U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine conducted an exclusive interview with ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian about the departure of singer Dan Nelson. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
On whether Nelson was truly so ill that ANTHRAX had to cancel dates on their planned European tour or if that was a smokescreen for something altogether more cynical, as Nelson himself has publicly commented:
"We stand by every word in our official statement. Because all we've done is make public exactly what Dan told us. He certainly was not fired — he quit the band, and we accepted his resignation. As for those comments about being fit to go on the road, and that we pulled the tour for other reasons…since Charlie [Benante, drums] join us in 1983, we've only ever cancelled one gig. That was in Düsseldorf in 1987, when Charlie was running a really high fever, and we had to send him to London for treatment. When we didn't make it onto the plane to go to Sweden recently, to start our European run of dates, it went against every molecule in my body, and the same goes for the rest of the band.
"As a band, we learnt a long time ago that in these situations, it's always best to tell the truth, If you lie, then it comes back to bite you in the ass. That's why we were careful at every step to put things exactly the way Dan had told them to us. Why has he changed his story now? I can only assume it's to save his own skin, and to avoid being seen as the bad guy. I can't say that I blame him. But we have absolutely been completely truthful."
On Eddie Trunk's (co-host of the VH1 Classic television program "That Metal Show" who has a long-running radio show, "Friday Night Rocks", on New York's Q104.3 FM) suggestion that there was friction off stage between the band and Nelson at the recent Rocklahoma festival in Pryor, Oklahoma:
"Ed's been a friend of ours for 25 years; there are few people closer to ANTHRAX. So when he says he could spot problems… well, I can't deny it. In fact, things were weird between Dan and us from December. I'd love to say a lot more, and I will as soon as I'm able, but right now, I just cannot go into any further detail."
On upcoming one-off concert at the U.K.'s Sonisphere festival where ANTHRAX will be joined by John Bush, the vocalist who spent 13 years with them from 1992 to 2005:
"He was the first guy we called when the whole thing went down with Dan. And all of us are delighted that he can do this gig — it'll be great fun. Obviously, our set will be different to the one we'd worked out with Dan. It'll be more oriented towards the Bush era, although still concentrating on our most popular songs. That's what a festival crowd expects."
On whether Ian, in the back of his mind, is hoping that this show might lead to something more permanent with Bush:
"It's not in the back of my mind — it's right at the front of it. When our reunion tour with Joe Belladonna and Dan Spitz finished in 2007, we [Ian, Benante and bassist Frank Bello] wanted both John and [guitarist] Rob Caggiano to come back. Well, Rob returned but not John. Now, though, we've Sonisphere to look forward to with him.
"I love working with John, and I know I speak for everyone involved with ANTHRAX — the band and the fans — when I say that the best thing for us would for this to turn into a long-term relationship. But I don't want to jump the gun. Let's see how things go at Sonisphere, and take it from there."
On what is going to happen to the recently completed studio album, "Worship Music", featuring Dan Nelson on vocals:
"Until we have a new singer, I can't tell you what will happen to the record. We'll probably change a few things on it, including the vocals. However, nothing's been decided. Expect that the release date will go back, possibly to next year."