ANTHRAX mainman Scott Ian recently spoke to Rockdetector.com editor Bernard Doe. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
Rockdetector.com: Some may say that the timing of the reunion was strange. Especially as your last studio album, "We've Come For You All", has been universally acknowledged as the best ANTHRAX record for years?
Scott Ian: "Because it was the only time to do it. If we hadn't announced this when we did last year then it probably never would have happened."
Rockdetector.com: I guess both Joey Belladonna and Dan Spitz had to want to do the reunion for it to work?
Scott Ian: "Yes, we had made a decision that it would have to be all five of us or what's the point? Also, it had to be easy, like pick the phone up and everyone agreeing to just go out and have fun. If it was any harder than that then we would have probably just gone ahead and started writing and then made the next album."
Rockdetector.com: Reunions are common, especially these days, but you originally decided to break up the so called "classic" line-up in 1992 when you fired Joey. If Joey wasn't right for ANTHRAX in 1992, what has changed that makes him right to front the band again now? Or are you just trying to relive those glory days?
Scott Ian: "No, not at all. Relive glory days? I don't even know what that means?! I don't even remember what it felt like to be in ANTHRAX in 1987? All this is, was a chance for the five of us to get back together and go out, play some shows, and see how it goes? So far it's gone really well and we've reformed friendships, so at the end of the day, if nothing more comes out of it, at least I can say that we are all friends."
Rockdetector.com: You stated that both John Bush and Rob Caggiano are still a part of ANTHRAX when you first announced this reunion. Is that still the case?
Scott Ian: "Well, you haven't read anything on the Internet that says anything different have you?"
Rockdetector.com: Nothing official from the ANTHRAX camp, but there is obviously a lot of speculation about the situation?
Scott Ian: "Yes, 'speculation' is a dangerous word."
Rockdetector.com: So as far as you are concerned, at this moment, John Bush and Rob Caggiano are still members of ANTHRAX?
Scott Ian: "Yes."
Rockdetector.com: You have also said that there would be no more ANTHRAX without the reunion. What exactly do you mean by that? So far you have not explained that statement?
Scott Ian: "And I never will explain it because what goes on business-wise in this band is nobody else's business... it's as simple as that. If people want to know what that statement means then they can go and do their homework. It's the truth, we would not have gone and made another record at that point if this reunion didn't happen."
Rockdetector.com: But you did suggest to me earlier that if all five of you did not agree to do this reunion then you would have gone ahead and made the next ANTHRAX album?
Scott Ian: "Well... look, people can speculate about that all they want because that is all they are gonna get from me."
Rockdetector.com: Maybe, but a lot of loyal ANTHRAX fans will still be puzzled by your refusal to answer that question and to explain yourself. Not everyone is clued-up on the politics and business side of the music industry. Obviously you do care about your fans?
Scott Ian: "But what does it really matter if it doesn't have anything to do with our live performance, the songs we write and the records we make? Fans don't need to know what colour my shit is when I take one in the morning. I care everything about the fans of this band. We wouldn't be doing this in 2006 if it wasn't for them and our audience. But the bottom line is, I don't walk into someone's house and ask them how much their dad makes, or what it's like for them to have sex with their wife or girlfriend? Some things are meant to be personal. I'm sorry, but that is just the way it is."
Rockdetector.com: I understand what you are saying Scott, but, in this internet age, making a statement like you did and then not explaining yourself will always leave people out there asking the question?
Scott Ian: "Well, they can ask it for the rest of their life, but it's not my responsibility to answer every question. I maybe in the public forum, but I'm not a politician. I'm not up for the Supreme Court appointment. I play in a fucking band, and it's about having fun. Look, I've been a fan since I was nine years old and I never felt the need to find out the reason why Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth didn't get along? I didn't give a fuck! I just wanted to listen to the records. So I can only take it from that point of view, and sometimes business is business and personal is personal. And unless you are in this band or you are our manager then there is no need to know it. I think if anyone would expect me to spill my guts out about everything in my life, then they are not really a fan of this band or me. Then they are being just like an asshole tabloid person. This is not Jessica Simpson or Paris Hilton. If people are looking for that then they can go and read the National Enquirer."
Rockdetector.com: Obviously Rob Caggiano has had his say about the whole reunion situation in an interview he did with the Anthrax Reunion Bashing Club website towards the end of last year. He claims that ANTHRAX have been mismanaged since the Jonny Z days, and that the U.S. label situation is a contributing factor for this reunion. What did you make of Rob's comments?
Scott Ian: "Hey, I know why Rob was upset about certain things, but the bottom line is we are doing what we are doing, and he knows the truth of the matter, and if he ever had a problem or any questions then he should have came and asked me right to my face. That day he did that interview he was with me and he was all smiles. So, either he is completely full of shit to me or to that interviewer... who knows? Because he has never said any of that to my face, and I told him straight-up after the fact. I said, 'Dude, if you've got a problem, why don't you come up to me instead of going into a public forum on the Internet and lower yourself to that?' But, that is the road he chose to take."
Rockdetector.com: And what was Rob's response when you said that to him?
