Back and Stronger then ever – Interview with Scott Ian of Anthrax

May 10th, 2010  |  Published in Features

]by Jeff Brinn / Schwegweb.com

Returning after a few years from the scene Anthrax are back and stronger then ever. After witnessing their jaw dropping show earlier this year opening for Motorhead only further proved that these thrashers still have what it takes to give the nu-metal bands a swift kick in the ass. We here at Schwegweb got a chance to catch up with the always outspoken guitarist Scott Ian via telephone to get a little inside scoop on their trek across Europe and other topics of interest. Enjoy.

Schwegweb: With Anthrax just getting back from overseas, how was that?
Scott Ian: Awesome

I heard you guys played the Sweden Rocks festival with bands like YES, YnT, and Twisted Sister, what was that unlikely match up like?
Well we were on the same festival and we were a little concerned that we really don’t have any thing to do with those bands. When we came on we had the largest crowd at the festival; it was defiantly an Anthrax crowd. I don’t know who was there to see Yes.

What do you find is the big difference between fans over in Europe compared to the fans in the U.S.?

I think people in Europe are more passionate about music. Maybe it has to do with the kids not being so bombarded with the media over there like they are here. It’s not as radio driven as it is here. The kids here when they first start listening to radio are bombarded with pop music and boy bands and what ever else is out there right now. In Europe it’s not like that. You get people who have more of an opportunity to use their own minds and figure things out for them selves. They will buy a record because it has a cool cover and that doesn’t happen over here. It just makes it harder for some one that is eleven year’s old to discover a band like Anthrax or any kind of hard rock and heavy metal band. Where are they going to see it or hear it?

So it is safe to say that European fans are more dedicated to a band and music in general?

Things are defiantly more categorized over there. Over there metal has always been huge and has never gone away. Look at bands like Manowar, which really in the states mean nothing but in Europe are huge. Their fans remain loyal and will stay with them forever. There like Iron Maiden over there. That’s what is so great about Europe. Things don’t come and go people get into some thing and they stay into something. It’s not like here in the state where people are like, yea I used to go to shows or I used to be into that. It’s not like that in Europe.

How have the first shows gone now that you are back in the states?

San Diego was great, it was awesome. The crowd was amazing. I was kind of surprised because the last time we played that place kind of sucked. My expectations were very low and I was very surprised. It was a great place to kick of the tour. Sacramento the crowd was great but the club was a shit hole. The crowd was awesome, so far so good.

Do you like the small club atmosphere?
I like playing anywhere. There’s always pros and cons to all different venues. Small clubs are great, you’re right in people’s face but then again you’re on a poster stamp sized stage, which kind of limits are show as Anthrax. You put us on a bigger stage and your going to get a better show. Like I said, I like playing anywhere. Small clubs can be great and giant festivals like we did all summer are great to. One of the problems here in the states with going out on club tours is that it is very hit and miss. When playing places like House Of Blues across the country from a technical aspect their the best. The sound systems are great; they are very accommodating for the band. If there was a House of Blues in every city I would be very happy. If you’re paying $20.00 to go to a show you don’t want a place like in Sacramento. It was like a 60-year-old movie theater that seriously should have been a condemned building. It had like seats ripped out and there wasn’t enough power to run the sound system. Terrible p.a. system, terrible monitor system. It was just horrible. If I were a fan I wouldn’t go there to see shows. Who wants to pay $20.00 to go to a shit hole with a bad p.a. and bad lights? Why go see a band if you know it already is going to sound like shit? That’s what is so frustrating on a club level. Sometimes you go into these places and there is this philosophy with the promoters is lets make it as miserable as possible for the band and the audience. It is all about greed, they don’t want to spend any money. On the other hand you have places like the House of Blues and the Venture where we played last night, their great gigs.

What do you think about Harpos in Detroit, that’s a pretty rough club?
Oh Yea, that place is close to number one for worst gigs in the country and were going to be there soon. You know what the fucked up thing about Harpos is that the we have had great shows there, the crowds that come there are insane, then again from the fans point of view I have talked to so many people that do not like going there. We didn’t play there for years and we are going back there this tour because we have heard that it has gotten a little bit better. Over the years that we have played there I have heard that they have had problems with skinheads and shit like that but now I have heard that it’s a lot better now.

Why don’t you think that Anthrax wasn’t approached for the Ozzfest this year?
I can‘t tell you why, you would have to interview Sharon Osbourne about that. The problem over here in the states is that it is so fucking close minded. The promoters and the people that organize like Lollapalooza are a perfect example. You put Anthrax on Lollapalooza and we would go over fucking awesome. We could play with all those bands and we would go down great but not in a million years because they have such a fucking close minded attitude. Their alternative and were metal and it amazes me that after twelve years that shit is still going on. We tried, we were submitted but they turned us down. We were really hoping on getting on Ozzfest in the second stage head lining slot and it looked like it was going to happen but then it fell through. We know how great it would be for us but it’s like this fucking door we can’t get past.

What’s your state of mind on the Hip-Hop scene compared to back when you guys played with acts such as Public Enemy?

I don’t really have a state of mind on Hip-Hop today. I have always only ever been into certain things not like I am with metal and hard rock. There is over 300 bands I could be into but with Hip-Hop it’s always been very limited. I grew up in a scene in New York where I was a fan of all the old school original stuff that came out of the east coast and then some of the late eighties bands like N.W.A. I can say right now the only Hip Hop I listen to is bands like Outkast, Missy Elliot, Jurassic 5 and that is probably it. It’s not as creative to me any more.

What’s your view on Rob Halford rejoining Judas Priest?

It’s awesome, every body new it was going to happen. It was a matter of time and it’s great. I can’t wait and if some how we luck out and get to open that tour it would be the best of both worlds getting to see him as well as play with Judas Priest. Even if we are not on the tour I will be go to at least 5 or 6 shows.

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