INTERVIEW: Scott Ian (ANTHRAX)
I was lucky enough to get a pre-order copy of your new album, For All Kings, and it really feels like it, ever since Worship Music came out, you guys have just been on fire; that was a great album. This album, I'd say, maybe even better. It's just one of the best Anthrax albums to date. What's happened? Has there's been a big surge of inspiration in the last four or so years?
Scott Ian: It's hard to say. We just do what we do, you know? With Worship Music, we wrote an album and Joey came back to the band and we really had zero expectation and it really just connected with people, all of the planet, and then we were just able to go out and be Anthrax again, and not really worry about too much of any other bullshit, just be a band, and kind of built up a lot of momentum, so going into the writing of what would become For All Kings, the momentum of the band, the vibe of the band, it's not something I ever really analyze other than, you know, we get in a room and we write songs that we want to bang our heads to, and it's always really been as simple as that. But I can say that the band certainly is in a good place at this point and time.
...And you've got a new guitarist on the album and some cracking solos on it, but besides just the guitar solos, what influence did Jon Donais have on the album?
Scott Ian: That's it. Solos and overdubs and stuff like that. We would send him arrangements to the songs and he would start working out his parts, because he's very meticulous, he's not just coming up with shit on the fly and improvising, he writes his solos, then he would send stuff back to us and he was really just nailing it, nailing the feel and the vibe and really understanding the music we were writing.
Big news at the moment, with these American elections, normally I don't really pay much attention to them over in Australia but I feel this time around you've got one guy who’s at the far right and one guy at the far left…
Scott Ian: Not really, because it really doesn't make a difference, truthfully. I think the problem with this country is it's so divided down the middle at this point that, no matter who gets in, nothing's going to change, nothing's going to get done anyway, so I really don't know what it means at this point anymore. I suppose having someone like Donald Trump in office probably wouldn't be a good idea. It seems like ninety-eight percent of the time I would think it's probably a really bad idea because, you know, he seems a bit racist and a bit lunatic and probably not the best guy to be representing America, but the fact of the matter is he is outside the political landscape and he's not taking money from corporations and I don't even really know what any of that means because ... I really don't know. I really don't know.
I should probably care more, but I think I learned a long time ago to kind of stop worrying so much about things that I have absolutely no control over. That's not to say my vote doesn't count, and I will go vote once they narrow it down to who the hell is actually running for president, but I don't think anything's going to change in my life; it's not like someone's going to get in office and ban heavy metal, that's not going to happen, so outside of that I don't know, you know? If Donald Trump became president could he really ban Muslims from coming into America? Somehow I don't think he'd get that law passed.
So, I don't know. I don't know. There's so much fucking bullshit rhetoric out there and insanity, I really don't know what to think about it. I guess if Trump wins America will get what it deserves. That's, I guess, the best thing I can say about the whole thing. If America decides he should represent us, for four years, to the world, then America will get what they get from that.
I know you said the other day about the whole “Phil Anselmo thing”, you said he should put his money where his mouth is and donate to a charity. Now, I'm still a bit conflicted with the whole thing, I think what he did was wrong but on the other hand I've seen all these, like, festival dates being cancelled and I don't think I want to see the end of Phil Anselmo, you know? How do you feel about it, do you think he should be forgiven?
Scott Ian: Yeah, if he proves that he deserves to be. Just asking to be forgiven doesn't mean you should be forgiven, and I've had a running dialogue with Phil since this happened; it's not like I just posted something online without actually speaking to my friend. I've been having a dialogue, back and forth, with him because if I didn't care I wouldn't have contacted him at all, but I care. I've known the dude almost thirty years, he's like a brother, he's family, and when someone in your family has a problem you discuss it and you try and find a solution, you know?
My attitude towards the whole thing is, to me, silence is complicity, if you don't say something about something like this then you're condoning it, and I can't condone that in any way, shape, or form; it's not okay, in any world, let alone the metal world, to do these kind of things, in any type of context, because words are too powerfully, especially, Phil Anselmo's words, because there's too many impressionable people out there who listen to every fucking thing that he says. Bottom line is he needs to prove that he should be forgiven and the only thing that will prove that is his actions. I am, of course, willing to give him the opportunity to prove that because, like I said, he's like my brother, so I didn't write him off; I talked to him about it and I have every hope inside of my heart that he will prove to the world that he's not this person.
I agree with you a hundred percent. I don't want to see him go down this way and I think he seems like a very honest dude so I don't think he's a bad guy, just made a mistake, and everyone does that kind of thing from time to time but not on that scale.
Scott Ian: Exactly. The fact is he made his mistake in front of the world. You just need to be smarter than that, bottom line, you know? Words have power and that's what people need to understand. Not everybody understands your context, not everybody sees everything you're going to say about it, some people will only see what you did and think that's okay, and that's the truth and in the aftermath of the whole thing, and after I posted what I posted, I couldn't believe some of the ignorance coming back my way. Possibly the stupidest thing that I saw was someone saying to me "Well, why would you want him to donate money to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, that's a Jew thing, and white power has nothing to do with Jews." That just shows you the ignorance out there, so people need to be educated, that's the bottom line here. People just really need to fucking learn a little bit and I hope good will come out of this in some way, shape, or form, because it can't be accepted anywhere, not just the metal community, but anywhere in the world; it's unacceptable.
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Taken from the new album For all Kings...