Sep. 19, 2012 - Issue #883: Best of Edmonton 2012
"We've never written an album for anyone specifically, we just write songs," Scott Ian says over the phone from New York City. "It's just who's in the band at the time, but it's never ever been focused on specifically who the singer is."
Ian is a guitarist and founding member of Anthrax, one of the original Big Four thrash bands to emerge in the early '80s alongside Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth. After a few lineup changes in the early days, the band's lineup solidified and the quintet of Ian, drummer Charlie Benante, bassist Frank Bello, guitarist Dan Spitz and vocalist Joey Belladonna would go on to record several metal classics before Belladonna was fired from the band in 1992 and John Bush of Armored Saint took over the mic, making his own mark on the band for the next 13 years until he was replaced by Belladonna for a reunion of the Among the Living-era lineup. To complicate the story even further, that reunion lasted only one tour before a new singer entered the mix, recording an unreleased album and playing a few shows before being fired from the band only to be replaced by John Bush for a few more shows until Belladonna finally rejoined Anthrax again in 2010.
It's a messy story on paper, but the end result is that Anthrax pulled itself back together and dropped Worship Music after an eight-year gap between studio albums, and the record is a solid one, sounding perfectly at home in the band's catalogue. To describe it, one might say that Worship Music sounds like a Frankensteined creature of Persistence of Time, the last of the original Belladonna albums, and We've Come For You All, the last of the Bush-era records. Ian himself probably wouldn't be the one to say it, though, admitting that he doesn't have many answers when it comes to making music.
"We get in a room at some point when we decide we should probably start working on a record and things happen," he laughs. "Any other part of the process I just really don't have any answers for you because it's something I never ever think about. We just go in and we do it, you know?
"If someone was to come and sit from day one of us working on a record until the last day it's mixed, it would be interesting to see what they get out of it, how they would then describe or put down on a piece of paper in a bunch of paragraphs how we wrote our album," he continues. "I'd be really interested to see somebody be able to do that, document it and actually try and give it a meaning and a purpose and some kind of an answer, because for me ... I'm in the band. I'm doing it, I'm writing, I'm a part of it, so to step back away and then be able to analyze it from the outside, I'd feel like I'd be killing the magic and I wouldn't be able to write songs anymore."
Sat, Sep 22 (7 pm)
With Testament, Death Angel
Edmonton Event Centre, $39.50
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