Anthrax's Scott Ian on Seaford, Merrick, and what he misses about living on Long Island
As a co-founder of the band Anthrax, Scott Ian is not only to credit for helping to invent thrash metal, but also for combining heavy guitars with hip-hop beats. Anthrax has remained active in recent years, arguably selling more tickets and t-shirts than it ever has; its latest album was 2016's For All Kings for Megaforce Records. Ian has also kept busy over the years as a guitarist in other bands (e.g. The Damned Things, S.O.D., Pearl), a spoken word artist who performs one man shows, a television host, and a writer of books.
Ian's latest book is Access All Areas, as written for Da Capo Press. When talking with Ian by phone, I also threw in a few questions about his Long Island roots. More on Scott Ian can be found online at www.scott-ian.com.
A big part of your first book with Long Island. You mentioned growing up in Seaford for a couple years, I heard a rumor that you also lived in Merrick. Is that true?
Scott Ian: My dad lived in Merrick for years, but we lived in Seaford earlier. My parents were still together when we lived in Seaford, that was like ’73, ’74 into ’75, then my mom and brother and I moved back to Queens. When my parents split up, my dad moved to Merrick not long after that. He sold the house in Seaford when they got divorced, I think, and then he bought a house in Merrick. Somewhere around there, 76ish probably, and then we were just out there a lot, my brother and I. I did actually live with him there for a period of time, my freshman year in college. I had gotten thrown out of the house and I went and lived with my dad for about eight months, nine months, something like that.
You always put yourself out there as a Queens person, but do you look back on Long Island with any fondness?
Scott Ian: Yeah, it's all the same to me, you know? Back then it was different than it is now. Back then it was kind of like you had Queens and Brooklyn and you had Long Island and then you had Manhattan, and Manhattan was different. Manhattan was Manhattan, that was a big thing when we were kids, like it was a big deal. We would go to the city, we didn’t consider living in Queens “the city.” When I was on Long Island certainly we weren’t in the city, so it was all the same to me, Long Island, Queens.
I didn't really see a difference between the two as a kid growing up other than, yeah, we lived in a small apartment with my mom. Then you know sometimes on weekends we'd be out at my dad's at his house, so it was nicer. But as far as just vibe and attitude, it was all the same to me. Manhattan was different, that was the goal, to get out of Long Island, get out of Queens and get into the city. I always felt like if we were going to do anything, if anyone was ever going to take me or the band seriously, you’ve gotta go to Manhattan.
Little did we know that it would really be Brooklyn, because of that club L’Amour. That heavy metal club back then in the 80s, that was really our training ground. But yeah, I always liked Long Island, you know? I have very fond memories of a kid in Merrick and going to being a kid and going to Jones Beach and, yeah, it was awesome.
What inspired you to move out west to L.A.? Was it entirely for the band?
Scott Ian: No, that had nothing to do with the band. It was me realizing that I had an opportunity to no longer deal with winter. I could have it on my own terms and being in a climate that rarely changed. Then if I wanted to go ride my snowboard I could drive and go to the mountains and ride my snowboard and then come home and it will be 75 degrees.