Anthrax may not be a hardcore or punk band, but they’ve played alongside plenty of hardcore bands over the years, Scott was a regular visitor to CBGB’s hardcore matinees in the 80’s, and well basically they are legends! They’ve gotten the orignal members back together for a reunion tour starting in May, heres what Scott had to say about all things Anthrax…
Can you give me some background on how the reunion cam about, because if fans had heard about it, the wouldn’t have expected it?
Well yeah, we didn’t either! It was an idea that Charlie mentioned to me last summer when we were on tour in Europe, because we were trying to think of ways to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of fistful of metal and he mentioned what about doing a reunion and the more we talked about it, the more we realised at that point its kinda like now we have to do it. This is our one chance if we’re ever going to do this, now would be the time. because what if we wait for our 25th anniversary, and we’re not all here, or physically we’re not able to do it, or whatever reason.
And last we’d want is to have it and regret and I realised that I would regret it if 10 years from now, I looked back and I thought, well you know we could have done that and never did. So its kinda how things work with this band.
And did it take much convincing the others to get it happening?
No trouble at all, that would have put an end to it right there, I mean me and Charlie talking about it is one thing but if it would have been a hard thing to get people to it, then we certainly wouldn’t have done it, because we’re not here to twist anybodies arm, and say look go do this. Everyone had to be to doing it, and once we actually started making the calls it came together quickly.
And does it feel good to have the old gang back together?
Yeah, it was fun hanging out in New York, yeah, we were together in New York for a week, at the end of March and beginning of this month to make the announcement and do some press and whatever. We basically spent a lot of time together and it was strange because it was like 13 years or even longer. At the end of Joey time in the band in the early 90’s we weren’t so much a unit at that time, everyone was pretty sick of each other, to put it bluntly.
Somebody else, I completely understand it. He wasn’t there back in the 80’s so why should he be there now. He was like you guys go do this, I’ll take 8 months off.
So at that point we had pretty much grown apart as people but getting back together now in New York, it felt like more so than it felt like more so than in 1987, it was still like the five musketeers, it kinda felt that way.
Will you have a particular set list for the tour, or just every night do something different?
Well Charlie, Frank and I have pretty much never gone away, so its been easier for us in a sense, we know most of all the stuff, we’ve been playing these songs forever, but we have learned and we have added a hole bunch of songs we haven’t played since the mid 80’s, and so people will get to here stuff they’ve never heard us play before.
The DVD you’re doing, will be just for the reunion, will there be interviews, mixture of live stuff?
Its going to be more a documentary, but yeah it will certainly have a live show on it, but we’ve been documenting everything. It won’t have the amount of content like where Metallica did for their thing where they had 4 years of stuff. We don’t have nearly that much drama or that much content, but there’ll be some type of story line to it showing the whole thing together.
Looking back over the years in Anthrax, the albums you’ve made, is there any you are disappointed with?
I’ve always made it pretty well known that Sate of Euphoria was an album I wasn’t happy with, once it was done, it was our own fault, we rushed it, we didn’t spend enough time writing that record, we we’re in the studio making that record, and knowing that we had this Monsters of Rock tour to do in the Summer of 1988, with Iron Maiden, and we were basically just put so much pressure on ourselves to get it done, and because we really wanted to have the record finished before we did that tour. And the record suffered for it.
I just feel like, listening back to that, threes only three, not including Anti-Social of course, because thats a cover, but to me there’s only three finished songs on that record, and the rest of it is, I just listen to it and I’m like, alright well that songs almost there, we should have spent another 3, 4 months working on that and you know, we learned from that, that we would never do that again.
Well one of you’re most popular albums would have been “Persistence In Time”, do you think it should have been bigger than it was?
That album did great, (but do you think it should have been even bigger?), so I wont disagree, but that album did great for us, its almost platinum here in the States, it went gold right away, we toured with Iron Maiden for what seemed like (laughs) a year or something on that record, and there was Clash of the Titans, and that whole thong rolled into the Public Enemy tour. That was probably our biggest, from the time that record came out till the time we finished touring it, that was biggest period of all time in Anthrax.
Have there been any low points where you cam close to calling it a day with the band? Or has it always been good?
Its never gotten to the point where, it was seriously like we should call it quits, of course there has been low points, any time in the past when we had to change members, having to change Joey or Danny, you get to those points, and its a case of this has to happen or the band isn’t going to be able to move forward, unless we make a change. But in your mind you always know that you are going to move forward, you’re going to protect the life of the band, and you’re going to move forward and get the guy you’re looking for.
