ANTHRAX's SCOTT IAN: 'On A Friendship Level, This Is The Best The Band Has Been In Forever'

February 28, 2014

This past Monday (February 24),ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian was interviewed on "Rover's Morning Glory", a syndicated hot-talk/comedy radio show airing weekday mornings on Cleveland rock station WMMS (100.7 FM). You can now watch the chat below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On ANTHRAX's numerous personnel changes over the years:

Ian: "You can't have five of you, or four of you, in a band. And we're also not the kind of band with a dictator. Or it's someone's band and everyone else is just, like… Rob Zombie… It's Rob Zombie's band. You know what I mean?! Meat Loaf. It's Meat Loaf and then there's… You know what I mean?! ANTHRAX isn't like that; it's very much a democracy, and with democracy comes growing pains sometimes. So it's just trying to keep five dudes on the same page, business-wise, personality-wise, creatively… And you're spending more time with these other guys in your band than you do with your wives, children, families… It's the hardest thing in the world. That's why bands don't stay together. That's why every band has had some kind of a change in their lineup, and then maybe they come back to the original lineup. Just look at every band. It's inevitable that there's gonna be a conflict at some point.

"People ask a lot of times about [current ANTHRAX singer] Joey Belladonna and [former ANTHRAX singer] John Bush, 'cause Joey was our guy that came up in the '80s with us, and we all came up together, and the band broke around the world. And then Joey was out of the band in early '92 and John Bush joined, and John was in the band for a dozen-odd years or whatever, and then Joey came back to ANTHRAX. I just look at it this way: I've been lucky enough to work with two amazing singers — both of these guys are incredible, and both of them are hugely responsible for the success that this band has had in its career. And now Joey has been back in this band since 2010, and the reason why 'Worship Music', our last record, was so big for us and connected to people all around the planet — we played 207 shows on the back of that record — is because Joey took it from, like, being a good record to being a great record. He was the missing piece of the puzzle, and it took us a long time to figure that out. And we all had to grow up and check our egos and be able to sit down and say, 'Let's just shut up and be a band, 'because this is what we're supposed to be,' and that's been working now for three years. [Laughs]"

On how many singers ANTHRAX has had over the years:

Ian: "We had Neil Turbin, who was on our first album — he was only on the first record — then Joey, then John. We had another dude for five minutes, who shall remain nameless. And then Joey came back."

On singer Dan Nelson who was in the band from 2007 until 2009:

Ian: "It was a low point for us, let's put it that way. 2009 was a bad year… [Dan was] someone who just you thought you saw something in them, and then you realized you weren't seeing it anymore. And that's really all I can say about it — I hate to say it — but it's something I can't talk about. I wish him the best in his life. I have no ill will towards Dan Nelson, I have no ill will towards him personally at all, but it just wasn't gonna work. And actually, he's the one who was proactive about it and made the decision to not be in the band at the time, so…"

On whether everyone in the current ANTHRAX lineup gets along and whether they all hang out together:

Ian: "On tour, certainly, there's a lot of hanging out. We all live, geographically… Frankie [Bello, bass] lives in New York, Charlie [Benante, drums] lives in Chicago, I live in Los Angeles, Joey lives in upstate New York. The only other… Jon [Donais], our lead guitar player, lives in L.A. as well, so there's two of us in the same city. So off tour, [we don't hang out with each other], but that's not something new. You spend so much time on tour together, when you get off tour, these are the last dudes I'm gonna start hanging out with all week long, because I just spent months and months and months with them, I'd like to see my other friends, maybe, and my family. But yeah, on tour, there's a lot of hanging out. And on that personality level, and on a friendship level, this is the best the band has been in forever and ever and ever. And I think I chalk a lot of that up to just us growing up…. Three of us have children… In the context of me having a son, everything that goes on in the band now is so, just like… Stuff that [in the past], I would probably lose my mind and be on the phone with my manager and stuff that would drive me up a wall, it doesn't bother me anymore. I'm just, like, why did I ever get upset over stupid crap like this?"

As previously reported, Belladonnarecently talked about how his role in ANTHRAX has evolved since he first joined the band in late 1984, telling Sweden Rock Magazine for its March 2014 issue: "You're joining four guys that are friends from New York City. It's like coming into a new neighborhood and trying to get new friends… No matter what you do, it's gonna be hard.

"I don't think I've ever really found my place with this band. I mean, as much as we do what we do, it's so corporate in its own way… I don't even talk with [the other guys in the band] right now. I mean, there'll be a few e-mails, but they're so short. It's not like I sit on the horn [telephone] and talk with Charlie [Benante, ANTHRAX drummer] all day. He don't have time for me. I do, but they just don't, you know?! It's only out of necessity [that they keep in contact with me]. So even back [when I first joined the band], I don't think it was anything really that cool. Part of me might not have joined it because it wasn't as open as when I jammed with friends at home and they'd always come over my house all day and play for hours. And we'd go out together and we'd hang out together. ANTHRAX wasn't like that, you know?!"

On Monday (February 24),shortly after a part of Belladonna's Sweden Rock interview was published on BLABBERMOUTH.NET, Iantweeted: "Lest anyone think differently, I love Joey Belladonna. #PDA"

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