The founder of Anthrax, Scott Ian, recently talked about how Metallica helped them become a very successful thrash metal band when they were performing to a thousand people.
Although Anthrax is known as one of the ‘big four’ bands that helped shape the thrash metal genre along with Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer, Metallica’s fame increased before them. It is a mistake to underestimate their influence on the genre but, they were only performing to a maximum audience of one thousand people before they started to open for Metallica.
In his recent interview with ‘No Fucking Regrets,’ Scott Ian talked about the times when they were still not famous and popular. Monsters of Rock in 1987 was their first festival, and the lineup was legendary, but in his opinion, the crowd had primarily come to see Metallica and Anthrax.
Here is how he started to talk about the festival:
“Shit just blew up from across the board for every band involved, and as the year we played Donington for the first time that summer and the lineup were Cinderella Wasp, Anthrax, Metallica, Duo, Bon Jovi. That was going to be our first ever festival, we couldn’t obviously be more excited to be playing Donington.
We had the fucking show of our lives. So did Metallica, Ronnie did well that day too, and it kind of poured on Bon Jovi. I gotta give it up for the crowd they stayed. Me being the ‘kill posers’ kid I was at the time, it was very much all about us and Metallica that day, I’m on my mind anyway.”
After Metallica’s influence, Anthrax went on a European tour in 1987. That was the first time the band performed for such a big crowd that was there just for them. Ian also addressed how other iconic bands gained success in this way too. In his opinion, a band has to start with smaller venues, and their audience should grow over time.
Here is what he stated about getting big for the first time:
“And then we came back that fall of 87. Headline, UK European tour with Testament opening for us, sold out. All the places we had been supporting Metallica in the year before. It was everything we had hoped for, and the way shit is in your mind. Well, this is how it works. You start here, then you get in the theatres, then you go from theatres to arenas. That’s what Maiden did, that’s what Priest did, that’s what all our heroes did. That’s what Metallica was doing.
So it only made sense that we were doing it too, it just seemed like the logical next step, and it was actually happening that was the amazing thing, it was like, ‘Holy fuck.’ I remember standing on stage at the Aragon, it was Celtic Frost and Exodus. It was the December of 87, we did like a three-week run before Christmas, and we had the two of them opening for us. I remember standing on the side of the stage watching Celtic Frost, and I look at Charlie, we’re standing there, watching, and there’s a fucking sea of people at the Argonne. I looked at them, and I said, ‘Where the fuck did all these people come from?'”
The guitarist and Anthrax owed their success to Metallica’s then contribution. Anthrax became an alternative and new version of Metallica as people would turn to it when they wanted to listen to something new rather than Metallica.
He talked about Metallica’s contribution to Anthrax by stating:
“Five months ago, we did a thousand people at the metro. People just found out. I know Metallica of course had so much to do with it because they had heard, they had already done that Aussie run. They were playing big venues, and there is that trickle-down factor. If a kid goes in the store, what else sounds like Metallica? What else in the racks among the living rain and blood? Peace sells. It’s really had so much to do with them opening that door in an underground yet way more mainstream than we had ever had before because they were certainly leading that charge.”
You can watch the entire interview below.