Especially with Joey back in ’92, we were doing really well back then, and here we are saying we want to change singers, you know, looking back on iy now, did we make that right decision? or did we make the wrong decision, who knows? I think we made the right decision, cause I love John Bush, and I love the records we made with him. But here we are sitting at the peak of our commercial success saying, ok now we’re going to change singers. Most bands in our shoes probably wouldn’t have done that, but that’s what we had to do to survive as a band. We couldn’t have gone on together in that line up, we wouldn’t have been able to make another record.
And how does John feel about the re-union tour?
You know we offered him to do this, we offered to come out and do it, and we would have done it with both singers, that was the original idea. And he was the first call, once we decided we were going to move forward, alright lets see what John has to say. And he said you guys need to go this, it was something he felt he didn’t need to be a part of. I understand, why share the stage with.
This is a question going back to the 80’s about your t-shirt “NYHC in Moshing we Trust”, was there resentment from the hardcore community or did they all take it as good fun?
You know, there was some stupidity back then, because somebody spread a rumor about us at the time, I don’t know who, but there was a rumor in the underground scene in New York back around ’86/’87, when that scene was still around. Someone said that we copy righted that NYHC thing, which was ridiculous, it was the further thing from the truth. Some idiots believed it, I used to go shows all the time at CBGB’s, if I was home I was there every Sunday at the hardcore matinee shows, good friends with the Agnostic Front guys, Cro-Mags, and Murphy’s Law and all these old school bands. And I would start going to shows, and I was one of the only people at that time back starting around 83/84, I was one of the only people that had long hair, that went to CBGB’s, because in general it wasn’t a metal scene at all, it was hardcore, it hadn’t crossed over yet.
And I got accepted into the scene, nobody beat me up for my long hair, that’s why it even took me so long to go to shows there, cause I was affraid that I’d get my ass kicked. Anyway to make a long story short, around 86/87, I’d be at shows and kids would try and start shit with me, over the New York hardcore thing, I’m like what the fuck are you talking about, we didn’t copy right anything. You know how rumors are, and it actually took, Jimmy from Murphy’s Law, who was at the time and still is, one of the biggest people on the scene, basically when Jimmy spoke, people listened, and it actually took Jimmy at a Murphy’s Law show to get me up on stage and tell the crowd that Anthrax did not do anything with the NYHC logo, and Scott is cool, please leave him the fuck alone, and then we jammed on Crucial Barbeque or something and that was that and then nobody bothered me ever again.
You mentioned CBGB’s there, what are you’re feelings that it might be closing?
I understand it, but it sucks, that’s New York. I had this conversation with somebody yesterday in an interview, they said how can you live in Los Angeles, you’re a New Yorker and well I’ve been here for 15 years, they didn’t understand it. And I was like have you seen New York City lately, there are New Yorkers very proud to be from New York, of course I’m proud to be from New York, but the New York that I know, and the New York that I’m proud of, that disappeared in about 1983.
That New York doesn’t exist anymore, New York now is, I love it and I love going there but its Disneyland for the rich, that’s New York now, CBGB’s is going to close because now the rent is going to be $40,000 a month instead of $18,000 a month. You just can’t afford to have anything in New York except for expensive office buildings and expensive stores and expensive apartments.
Does it surprise you how the band has endured over the years, you first played Dublin in 1986, almost 20 years later you’re still coming back. Thousands of other bands have been and gone and forgotten about.
People ask me what’s the one that I’m most proud of or whatever, or the most important thing about being in the band and that’s it, its been our career, the fact that we are still doing this, somehow we’ve been able to push through, through so many trends and so many other bands and keep doing what we do, we’ve been able to do that, its a testament to the records we do, as well as to the capabilities as a live act.
Certainly, I think we are one of the beast live bands in any genre of music, it is surprising, but at the same time it feels absolutely normal, because this is my job, I get up in the morning and I go to work, whether if we’re on tour or I’m at home dealing with business stuff for the band or whatever, this is what I do, and its the greatest job in the world. I am absolutely privileged that I get to do this every day.
Its good that its something you love, some bands see it as job they have to do, not something they want to do.
Yeah, I absolutely want to do this, if some one told me Anthrax was going away tomorrow, I’d be very upset about it. I love doing this, music is my life, its what I love so I couldn’t imagine at this point not having this outlet for the crap that I had in my head.
Would you every consider doing a covers album?
Well we’ve done so many covers at this point, we probably have enough for a double album, they’ve all come out in one way, shape or form, all the covers we’ve ever done, going back to “God Save the Queen” in 1984, they’ve all come out whether on B-sides, or EP’s, like that covers EP we did back in the 80’s, but you never know, its always possible. We’re thinking about covers, even the bust out with Joey, I’ve talked about encores of stuff we’ve never done before. We’ll see in rehearsal next week if they work. So we’ll see yeah, there’s a possibility.
