The big sweep
Scott ‘Not’ Ian, the sole remaining original member of Anthrax, and the band’s most recognisable face, gives Alastair Mabbott the beneﬁt of his thoughts.
It‘s 10.25am. LA time. and Scott Ian is sweeping up the dirt from his kitchen ﬂoor. That‘s the last time he's leaving his screens open overnight. Not with these fucking Santa Ana winds. Must be a layer of crap at least an inch thick down there. After four years in LA. he does something like that.
But at least it‘s his own floor he‘s cleaning. He still can't forget the relief he felt when his band. Anthrax. ﬁnally started making enough money for him to move out ofthat tiny room in his mom's house. It took him ﬁve years just to get that far. Five years after he dropped out of college, without telling her. so he could get a job to pay for equipment. Five years and two albums before he could even leave home.
In ﬁve minutes. that phone‘s going to ring and he’ll have to chew the fat about Anthrax again. It’s weird, but . . . it's not like the band he founded twelve years ago is the smallest part of his life or anything — it‘s a huge part of his life — but. right at this moment. standing in his kitchen, sweeping. looking out the window . . . shit. Slum-boarding seems more important than being in a band. He shakes his head. ‘My prion'ties must be kind of fucked up for me to think things like that. But ifthe band was all I had in my life. it would be a pretty sad life.‘
The phone starts to ring. Is this guy going to ask questions about the band sacking their singer. Joey? Why don‘t they ask him about the new Urge Overkill and Nirvana albums instead? Or Rage Against The Machine? But Joey. Joey was living in a different world. He'd bound on stage with that fucking Red Indian headdress ’n' shit . . . At least John is bringing fresh ideas into the band. Better singer. too. The way Scott Ian looks at it, Anthrax is more fertile than it’s been for eight years, maybe nine. He picks up the phone and greets the writer.
The journalist saw Anthrax play once. He found it fun for about ten minutes. which was about as long as it seemed to take the band to give away all their secrets: after they had engaged the audience in a matey call-and-response of ‘Don't You F uckin' Look At Me'. there seemed to be no rabbits left to be pulled. .
The journalist tells Scott lan what he thinks of the lyrics he and John Bush wrote for the new Anthrax album. Sound Of White Noise. He hadn‘t remembered Anthrax as being this gloomy. this bleak . . .
‘Bleak?’ he repeats. ‘To me. it's not bleak. I don‘t consider my life bleak and the lyrics aren’t bleak. they just happen to be about certain times that we've
been through. We were able to move on from those
situations. kinda get them out of our systems.‘
But, the journalist persists. the world Anthrax
' present is one of moral confusion where nothing’s
right. nothing's wrong and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. The guitarist understands
what he‘s saying, but . . . how to put this?
‘Look.’ he begins. ‘it may seem like a contradiction to what ljust said. but although I don't consider my life bleak. at the same time it’s kinda the way I
1 consider the world or the system. lfanything. my . . .
my displeasure at the way things work in this world has increased with the release of this record. Things
? I‘ve written about my personal life have changed and
moved on. but the world for me has gotten. if
The journalist changes the subject. Anthrax were one of the ﬁrst heavy rock bands to begin closing the distance between rock and rap. They even raised a few eyebrows by allying themselves with Public Enemy for a tour. But he doesn't hear a whole lot of that on this new record. Is there anything left of the ‘Bring The Noise‘ Anthrax?
‘1 don't know what the “Bring The Noise" Anthrax is.’ he retorts. ‘Anthrax is Anthrax. | feel anything
we do is Anthrax. “Bring The Noise" to me is the
3 same as every song we’ve ever done. We're not a . band who put on one hat for this song and another
hat for that song. We are what we are, and if we come up with ten songs that have nothing to do with anything we‘ve ever done in the past. it's still Anthrax.‘
‘Okay. that’s the view from inside.’ the journalist
I says. ‘but what do Anthrax represent to their fans?‘
The guitarist knows the answer to that one: real life.
1 Regular guys dealing with everyday problems and , keeping their feet on the ground. They‘re not stars.
‘I mean. shit, ifl wanted to. I wouldn‘t have to talk
' to nobody. I wouldn't have to do anything. I could 9 come home, not leave my house — but it's just not the
type of person I am. ljust like being involved with things, I like doing stuff, I like living. I think people understand that we're not this larger-than-life ﬁve guys on stage. To me, that went out with Kiss — and l was a huge Kiss fan. So. unless you’re going to do it better than they did in the 70s. why try?‘
Eventually, the journalist bids goodbye and hangs up. Scott lan sets the brush back in the closet and looks for more stuff to do.
Anthrax play The Barrowland. Glasgow on Sun 7.
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The List 5-l8 November I993 29