Ian: 80s weren’t easy either
Anthrax guitarist looks back on struggle for success in different industry era
Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian accepts that bands trying to find success in the modern world face an uphill struggle – but says it wasn’t necessarily easier back in his day.
He and his contemporaries faced their own battles to find their way to the big time in the 1980s, even though those battles were different to the ones faced today.
Ian tells Musician’s Friend: “I can’t say it was great in the 80s. It’s the music business – it’s never been populated by like-minded individuals, meaning the people running the business aren’t your bros in the bands.”
He argues that one positive was the way artists were funded. “The philosophy was, you developed the band over a course of four or five records, and then hopefully you’d have a gold record.
“None of these bands made it on their first album, or even mostly their second. It was on their third or fourth that most bands started their careers – then people would go back and buy the earlier stuff.
“It was few and far between that bands blew up on their first record, and never looked back.”
The main change, says Ian, is that the “record men, who actually understood music” from the 1980s have all been replaced.
“These legendary guys were put out to pasture and the accountants took over,” says the guitarist. “Then it became, ‘Well, you get one record.’
“Then, from one record, you get one single – which didn’t really affect bands like us because we’re not radio anyway. We never had to worry about that.”
Anthrax were formed in 1981 and released debut album Fistful Of Metal three years later, followed by Spreading The Disease in 1985, before landmark third title Among The Living secured their legacy in 1987.
Ian reflects: “These days I don’t even know how it works. I don’t think major labels are signing rock bands anyway.”
Anthrax are currently at work on the follow-up to 2011 album Worship Music, expected during the summer.