scott what do younger fans tell you about why they embrace your bands?
They don’t tell me anything. [Laughs] It’s not like I have people coming up to me and saying “Here’s what I think about your band” that rarely if ever happens. I mean the only thing I could surmise is that younger fans who obviously didn’t get to see us in the '80s ‘cause they might not have even been born yet or even the '90s let’s say – they may have gotten into metal because of a band like Slipknot or even newer bands and then they look backwards, that’s kind of what I did when I was a kid.
When I was a kid Iron Maiden was a new band and I got into Iron Maiden and that helped me look backwards to get into other stuff. So I could only assume it pretty much works the same way for a 13 or 14 year old who let’s say gets into metal because of Metallica which is an obvious because they’re the biggest metal band in the world, so they find out about Metallica and then they start looking elsewhere and it’s not a long drive from Metallica to Anthrax. I think it’s pretty easy if you’re going to look a little deeper it’s kind of easy to find out about us and then check out our record and go “Holy crap, I got to go see these guys live.’
Let’s talk about the latest record from Anthrax, ‘Worship Music.’ Since you guys have been playing so much live, how have the new songs evolved after being played live over the better part of the year?
You know not so much as much as its happened in the past. I could say pretty much with every album until ‘Worship Music’ – we would finish a record then go out and start touring and a year later the songs definitely have changed to a point where you kind of wished that’s how you would’ve recorded them in the first place. The difference with this album is that we worked on this album for almost four years so a lot of these songs have already went through that process.
When we were on tour back in 2010, it was Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer in the states on that Jager tour that’s when we went back in with a lot of these songs and reworked a lot of it. By the time we actually started touring last September after the album came out, we had the luxury of already being able to do that so these songs kind of had of evolved to where we thought, “Okay this is like what a year of touring would have done to these songs,” and we were lucky that we got to do that. It’s one of the reasons why the record is as good as it is because we really, really got to see if these songs would stand the test of time.
Talking about ‘Worship Music’ right now, arguably the best Anthrax album to date, and the band has been killing live. How does that momentum fuel you to do whatever comes next?
I won’t argue with you. [Laughs] We’re on a really great run, we just feel so great about the record we made and it came out last September and the world just really connected with it. That’s all you could hope for as a band – you put your record out and people love the record you made. We felt like we did our job and we feel like the rest of the world agrees with us and the touring is just the gravy on top – it’s like having our cake and eating it too because we’ve always been a touring band since day one.
It’s one of the main reasons why I think we’ve been able to last as long as we’ve have and had the career that we’ve had because we’re just a great live band and to be able to tour on the back of this record which is such a strong record and just to have things be going so well for us again 2011 and 2012 we’re just having a lot of fun doing this and getting to play shows. The crowds are just so into it, that’s the easy part, it’s just f---in’ great.
What can we expect in terms of what’s happening beyond Mayhem and after for the rest of the year?
It just continues, we get a break in August after Mayhem we’re taking a month off and then we’re going to tour the states and Canada again in September/October. We’re doing a third leg of the Anthrax, Testament, Death Angel tour because we did two legs already and it’s going so good and there’s literally demands to come out and do more. November/December we go to Europe – Motorhead, Anthrax and there’s an opening band on that, that’s for a month in Europe. Then we close out the year on the Rockstar Mayhem Cruise down in Florida and The Bahamas in December and that’s us, Lamb of God, Machine Head and a whole bunch of other bands which I look at as a really great way to cap the year off. We’ve never done anything like it and we’ve been with Machine Head and Lamb of God quite a bit over in Europe playing festivals so we’re all really excited and we’re actually trying to plan some crazy stuff for that because none of us have ever done anything like it.
Our plan for 2013 is to start writing as well as continue playing shows here and there. We haven’t been to Australia yet so we intend on getting down there hopefully in February and then maybe playing one offs and festivals here and there but we’re going to try and focus on the next record just so we cannot go eight years again between albums. [Laughs] We would really like to have a new Anthrax record two years from the date of ‘Worship Music’ coming out.
This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will welcome Slipknot percussionist Shawn ‘Slown’ Crahan on her show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com