Peter Roche of the Cleveland Music Examiner recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Cleveland Music Examiner: Have you started recording the 11th studio album, or are you still in the writing phase?
Scott: We're in the middle of it. Not recording, but in the middle of writing the record. We just had a session on Monday. Charlie [Benante, drums] and Frankie [Bello, bass] were out here in Los Angeles and we were at the studio all day working. So we're in the thick of it right now, with the hopes of getting in the studio in like, late spring or early summer.
Cleveland Music Examiner: When I hit college, you did "Bring The Noise" with PUBLIC ENEMY, and everyone's like, "Wow — a metal band doing rap!" And we'd have to tell 'em, hey, ANTHRAX did this once already three years ago. This isn't new; it's just the next level.
Scott: Yeah, a lot of people didn't realize that. By that point, there was a new audience, and we certainly reached a lot of new people with that PUBLIC ENEMY track. People who maybe weren't into what we'd done before, or who weren't metal-heads. So that track crossed over for us and took us into a new zone. But it's funny, because we haven't done anything rap or crossed over since "Bring The Noise", yet people once again still talk about it, which shows me how special it was. People still want to hear it and people still reference it all the time, and it's almost 25 years old. And sometimes we're categorized as a "rap metal" band, when we only ever did the two songs — other then maybe screwing around with "Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun" with the BEASTIE BOYS as a B-side — but yeah. People still talk about it as if that's what we do.
Cleveland Music Examiner: I think the die-hards know better, but it raises a good point about ANTHRAX. Of metal's "Big Four" bands — METALLICA, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX and SLAYER — you guys probably had the most open minds as far as your interests, and what you listened to on your own, and what you were willing to pursue on record. Your horizons were broader, maybe. And that's not to but down those other bands, who I love. But it speaks to your willingness to embrace new things.
Scott: There's definitely something to be said…. Certainly, METALLICA kind of stretched and spread their wings later on. We did stuff like that early on, whereas METALLICA kind of changed their sound in the '90s after the Black Album, and — obviously — by doing something with Lou Reed later on. And I think they might even have done a rap thing of their own with that guy Swizz Beatz. I just think musically, it's about who you are as an individual. That's what it comes down to. SLAYER's Kerry King himself has said, "We've been called the AC/DC of thrash." And you can only take that as a compliment, you know? Because SLAYER is SLAYER, and you know exactly what you're gonna get, and you're not going to suddenly hear SLAYER doing a collaboration with Bruno Mars or whoever. And I'm just pulling Bruno Mars' name out of the ether. But probably no one ever thought you'd hear a METALLICA and Lou Reed record — and then they did it. And that opens the door for all kinds of other stuff to happen, whether you like it or not. It comes down to who you are as an individual and as an artist, and what you want to do. Speaking for ANTHRAX, we never felt like we were in a box. Or felt that we could only play one type of music all the time. Because we loved the diversity within the band. You had Charlie, Frankie, and I as the big rap fans — but at the same time there was Joey [Belladonna, vocals], whose favorite stuff even now is classic stuff. He loves RUSH and DEEP PURPLE and YES and things like that. There was just a huge amount of diversity going on within us.
Read the entire interview at Cleveland Music Examiner.