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Scott Ian Interview

Scott Ian of thrash giants Anthrax explains why no-one should touch his beard. Exclusive interview

scott ian anthrax

NEWS FLASH: Scott Ian has announced a spoken word tour for the UK from 24 May to 11 June 2013. Search online for ticket details.

Bearded, Dredd-lovin' Anthrax axeman Scott Ian is one of the most iconic guitarists in metal history, and the king when it comes to full-blown chugga-chugga thrash riffing. (Okay James Hetfield may dispute that, but it'd be a close run battle).

Ahead of the band's November tour dates, plus a spoken word thing that Scott was doing called 'Rockstars Say The Funniest Things', we caught up with him for a little chat...

Interview: Stephen Daultrey

True story: When I was a kid, I bunked off school to attend a signing session during the Sound Of White Noise tour. You scrubbed out the price on my ‘HyProGlo’ single and wrote ‘free’ on it. I very nearly walked out of the store without paying for it. Would you have stepped in if I’d got arrested?

Of course I would. Either that or I would have just bought the CD for you.

As well as the new Anthrax tour, you’re doing a spoken word night in London ‘rockstars say the funniest things’ night in London. What’s the funniest thing a rockstar has said to you?

I’m saving it all for the show! But I’ve got plenty of good stories, such as getting arrested with Cliff Burton in London in 1984. And I’m gonna give people the opportunity to ask me whatever the hell they want face to face. 

We actually pitched it to Bizarre readers to see if they had anything they’d like to ask you. Some of the responses were quite weird.

Like what?

Someone wanted to know if you could kill a (well known media magnate who will stay nameless for legal reasons), how would you do it?

If I could, I'd get a DVD of every fucked up thing, every shady deal, every lie he's told, and make him sit in a room and watch it all, until he dies of shame. I just kinda loathe him as an individual so that came really easy!

Another guy, presumably a shop owner, wanted to know if you’d buy the last Scott Ian action figure that he has in stock.

No, I have more than enough of them sitting in storage. I’d want someone else to buy it.

Readers were also quite obsessed with your beard. We actually read that you like it when people ask if you can play with your beard. Is that true?

That was written with as much sarcasm as I could possible infuse into the keys on my computer as I was typing it. People bothering me while I’m eating is the second worst thing, but people going up to me and asking if they can touch my beard is the worst possible thing they can approach me with if they’re trying to start a conversation or wanna take a photo. Why would you do that to someone? Whether it’s a girl or a guy, I don’t want somebody’s fucking filthy hands on my face. 

So it happens a lot then?

It happens all the time. My normal response is a very dry 'no' and then I usually walk away.

Do you have any good beard tips?

It’s facial hair. It grows. If you don’t shave, you have a beard. It really doesn’t take much more thought than that. And yes I have a beard in a specific place, and I shave everywhere else apart from there, and the hair grows longer. That’s how it works. It’s the human body. It happens when you’re a male.

Okay, away from beards, it’s been in the news recently that Anthrax were the first band to be played on Mars by a bunch of NASA employees. That's pretty cool...

Yeah, we were really excited that our cover of 'Got The Time' was played on Mars one morning. So if there are any Martians out there, then maybe it would’ve been their first exposure to metal and we could be the Black Sabbath of Mars or something. But for all we know, if there are Martians, then they may have been listening to what we’ve had going on since forever. Who knows if they haven’t been watching our TV shows and movies all the time, so for them, they might be going ‘really, 'Got The Time? That’s from an album 20 years ago, why don’t you play some new Anthrax?

What tracks from your new album Worship Music would you have liked to be played to Martians?

'Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't' or 'The Giant. I don't really have a favourite on the album. I look at all our albums as a body of work. But if I had to choose something, I’d put those two out there.

You’ve been in two supergroups – VH1’s SuperGroup with Seb Bach, and The Damned Things with members of Fall Out Boy. If you could form your ultimate metal supergroup, who’d be in it?

The current line-up of Anthrax. That’s an easy answer! If you want me to answer it properly, I’d say AC/DC with Bon Scott.

Was there any rivalry between the big thrash four of Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer?

Not for us there wasn't. We were personal friends with all the other bands. That’s a really boring answer, but it's the truth. We enjoy each other’s company. Besides, anything that any of us achieved only served to help the others, especially with Metallica becoming of the biggest bands of the planet. They had the power to put 'The Big 4' together, meaning we could play big stadiums all over the world.

Finally, who shaved their first: you or Slayer guitarist Kerry King?

I did. If you look at photos from the 'Clash of the Titans' tour in 1991, I already had a shaved head and Kerry still had hair.

Did you accuse him of copying you?

No but when Pantera started getting big in the early 90s and (singer) Phil Anselmo shaved his head, he became the go to bald guy in metal. He grabbed me backstage at a show once and said 'you were the first!' But I was losing hair and din’t want to look like some asshole with a receding hairline so I got rid of it, and I feel the same way about anybody – if you’re losing your hair, stop trying to hold onto it, shave your fucking head.


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