Anthrax: Interview with Scott Ian

AnthraxSometime in March I got an e-mail saying that I was invited to a press conference at the Sirius Headquarters in NYC on April 1.Ya know what day that is righty, April Fools Day. So when it detailed that the subject of this event was the reunion tour of Anthrax, one of New York’s first big metal bands, it aroused not only interest but suspicion of a hoax. I had heard that rumor before, remember? And to make it even juicier, they are reuniting with the infamous Armed and Dangerous lineup of Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Frank Bello, and long lost members Joey BellaDonna and Dan Spitz. And then at the bottom there was a notation about them working to bring attention to the Military’s Anthrax Vaccination program and stuff. I couldn’t help think, which part is the joke? I called their publicist Maria and asked her, “If I take off a day of work for this, I better not be getting set up for a killer April Fools Joke. She assured me it was all true.

And true it was, I arrived there after being scanned and escorted from the lobby only to be greeted by in fact that very lineup for an uncensored Q&A session broadcast via satellite. Pretty neat way to spend the day. The band spoke for a while, laughed and joked with press and fans calling in. It was a goof to be there to be honest. And the brownies and cookies were awesome. Juliya from Fuse was there…I was having a ball!

Then it got serious at Sirius (God that’s bad!) We watched a short film, narrated by Michael Douglas detailing how the military has been basically mandating the Anthrax vaccine on their personnel, with the threat of court martials and/or dishonorable discharge for non-compliance, despite evidence of a possible link between the vaccine and Gulf War Syndrome. It seems the vaccine was administered by the military without FDA approval, as it wasn’t fully tested by the time war was started. Several scientists and former military personnel were there and spoke on the matter. Particularly stirring was speaking with one former soldier, who at 24, has had two major strokes, one left him with a slight limp, a heart attack, and he has to take four anti-coagulating injections in his abdomen a day so his blood won’t clot. This leaves a bruise on him like a belt, not to mention the pain of course. But the military has consistently denied this issue and rationalized it as Post Traumatic Stress or something. Nice, huh? These people can’t work, a lot of their benefits have been slashed in budget cuts, and the military does nothing but turn a blind eye to them. SHAMEFUL!

But I think I was supposed to talk to them about the tour more, but I couldn’t help but to drift into this issue. There will be plenty to write about the show after it hits Starland Ballroom this Friday… where I will be celebrating my 45th birthday with Liz, Dave Petezilla and anyone else who is lucky enough to get into this show…or make it back to my house that weekend! But on to the show…and with a little soapbox thrown in.

So you’re in Australia, huh?


How’s the tour goin over there?

Oh it’s great, the shows here are amazing.

I bet. I just saw the new Kerrang that my Clutch stuff ran in, and saw your article on the Chicago show at the House of Blues. Looks like you guys are having a lot of fun. Not taking anything away from John and Rob, but it must be nice to be back in the saddle with everyone again.

It’s….uh, I don’t know how to really look at it yet, it’s still too early. That’s the kinda question I can answer about three months after the reunion tour’s over. (chuckles) Right now I’m having fun, that’s the best way I can put it. That was the whole intent goin’ into this, let’s see if we can make it happen, and have some fun. If it was going to be a pain in the ass or a struggle, then there’s no reason to do it.We didn’t need to do a reunion tour. It basically came out of an idea to celebrate our anniversary of 20 years since Fistful Of Metal came out. And it’s been nothing but that, other than some of the insane schedules we’ve been on. (chuckles) As far as the five of us go, we’re having fun.

What is the schedule at this point, how long is this Reunion tour going for?

I have no idea. Not as long as Kiss’. (laughs) Put it that way. Right now we have shows booked until July 30, and of course we are going to do the states in the fall.