That is something I would like to do, like take advantage of the internet, maybe you could only get it through the website, you could download for cheap or something. Something like that would be cool.
When people heard I was interviewing you, they all asked will there be a studio album, will there be one?
That’s everybody’s first question, but we don’t know honestly we’re first going to be in a room rehearsing together on Monday, in two days from now, so its hard to say even how that’s going to turn out. To take it as far to say are we going to make a record? I have no idea. We’re going to go out, tour, do shows, the only thing we’re thinking about right now is having fun doing this. We have an opportunity for the third year in a row to come over and play festivals around Europe.
And we’re doing it as this re-union band, which is something completely new for us, so I have no idea. If something creative comes out of this, musically, then there is a possibility that we would do a record, if those ideas came, but you know its like any other Anthrax record, thats ever been made, we never forced anything. The ideas just start to happen. We’ll see what happens in the next few months, and its probably a question I can answer in October.
If you could see other bands reform, who would it be, be the members living or dead ,Guns n Roses, Minor Threat Sex Pistols?
Faith No More, second choice absolutely, Guns n Roses, Van Halen with David Lee Roth. The list goes on, I’d love Quicksand to get back together, I’d love Kyuss to do a re-union, I’d love, well Helmet is back together and I say them last year and they fucking ruled. So yeah, theres a bunch of them I’d like to see, the biggest but that would be impossible would be Bonn Scott and AC/DC, until they could have his zombie come back from the grave, and not try and eat Angus on stage, I’m still waiting for it.
I was reading on your website you’re involved with the Spreading the Disease campaign, about US soldiers having to get vaccinations, the use of depleted uranium bullets. Do you want to tell us a little about that, without going into too much details, I can direct people to the site and links, and how you got involved?
You can find links (when our site is back up) to either the Slave to the Metal organisation, or to this other organisation, dealing with the project Biosheild, and what project Biosheild is to make a long story short, its another wonderful law that our government passed in the wake of 9/11, its basically the same thing as the Patriot Act that got passed here, but this gives them absolute control over what our soldiers, as well as us as citizens, will have to put into our bodies.
So lets say if the government deemed that there was some type of bio threat, lets say they got some information that there was going to be an Anthrax attack in the New York subways or something like that, and we know our government and the information they get like the weapons of mass destruction that they’re still looking for, you know lets say they get some bad information and there is no Anthrax attack, but just based on the fact that they think theres a threat, they can force us as citizens to take this Anthrax vaccine, and if you don’t take it then you can be put in jail and quarantined.
Yeah, they actually have this power now. In the military, our soldiers are being forced to take this, even though it still is voluntary, because it wasn’t up until two years ago it wasn’t, the Pentagon, it was forced, they had to take it. And then there was a bunch of lawsuits, and the judge overturned the Pentagons right, and now its voluntary, the soldiers can volunteer to take the shot. But basically in the army you’re told take this shot and don’t ask any questions.
And 99% of the soldiers are doing that, because if you don’t do it you get ostracised from the rest of the unit. Soldiers are getting put in jail, they’re just getting completely fucked over, they’re being given the shot without any information at all, about any of the negative side effects, and the fact that you’ll come home with Gulf War syndrome, and you’ll either live like a vegetable, or possible die. And its unbelievable that this is what our government, well I shouldn’t say unbelievable because it is the United States government.
Its something we were asked to lend our name to, obviously because we’re called Anthrax, we figured if we could do anything positive, with the name of our band, and have any type of positive result, then it would be a good thing to get involved with.
Completely of on a tangent, it made me think of it, I was re-reading the lyrics to “Among the Living”, the actual song the other day, the song is about Randall Flagg, and its based on a Stephen thing, if you read those lyrics, they pretty much parallel the current and the previous Bush administrations. Its like I’m talking about the Bush’s when I read those lyrics. And I don’t have that much foresight, believe me.
I can see everyone digging out those lyrics now and reading them!
Yeah, its amazing, I’m like whoa, this is the Bush’s, how did I know about this. Well it was Stephen King that had the foresight, I just wrote lyrics about his character.
OK, thats all I have, when you play Dublin on May 4th, maybe we’ll chat again see how the tours going.
Yeah, that’ll be our fourth show, we fly straight from Chicago to Dublin. Thanks.
Thanks to Scott for the Interview, and Japp at Nuclear Blast for setting it up.