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Anthrax’s Scott Ian admits he was ‘crazy jealous’ when he first heard Metallica

Scott Ian
(Image credit: Anthrax)

Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian admits to feeling “crazy jealous” when he first heard Metallica, having been introduced to the Californian band by his friend, New Jersey record shop owner (and later Megaforce Records boss) Jonny Z.

In the second episode of the New York quintet’s Anthrax 40 for 40 web documentary series, Ian reveals that he first heard James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich’s band on a demo cassette courtesy of Jonny Z [Zazula], and was “blown away” by what he heard.

Says Ian, “[Jonny] was like, ‘Scott, I got this thing, wait ’til you hear it, it’s going to blow your mind! I got this demo from this band, from San Francisco, they’re called Metallica’… and he puts this fucking tape in, and it’s just like... hearing the guitars, the song arrangements, the tightness of the band… I was blown away, and I fucking loved it, and at the same time I was crazy jealous.”

“Who are these guys? How old are they? He’s like, ‘They’re the same as you guys. Same age!’ Everything about it was better than where we were at as a band at that point, y’know, and here’s Jonny, like our guy, telling us, ‘I’m bringing them to New York from San Francisco, and we’re gonna put them in the studio and make an album and get them a record deal!’ It was, like, What? What about us?”

As any thrash metal fan will be aware, Jonny Z’s Megaforce Records ultimately put out the debut albums by both bands, Metallica’s Kill ’Em All in 1983, and Anthrax’s Fistful Of Metal in 1984. Guitarist Ian and his bandmates at the time - vocalist Neil Turbin, bassist Danny Lilker, guitarist Danny Spitz and drummer Charlie Benante - share their own memories of the making of that debut album in the episode. 

Directed and edited by Jack Bennett, the Anthrax 40 for 40 series will walk viewers through the influential New York thrash band’s entire history, through to 2016’s For All Kings album, and will lead up to a special livestream event on July 18. Forthcoming guests on the web series will include Slash, Dave Grohl, Kerry King, Chuck D, Tom Morello, Gene Simmons, Corey Taylor and Dave Mustaine.

The band say: “Each week beginning May 3, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and wrapping on the band’s official founding anniversary of July 18 Anthrax will offer Anthrax 40 for 40, a series of episodes that features former band members, fellow musicians, colleagues, and industry veterans sharing behind-the-scenes stories of working with the band, and what Anthrax’s legacy has meant all these years on.”