It’s a pretty rare occurrence when the guitar player is the focal point of a band. Yes, Jimmy Paige, Eddie Van Halen and a slew of other gifted six stringers have all received God-like adulation from their fans, but Anthrax is one of those rare instances when you can name check their guitarist, Scott Ian, before the long pause comes as you search around for the name of the singer. Despite, or more likely, because of a revolving door of front men over the band’s three-plus decades existence, from the very beginning, Ian’s impressive chin beard and thick as cream cheese Queens, NY accent, have always been front and center serving as the voice of the band; whether he was talking about the evolution of Thrash metal or riffing on the in-and-outs of 1980s pop culture as a regular guest on VH1’s I Love the … series.
So it’s rather appropriate that Ian’s the guy in the band that got the book deal. And yes, the book is just as good as you’d expect a book by Scott Ian would be. Often self-deprecating – starting as quickly as the book’s subtitle –funny and more than a little revealing, I’m the Man is one of the few books about metal that even those unimpressed by the genre can appreciate. From his childhood growing up in Queens, a kid of divorce, Ian gives an often hilarious, often sad look at his relationship with his parents. But the most interesting stories come from Anthrax’s early years, struggling alongside fellow emerging thrash band Metallica. While not deliberately burning bridges, Ian honestly recounts inner band turmoil, shouldering his share of the blame. He is also unflinching in his descriptions of the early interactions with his soon-to-be father-in-law, Meatloaf. The two are in a much better place now… at least until he reads the book.
I’m the Man manages to be one of those unique rock autobiographies that end up being about much more than rock and being in a band.
I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax by Scott Ian/392/Da Capo Press/2014