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Scott Ian has helped pioneer the soaring sound of thrash metal band Anthrax with his crunchy guitar riffs. Over the last 30 years, he’s worked on creating the “New Wave of American Heavy Metal” and has been a constant figure in the world of music, comics, poker, movies and television.
Born and raised in Queens, Scott Ian fell under the spell of Kiss early on and as a result, became interested in playing guitar. By the early 80s, he took to the new wave of the British heavy metal movement, looking up to bands like Motörhead, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest. He was determined to form a band in that style and sure enough, more than 30 years ago, he founded Anthrax, a band that was to become a thrash metal icon alongside groups like Metallica, Slayer and Megadeath.
The band’s first release, 1984’s “Fistful of Metal” brought on quite a following and Anthrax soon made a reputation as one of the world’s top thrash bands on the strength of classic metal releases: 1985’s “Spreading the Disease”, 1987’s “Among the Living”, 1988’s “State of Euphoria”, and 1990’s “Persistence of Time”.
Although they had set the norm for thrash metal, Ian and his band mates aimed to innovate and created two metal subgenres thought to be “off-limits” until then. They first broke down barriers and merged metal with hardcore in Ian’s project called Stormtroopers of Death releasing masterpiece Speak English or Die. The second novelty was combining metal with rap in their groundbreaking collaboration with Public Enemy, “Bring the Noise” and “I’m the Man”.
The group’s ensuing albums retained the band’s loyal following especially due to their touring efforts – they’ve been dubbed ‘touring pros’, having had over fifty tours worldwide, in thrity-two countries, on five continents.
In 2009, Anthrax completed a run of European venues including Metallica’s Sonisphere festivals in Germany and UK. A year later they returned to the same festival where for the first time ever the Big Four – Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeath -performed together on the same stage for seven historic shows.
Ian also plays guitar in a band called Pearl who just completed two tours with Velvet Revolver and Meat Loaf. In addition, he co-founded The Damned Things in 2010 with Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy, Keith Buckley and Josh Newton from Every Time I Die and Anthrax band mate Rob Caggiano. In 2009 they released “Ironiclast”, a hard-rock album boasting influences from all three bands resulting into a fascinating medley: the melodic fetchiness of FOB, the heavy technical moments of ETID and the powerful riffing of Anthrax.
Apart from focusing on Anthrax as full time career, Ian also made time to star in a 2001 VH1 television gig hosting ‘The Rock Show” and followed up with shows like “Behing the Music” and “SuperGroup”. He’s also worked on DC comic series featuring their iconic character Lobo and has signed with Ultimate Bet to be one of their online professional poker players. Just recently, Ian and Anthrax have released their tenth studio album, titled “Worship Music” and have already started touring with a fully booked calendar for months to come.
TC Electronic caught up with Ian as he was preparing for a show, just before NAMM 2012 and got a chance to talk to him about his gear and his signature sound. We were honored to hear that our Classic Booster Distortion pedal has been part of his rough eclectic sound and his anti-gravity riffs ever since the ‘80s. “I’ve been using TC since probably around ’82, ’83. I was using that booster distortion pedal when I first got my GCM800 back in ’82. The secret to my tone was that TC box. I used it to boost the signal going into the amp - it gave it the edge and the low-end and everything I needed without it being too fuzzy. It sounded so much better. ”, Ian explained.
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