ANTHRAX's SCOTT IAN: How My Upcoming Memoir Will Be Different From Other Rock Autobiographies

February 22, 2014

Jim Barber of Lithium Magazine recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On the stories that he tells during his "Speaking Words" spoken-word tour:

Ian: "I have so many stories that what comes out on a given night is whatever I decide to go with, whatever feels right. There are certain stories that I sort of would like to tell every show, because I just think they are great and I am not tired of talking about them. And there are two that have pretty much been in every show."

"The first is about meeting Lemmy [of MOTÖRHEAD] for the first time back in 1985 and how that meeting turned into a scenario where a day and a half later I am in Munich, Germany, having to fight off a Nazi doctor. There is a direct line from getting drunk with Lemmy to fighting Nazis.

"Then I have a Dimebag Darrell [PANTERA] story that is almost too unbelievable to even think that it could be real, but it is extremely real. It's just so much fun to tell, but that Darrell story is kind of a long one — the whole thing takes about 40 or 45 minutes, with a little video montage in the middle. So people have to kind of stick with that one because it takes you on an interesting path and you have to pay attention, but the payoff is worth it."

On how he the idea for a spoken-word show came about:

Ian: "I can remember saying to myself sometime over the last 10 or 15 years that it's really cool that Henry Rollins can go out and do these talking tours. He kind of travels the world and then writes a show based on his observations and then he goes out and talks about it. I thought it was so cool that he does that, because I am a big Henry Rollins fan. I saw him do some of those shows back in the 1990s and I was just really impressed by his ability to really hold an audience by just talking, the same way he was able to hold an audience when he was onstage with BLACK FLAG or his HENRY ROLLINS BAND. So that was certainly inspiring, but it wasn't that I saw this and was thinking about Henry Rollins and saying to myself, 'Some day I am going to do that too.' I was never proactive about it and I certainly wasn't out there looking for it. But then it just kind of fell into my lap."

On his first spoken-word show:

Ian: "I was told the promoter is doing a series of shows called 'Rock Stars Say The Funniest Things' and they already had Duff McKagan [GUNS N' ROSES] and Chris Jericho [FOZZY] and they wanted me for the next one. I looked at my calendar and saw that it was five months away and said, 'Sure.' And that was it. Then the night before the show, I am in my hotel in London with my wife and I am about to call my agent to cancel because I truthfully didn't have a clue as to what I was really going to do. The idea of going onstage and telling stories sounded really simple, but I didn't know how to go out there and entertain people for two hours. I am a pretty good storyteller when I am sitting in a bar with my friends. This was completely different.

"My wife was able to talk me down from the ledge and said, 'You know these stories. You know how it works. You are these stories, just go up there and tell them. And that worked. Two and a half hours later, when the show was over I was back in the dressing room with a big goofy smile on my face, so happy about how it turned out. That's when I asked my agent, 'How do I do more of this?' And it pretty much snowballed into a U.K. tour and then Germany and Australia. Now it's North America."

On his upcoming memoir, "I'm The Man", which is tentatively due this fall:

Ian: "What makes mine different is that it doesn't take the usual story arc that most of these rock/metal biographies and autobiographies do. That arc is usually the rise to fame, the fame, the crash and burn and then some sort of redemption. I don't have that story arc. I don't know what you would call my story genre, but it's more about coming from nothing and being able to do all that I have done. I think it's about being able to show anybody that no matter where you come from, whether you're a scrawny kid from Queens [New York], you do have the opportunity to make something of yourself. I am the living proof of that. And you don't have to take the normal road that's portrayed in these books. You don't have to take the MÖTLEY CRÜE road."

Read the entire interview at Lithium Magazine.

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