ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian was asked in a new interview with The Sessions what keeps him motivated to play music 40 years after the band's formation. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, paying the bills is one thing. But I'm a blue-collar guy. I'm in a blue-collar band. We're not in that rare heir of huge, huge bands. But we're a band that has been able to make a living, and make our livings doing what we do the way we wanna do it, because nobody's sticking their fingers into our business in any way, shape or form, especially creatively. It's all about us.
"That's all I ever wanted to do with my life, was to have a job that I enjoyed that I would love to do," he continued. "I never wanted to be stuck in a profession where I hated it and I would come home every day miserable. I knew enough people who already had that; I knew enough of my friends' parents who were miserable in their work, in their jobs, and I said, 'I'm never gonna be that guy. I'm gonna do something that I wanna do,' and this is what I wanted to do. And I'm going on 40 years now of doing this."
Circling back to why he is still touring and recording with ANTHRAX, Scott said: "There are many motivating factors. But the enjoyment of it — the joy of being in a band; the joy of playing guitar; the joy of writing music; the joy of creating; the joy of traveling, even still; the joy of playing shows, which probably if I had to pick one out of all those things I just mentioned, that's still the best thing. That time on stage with ANTHRAX, that's the best. Because you don't get that anywhere else — only live music. Not even Broadway. Live theater doesn't get the reaction we get, that metal bands get. It's a much different, aggressive, bigger, powerful energy.
"I had that conversation with Gene Simmons [KISS] ages ago. He was, like, 'You know, Scott, only live music gets this. There's no other place on the planet where you can walk on stage and have 50 thousand people reacting this way to something that you created.' He said, 'It's only this — only this job where you can do that.' He goes, 'We're very lucky.' And I said, 'Believe me, I know.' And he said, 'And it's hard work.' And I said, 'Yeah, I know that too.'
"Yeah, it's all of those things," Ian added. "It's maintaining it, wanting to keep doing it. I love what I do, and I wanna keep doing it. I'm excited about making a new record. If it ever turned and I felt like, 'Oh, God. We're gonna make a new album,' if I ever have that thought in my brain, then I know I've gotta get out, because then I'm cheating everybody, including myself. But I couldn't be more excited about the idea that COVID is gonna go away at some point, hopefully soon-ish; it seems like there's a light at the end of the tunnel now, and we're gonna get to go back to work. And the thought of that is more exciting, I think, now than it's ever been in my life because it's never been taken away before. For everyone on the planet, in so many ways, freedom was taken away for the first time, and certainly in our lives, it's unprecedented what we've all lived through for the past year. And I've got nothing to complain about — it's an inconvenience for me — but the fact that… Look, live music is a big part of people's lives, and the excitement about playing again and I think the excitement about going to shows again, it's gonna be crazy when we get to do that again. It's gonna be amazing."
ANTHRAX is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a number of special activities and events. Formed by guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker in Queens, New York on July 18, 1981, ANTHRAX was one of the first thrash metal bands to emerge from the East Coast and quickly became regarded as a leader in the genre alongside METALLICA, SLAYER and MEGADETH.
Active over the past five decades, ANTHRAX has released 11 studio albums, been awarded multiple gold and platinum certifications, received six Grammy nominations, toured the world since 1984 playing thousands of shows, including headlining Madison Square Garden and playing Yankee Stadium with the "Big Four". The band has built a strong reputation with fans as well as the record industry. With the lineup including Ian, bassist Frank Bello, drummer Charlie Benante, singer Joey Belladonna and guitarist Jon Donais, the band is being feted on their 40th anniversary by a wide range of friends and music contemporaries.
The finale will come as a very special livestream performance from ANTHRAX on Friday, July 16, featuring a deep cuts set that will pull from the band's entire career-spanning catalog.