ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian has posted the following message on the band's official web site (as part of his regular online column, dubbed "Alpha Mail"):
"It's been a busily quiet month since we last conversed. Busily quiet? That makes no sense at all.
"Let me explain. The music biz pretty much shuts down (over here Stateside) from the end of November until after the New Year. Nice work if you can get it. So nothing much goes on except for the endless stream of greatest hits releases and crappy holiday records ('The Greater of Two Evils' excluded). It's the one time of year I can take a break from my world and relax. All quiet on the ANTHRAX front but busy everywhere else. It enables me to get everything else done that I need to finish before the machine starts up again.
"So what have I been doing (if you give a shit)? Loads of interviews for our upcoming South American tour, finishing up the final details on my new signature model guitar with Washburn and a whole line of stuff (guitar, distortion pedal, amp, strap, t-shirts, hoodies, caps, beanies, and even picks) for Musicland, designing an amp for Randall, helping my fiancée Pearl (check out a real rock record at www.mother-pearl.com ) advance her upcoming shows (I love being tour manager!), trying to write a vampire story for IDW (they're a comic-book publisher), taking care of my truck, snowboarding in Mammoth and attending the NAMM show. I got to see TURBONEGRO somewhere in there as well. I was headbanging so hard I fucked up my back for two weeks! If the new song they played, 'Blow Me Like The Wind' is any indication of what their next record is going to be like, it's going to kick ass!!!
"Snowboarding was incredible. Mammoth has fifteen feet of snow. We got there at the tail end of a storm and got to ride the first sunny days in three weeks. Endless powder. I definitely needed to be in the mountains. After the Dimebag tragedy, being away from everything was exactly what I needed to come to terms with my friend's death. Besides being on stage, riding my snowboard is the only other experience that puts me in a state of complete concentration on what I am doing. There are no outside stimuli getting in and I'm completely focused. After a show or a day on the mountain, I always feel like my brain has had a shower and a cup of coffee and it's ready to fight another day.
"If you're not familiar with the NAMM show (lucky you) it stands for National Association of Music Merchants and it's basically the biggest music store in the world for four days at the Anaheim convention center. My nightmare. I am a guitarist that hates guitar stores. I guess it goes back to being 16 and hanging out at the guitar shops in NYC and being berated by crabby salesman who wouldn't let you try stuff out unless you could show them a wad of cash and were planning on buying something that day. I'm sure things have changed, but over the years I've been lucky enough to have been taken care of by guitar companies and it kept my guitar store needs to a minimum.
"Anyway, Washburn and Seymour Duncan had me come down to do a meet-and-greet with the fans. It's something I will always do because it's for the fans.
"I hooked up with Vinnie Paul and Jerry Cantrell and we signed posters of Dime at the Dean Guitars booth. I got accosted by a gold fang-toothed Al Jourgensen who didn't remember talking to me the next day. Apparently he puked on someone as well. Lucky me! All in all NAMM was fun.
"ANTHRAX and DISTURBED are playing a benefit show at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago for the Dimebag Foundation that benefits the families of the victims of the shooting. The show sold out in 20 minutes! Thank you!!! In our thing, if we don't take care of ourselves, no one will. It looks like Vinnie will be playing with us. That's going to be fucking killer. Hope to see you there.
"After that we head south to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico. I expect these shows to be crazy. Don't disappoint my South and Latin American friends. I want to see insanity.
"I just learned how to use my Garage Band program on my Mac. The first thing I recorded was 'Black Magic' from SLAYER, harmonies and all. The program works. I can plug right in to my Mac and the amp simulation sounds really good. I already have a bunch of riff ideas and now I am even more motivated to start writing new stuff. It's crazy to think that I can record all our demos into my Mac. I heart Apple."
View Scott's photos from NAMM and his snowboarding trip at this location.