Scott Ian: If I can play a show, I'm gonna play

Anthrax mainman Scott Ian says his band and tour buddies Slayer gave no consideration to cancelling their European dates in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

The two bands are still on the road, with the joint trek coming to an end in Russia on December 9. And after IS extremists murdered 130 people in Paris on November 13 – with 89 of the victims being killed at an Eagles Of Death Metal show – a string of acts pulled out of planned shows on the continent.

And while Ian admits he felt an immediate urge to fly home to his family, he soon realised he had to stay on track. After a discussion with Slayer guitarist Kerry King, who felt the same way as his Anthrax counterpart, they stood firm.

Ian tells the Metal Hammer Magazine Show on TeamRock Radio: “Of course my initial thought when we heard what was happening was, ‘I wanna go home to my family.’ But right along with that thought was, ‘I’m not stopping what I’m doing because of this.’

“If promoters say it’s not safe for you to play or venues say they can’t have gatherings of people, then we have no choice. But if I can play a show, I’m gonna go play a show.

“This is what we do, this is what Slayer do. I talked with Kerry about it and I said, ‘Was there ever any thought…?’ And he goes, ‘Fuck no.’ And that’s how Anthrax felt. Fuck no.”

Ian adds that Anthrax’s recent single Evil Twin was written when he was full of anger about this year’s attacks on the Charlie Hebdo office in the French capital. The November 13 attacks came soon after the song’s release – which floored Ian.

He adds: “I wrote the lyrics for Evil Twin as my catharsis after the Charlie Hebdo shootings. I had so much anger in me. There’s been so much of this stuff in our lifetime. Crazily enough, the timing, the song came out then November 13 happened.

“This is the world we live in now. It’s a new kind of war, a war you can’t fight. It’s not a geographical war. You can’t fight this war other than through dialogue, but how can you start a dialogue with an organisation that don’t even value their own lives.”

Ian also recalls the atmosphere in the US after the 911 attacks in 2001 and how packages of poisonous anthrax spores were sent through the post to media offices and politicians. It caused Ian to joke that the band were changing their name to Basket Full Of Puppies – a joke that was lost on at least one major news outlet.

Ian says: “That was after 911 when the anthrax attacks were happening in the States and it was a very strange time for the band. It was the first time we’ve really realised we’d only been renting our name in a sense. Up until that time, a lot of people didn’t even know what anthrax was, other than a heavy metal band.

“I made a joke at some point during that whole thing. I wrote a blog saying, ‘It’s a shame that I have to even joke about this, but we’re changing our name to Basket Full Of Puppies.’ And I’m not shitting you, on CNN they reported it as fact. They didn’t pay attention to where I said I was joking.”

Hear the full interview on the Metal Hammer Magazine Show on TeamRock Radio tonight (Friday, December 4) from 9pm.

Anthrax release their 11th album For All Kings on on February 26, 2016.


  1. You Gotta Believe
  2. Monster At The End
  3. For All Kings
  4. Breathing Lightning
  5. Suzerain
  6. Evil Twin
  7. Blood Eagle Wings
  8. Defend/Avenge
  9. All Of Them Thieves
  10. This Battle Chose Us
  11. Zero Tolerance

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.