Scott Ian of Anthrax Warms Up to a 617 Q&A

Having talked to Scott Ian on three separate occasions for three different publications, I’m still not sure if he’s a jerk, hardened New Yorker who carries the city’s attitude with him wherever he goes or is just always on constant alert (i.e. paranoia) that people (i.e. interviewers, media, etc.) are trying to “gotcha!” him for a headline.

I cannot count the number of times he said the word “clickbait” in the conversation we had that made up the current Vanyaland 617 Q&A. This was also the second time we’ve chatted where he non-answered a question by saying, “I don’t see what this has to do with Anthrax.”

Maybe it has nothing to do with Anthrax. But I’m interested in the answer. That’s the game here: I ask questions, you answer them. You don’t have to like the questions, but balking at them is just bratty and whiny and, most of all, not cool.

Sometimes I’ll encounter stand-offish subjects and usually it’s pretty easy to break them down genuinely when they realize I’m not looking for an angle. Yet with Scott, man, he’s a tough nut to crack. And for an interview like a 617 Q&A, the whole point of it is to NOT spend the entire time shilling your current project. It’s about shaking things up, having fun with a different interview format and thinking about the actual answers to questions rather than cruise control them out of your mouth.

Now, maybe Scott is different. But who wants to sit and regurgitate the same thing you said in the last 14 interviews about when the next Anthrax record is coming out (already asked), what songs you’re looking forward to playing on the tour and what do you like best about [insert city you’ll be performing in here]? At this juncture in my writing career, for the most part, I get to choose who I interview and don’t have to fake it. I’d say 95% of the people I speak with are those who I’m an actual fan of or into their work enough that there’s some legitimate thought going into the questions – whether you like them or not is a different story.

All that said, he seemed to be enjoying it by the end. Scott did not like the Six Questions portion very much. He totally missed the point about “nerd culture.” I don’t know – maybe he thought I was insulting him by using the term – he didn’t get it. But he really came to life once I asked for the “One Recommendation,” so much so that I think he’s the first subject to hit me with three of them. Then for the “Seven of Something,” Scott really dug in for the bands he’d like to see biopics done on in the future.

Not that Scott gives a shit, but I still find him an incredibly interesting guy. Just don’t take affront to everything like you’re being setup. Have fun. If Dave Mustaine can happily answer why he thinks people openly despise him and Kerry King can tell me with a straight face that he can sing every lyric to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, then you can acquiesce when I ask about Glenn Danzig wanting to beat you up, like, three decades ago. Relax. Not everyone wants clickbait.

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