Scott Ian: "Well, that's an answer you will never get. Ha! Ha! Actually, my favorite quote from that interview that Rob done was that he called us a 'Vegas act'! I guess we will have to take that as a compliment now, considering that all our shows are selling out. We're doing pretty well for a 'Vegas act'!"
Rockdetector.com: Rob's other gripe was that both he and John Bush had been removed from the ANTHRAX website? What have you got to say about that?
Scott Ian: "He knows full well that Island Records paid for our new website. Well, Rob Caggiano and John Bush never existed on Island Records with ANTHRAX, so why are they going to spend money to promote all the Elektra records or the Sanctuary records? We were lucky enough to get the 'Sound Of White Noise' skin up on our website, so yes, John Bush is featured on there. But Island Records are footing the bill for that right now, so there's another point of reality that I guess Rob chose to ignore."
Rockdetector.com: Is this new music you have written for the current reunited lineup?
Scott Ian: "Well, I guess that announcement will be made when we decide that it's time to make it!"
Rockdetector.com: So when can we expect to see a new ANTHRAX studio album?
Scott Ian: "It just depends on what happens this year, and whether we tour in the summer or not. If we don't tour in the summer then I guess there's a chance that we could have a new studio album out by the end of the year."
Rockdetector.com: Looking back, what are you own personal ANTHRAX highlights over the past 25 years?
Scott Ian: "Well, just even making the 'Fistful Of Metal' album is a huge highlight because I didn't think it would ever happen. The first time playing Donington and then going back there and playing Download last summer... that was pretty fucking amazing to have 18 years between Donington appearances and having it go so well. Headlining Madison Square Garden in 1991. Surviving the change in frontman in '92 and making 'Sound Of White Noise', because once again that was a point in the band's career where we couldn't have gone on with that band and made another record unless we had made the change."
Rockdetector.com: The same situation as now then?
Scott Ian: "Ha! Ha! Well... okay, this is the most you will get out of me as to why we wouldn't have gone on if we hadn't made the change now. Yes, there are similarities to '92 as there is now. And someday you will get an explanation to that, it's just that I can't go into it now."
Rockdetector.com: So, what is the ANTHRAX record label situation right now?
Scott Ian: "Ha! Ha! It's JVC in Japan, Sanctuary in North America and Nuclear Blast everywhere else. And, yes, somewhere in there lies the problem, so if you want to read between those lines then you will find a lot of the answers."
Rockdetector.com: What is your personal favourite ANTHRAX album?
Scott Ian: "I'd have to say a tie between 'We've Come From You All' and 'Among The Living'. On these reunion shows we've are doing six songs from 'Among The Living' in our set, which is more than any other album from back then. And if we were playing songs from 'Sound Of White Noise' onwards, then we'd probably play five or six songs from 'We've Come From You All' too."
Rockdetector.com: And your least favourite ANTHRAX album?
Scott Ian: "That would be 'State Of Euphoria', because it wasn't finished. I mean, I can talk about it now, but obviously back in '88 I wasn't going to sit there in interviews and say, 'well, this album is mediocre because we didn't spend enough time writing it as we felt the pressure of going out on tour with IRON MAIDEN in Europe and had to get the record done'. But looking back at it now, we should have spent another three months writing it. So many of those songs on that record just sound unfinished to me."
Rockdetector.com: When I spoke to Dan Lilker last year, he said that he couldn't see S.O.D. ever recording another album.
Scott Ian: "No, definitely not."
Rockdetector.com: But he did add that maybe there would be a one-off S.O.D. show somewhere if the money was right?
Scott Ian: "Ha! Ha! Look, S.O.D. was one of the happiest moments of my life. But as far as I'm concerned S.O.D. was never meant to be a real band. It was never meant to have the baggage that a real band end up having. It was never meant to have a schedule... any of that. It was just supposed to be a way of going to express yourself and have fun without any business involved. Y'know, the complete opposite of any model of any band that there has ever been in the history of music. And the thing that sucked is, it ended up turning into what I never wanted it to be! Granted, I went along with it. I mean, it wasn't like I was fighting to not tour. I couldn't wait to go out on tour in '99 when I realized we were going to do it and make a second record... I was so excited! It was fucking amazing the first time through when everyone got to see us, but then the mistake we made was to go out a second time through the States. All of a sudden it was like, wait a minute, I'm already in a band. I don't want to be tired of being in S.O.D. I don't want it to become work. I don't want it to become gruelling. It wasn't going to be fun anymore and I realised in my mind that it went against everything that I meant it to be in the beginning. Other people in the band have a different philosophy about it, and there you have the problem."
Rockdetector.com: The ANTHRAX reunion tour comes to Europe in April. Then where?
Scott Ian: "Well, Frankie's wife is having a baby in May, so it's kinda limiting our touring schedule right now. But that's okay, as the last thing I want to do is overplay it, because it's not like we're out there doing anything new. The people in Europe did get to see us last summer at the festivals over there, and a couple of random headlining shows, so we'll come back for three weeks in April and play in major cities and that's it. I don't want to drag this around for three years playing the same five albums."
Read the entire interview at Rockdetector.com.