SCOTT IAN Says He Never Denied Telling MUSTAINE That METALLICA Wanted To Fire ULRICH

ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian says that he "never issued a denial" in response to Dave Mustaine's claim that Ian told the MEGADETH mainman METALLICA planned to fire drummer Lars Ulrich back in the mid-'80s.

In a recent interview with RollingStone.com, Mustaine was asked by reporter Greg Prato, "As far as you know, is it true that on the last METALLICA tour Cliff Burton was on before he died, the band was planning on firing Lars Ulrich at the tour's end?" Mustaine replied, "That's what Scott (Ian) told me. He said that when METALLICA got home, that James (Hetfield, frontman), Cliff and Kirk (Hammett, guitarist) were going to fire Lars."

In a short e-mail to Metal Hammer magazine, Ian said, "[I] never issued a denial on the ANTHRAX Twitter [in response to Mustaine's comments]. That was our webmaster [Brent Thompson]. I have my own [Twitter profile]."

Ian also addressed Mustaine's explanation that the only reason Dave brought up Scott's name in connection with the Ulrich-was-getting-fired story was to help Ian sell books.

Speaking to Classic Rock magazine, Mustaine was asked if he now regretted breaking the story about METALLICA's alleged proposed sacking of Lars Ulrich. "No," Mustaine replied. "It was something Scott told me. I was trying to help him promote his autobiography. I love Scott and would never do anything to hurt him — never. But it's what he told me and I know other people who've heard it, too. With all the things that are out there on the Net, I know that Scott's having a bad time. People are starting to say, 'We believe Dave and Scott's a liar. He lied about the thing with Dan [Nelson, the singer who controversially parted company with ANTHRAX].' That's the last thing I wanted. I love Scott. I wish I could just make this thing go away. But I didn't say it, he did."

In his e-mail to Metal Hammer magazine, Scott stated simply, "I don't have an autobiography coming out, nor does the band [referring to ANTHRAX — Ed.]."

Mustaine himself was a member of METALLICA for less than two years, from 1981 to 1983, before being dismissed and replaced by Hammett. He did not play on any METALLICA albums and did not attend their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Mustaine went on to form MEGADETH. The band's 12th studio album, "Endgame", is due out in September.

From ANTHRAX's official Twitter account (date of posting: July 29, 2009):

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