Scott Ian, the guitarist and additional lead vocalist of Anthrax, has reminisced about the forming years of the legendary heavy metal band, Metallica, and described the image of James Hetfield back then, when Dave Mustaine was fired from the band.
During the latest interview he gave on No Fuckin’ Regrets With Robb Flynn podcast, Scott Ian has opened up about the early years of Metallica, before the period they released their first studio album, ‘Kill ‘Em All.’
Being present at the band’s rehearsal studios in Jamaica, Queens, and New York in April 1983, Ian unveiled the fact that Dave Mustaine was the actual frontman of Metallica with his attitude, personality, and everything.
Yet, Ian also mentioned that Mustaine was having some serious drinking problems and he easily became a not-fun guy, threatening the peace among the band members, when he was drunk.
Scott Ian admitted he was shocked when he first heard that Dave Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica since he was the one who seemed irreplaceable with his leader image. He said, in those years, James Hetfield wasn’t the James we now know yet. He was kind of like a shy, quiet dude, whereas Mustaine was the mouthpiece, Ian said.
As you may know, on one occasion, Mustaine brought his dog to the rehearsal of Metallica in the forming years. The dog jumped onto the car of the bassist Ron McGovney and scratched the paint.
Hetfield allegedly yelled at Mustaine’s dog and kicked it in a fit of rage, which provoked Mustaine into physically attacking Hetfield and McGovney and verbally abusing Ulrich. Mustaine was fired following the altercation, but the next day, he asked to be allowed back in the band and was granted his request.
Another incident occurred when Mustaine, who had been drinking, poured a can of beer down the neck and into the pick-ups of McGovney’s bass, resulting in collateral damage. McGovney then told Mustaine and Hetfield to leave his house and left the band shortly after.
On April 11, 1983, after Metallica had driven to New York to record their debut album, Mustaine was officially fired from the band because of his alcoholism, drug abuse, overly aggressive behavior, and personality clashes with founding members Hetfield and Ulrich.
Here’s what Scott Ian said about Dave Mustaine and James Hetfield in the early years of the band:
“James wasn’t James yet. When I first met James, he would drink and he would change, but James, he was kind of like a shy, quiet dude.
Dave was the mouthpiece. Dave was the guy. He was the frontman, a hundred percent… He was the attitude; he was the personality, it was everything.
And I was kind of, like, ‘You think this is the right idea?’ And [they said], ‘We had to. We couldn’t deal with it anymore. He was getting us into trouble.’
Everyone knows the stories, but they just didn’t wanna have to deal with that. It was hard enough living on the floor of a freezing-cold building, I guess, and dealing with your own issues [and then] have to worry about someone else’s…”
“I mean, I get it. I understand. It’s what had to happen in that moment. I’ve been there myself, making personnel changes in my band. I understand it.
Sometimes it’s the most impossible, worst thing in the world to have to do, but in order to take that next step forward, you have to.”
You can check out the rest of the conversation below.