Guitar Player magazine recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX members Scott Ian and Dan Spitz. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:Guitar Player: How has the reunion been going? Ian: "It just keeps getting better. These shows have been some of the best shows we've played in a long time. This lineup hasn't been together in 13 years, but we've had the chance to actually become a real band again.' Spitz: "Almost all the dates have sold out, and we can feel that old aura in the air we used to feel in the beginning days when we were on the road with METALLICA. We would be the opening band, and we'd come out to watch our friends play. Before they came on, you felt like you could cut the air. It's that kind of thing all over again. I think I've been blessed to have round two." Guitar Player: Was it difficult trying to rediscover the old chemistry? Ian: "No — because you can't force chemistry. It either happens or it doesn't, and it's pretty obvious either way. We just let things gel. We didn't try and rush anything. We didn't even think that we should practice for a week before the tour. We just rehearsed for two days to make sure everyone knew their parts." Spitz: "As far as playing for the first time, the chemistry was instant. But it's the first time the Ian/Spitz team has been back together in ten years, so it's only been the last three months or so where I'm starting to feel comfortable again." Guitar Player: Dan, how did it feel after you put down your guitar and left the music business in 1995? Spitz: "It was weird for the first few years, because I didn't know what happened to me. I literally lost the love of my instrument. I lost the love of playing, and I didn't think I would ever want to touch a string as long as I lived. I'd had it." Guitar Player: You went to Switzerland to successfully pursue degrees in micro-mechanical engineering and micro-electrical engineering at WOSTEP (Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program) — as one of only ten students chosen each year for attendance — and didn't touch a guitar for more than eight years. Then you returned to the U.S., and became one of the most highly sought-after watchmakers in the world. What brought you back to the music? Spitz: "I got the anger back from listening to KORN's 'Untouchables' album, and I started listening to music again. I got the hunger to play a bit, so when my brother Dave — the bass player from BLACK SABBATH, GREAT WHITE, and WHITE LION — was jamming with Nicko McBrain of IRON MAIDEN, I decided to step on stage and it all came back. I was just having a little fun, but when Charlie [Benante, ANTHRAX drummer] asked me if I'd like to come back and play some shows, I found that I couldn't say 'no.' This was a life-changing experience." Guitar Player: While Dan was off in Switzerland becoming a master watchmaker, and before Rob Caggiano was recruited to fill the slot of lead guitarist, Dimebag Darrell was a frequent guest guitarist for a number of tracks on "Volume 8: The Threat is Real", "We've Come for You All", and "Stomp 442". Can you comment on what he brought to the band? Ian: "To put it extremely mildly, Dime was pretty good at what he did, and pretty good with coming up with the leads for the songs he played on the ANTHRAX records. Dime played the way he played, because he was born with that natural talent inside him. I can aspire to play as well as he did, but I don't think that aspiration would ever become a reality — even if I practiced for six hours a day for the next ten years. We would send him the tracks, he would pick the songs he wanted to play on, he would send us the stuff back, and we would be blown away. It was that simple. I mean, it wasn't like we had to give that guy a lot of notes!" Read the entire interview at www.guitarplayer.com.
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