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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Anthrax's Scott Ian on Making a Brilliant New Album and Possibly Bringing the Big Four Tour to S.F.

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 6:48 AM

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A few weeks ago, Anthrax played a hometown show in the Bronx as part the second "Big 4" show in the U.S. What was it like to step on the stage in front of a packed house at Yankee Stadium?

I can say -- now having done it -- it was pretty much the highlight of my career in the band. It was just incredible. It's not even something I can say is a dream come true, because I never dreamed we would play Yankee Stadium. Not that I didn't think we would ever play a stadium show in New York, but it's just that Yankee Stadium doesn't do shows. It's such a rare thing for them to do a concert, let alone a metal show like the Big 4 show. It's something that I really didn't think would ever happen. It just never seemed in the realm of possibility. And then actually doing it and it going so well, it couldn't have gone any better. It was an amazing day all around.

As someone who grew up in the Bay Area during the early '80s rise of thrash metal, I'm still hoping the Big 4 will actually play here at some point. I mean, the Giants aren't going to be doing anything at AT&T Park anytime soon, so you guys could tear the shit out of the place. Is that still under consideration?

Well, you should go knock on Lars [Ulrich's] door. You're in San Francisco [laughs]. Go ask the person who may have the answer to that. It's funny that I've done 400 interviews I guess in the last month for this record and that's the one question I've been asked in every interview. And I tell everybody, "What makes you think we have any say at all over what happens with the Big 4?" I mean, I get it; we're a part of it and all that, but Metallica is steering the ship. This is their thing. They installed this red phone with a big red "4" at our manager's office and when it rings, you just say when and where. I'm obviously kidding about that, but it might as well be the truth.

It's an incredible thing to get to be a part of and we love so much the fact that Metallica decided that this was something that they wanted to do, to have us and Slayer and Megadeth go out and do these shows. It's just been amazing for all of us. The guys from Slayer and Megadeth will say the same thing that I'm saying about it. It's just been incredible. The shows are awesome. If it were up to me, we'd do a hundred more Big 4 shows. I can only hope there's going to be more. All the guys in the bands want to do them, including the guys in Metallica, so that makes me think there will be more shows at some point. But as far as when and where, I don't have a clue. How they could not play San Francisco would be really curious, being that it's obviously their hometown show. If they did L.A. and New York, how could they not do the Bay Area?

The recent thrash revival has given me a chance to see a lot of bands I grew up with, and I'm happy to get to see you, Testament, and Death Angel together when the tour comes to S.F. How did you settle on those two Bay Area bands for the tour?

We just started having conversations with our agent about how we were going to kick it off for this record, and the idea was floated to us "How about Testament?" And everyone just instantly said yes. We just thought it was a great idea. They've been back on the scene for a few years now, and their last album did really well. It just seemed like a great thing to go do. Why not? We've all been friends for so long. Both bands are still current and happening. So we reached out to the Testament guys and they were all into it. And Death Angel we had played a bunch of shows with recently. They were out opening for us in Southeast Asia and places like that. So it just seemed like a really easy thing to put together and, at the same time, something that audiences around the country would really want to see.

*This interview was given very shortly after the start of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Also, this post has been updated with a current photo of Anthrax, instead of the old one we ran with the wrong line up.

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Dave Pehling

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