ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian says that he could stretch his spoken-word appearances out to as long as six hours based on the number of stories he’s accumulated during his 37-year career in music. Ian originally started doing spoken-word shows in 2013 in the U.K., then took his one-man act across America the following year.
In a recent interview with Heavy (hear audio below) in preparation for his September “One Man Riot” spoken-word tour in Australia, Ian was asked what people can expect from his shows and whether there’s set topics he pulls from or if he just lets it flow every night. “It’s a combination because every crowd is different,” Scott responded. “It’s really kind of easy for me to, so to speak, ‘take the temperature of the room’ within the first ten minutes of me being onstage talking. Just getting a vibe for how energetic a crowd is. Is this going to be a real lively crowd? Is this going to be more of a sitting back comfortably listening crowd? Is this going to be a real engaging crowd that wants to be part of the show? It’s kind of easy for me to figure out within the first ten minutes. That will usually kind of guide me along. If it’s a crowd that seems to be more content to just sit back and listen to me talk, that’s fine. I’ll go two and-a-half, three hours and just tell stories. Then sometimes, there’s crowds who want to participate and I’ll have a lot of back-and-forth. I do a Q&A anyway in every show, but sometimes, there’s just more engagement with crowds and that may even tell me ‘Well, maybe tonight, this story will work better than it would have last night.’ It just depends on really the audience.
“I definitely have set things and many, many stories that I can get onstage and tell,” he continued. “It’s just a case of on a nightly basis, which ones am I going to do? Also, tangents I’ll end up going on based on the crowd. Someone might yell something out in the middle of something and I’ll be, like, ‘Oh, yes!’ I got 20 minutes based on someone yelling out a name of somebody that I happen to have a story about that I was a part of at some point in my life. That makes it even more fun for me because then it’s not just me onstage talking and getting sick of me hearing my own voice night after night. It makes it way more interesting when something comes spontaneously. Even that will happen in the Q&A. Many times in the shows I’ve done, someone will say ‘You must have a great story about SLAYER‘ or whatever it may be. Most of the time I will have something to talk about based on an audience question. It just makes it even more fun for me to do that.
“Look, I’ve been in a band for 37 years,” he added. “That doesn’t necessarily mean all of the material that I ever do is only related to my career and traveling the world in a band and all the people I’ve met. But, certainly, I have enough material that I mine from these 37 years where if I really wanted to, I could probably do six hours and still keep people engaged because you can’t, literally the old cliché ‘you can’t make this stuff up.’ There really is so much ridiculous shit that I’ve been a part over my career in ANTHRAX, sharing it — the whole reason these shows came up in the first place when I first did them is because I’d hang out in bars with friends and tell stories and it’s always so much fun to do that. I had so many people over the years tell me: ‘You should get onstage and do this like Henry Rollins. You have so many great stories. You should go onstage and tell stories.’ ‘Nah, it wouldn’t work like that.’ Of course, at some point, it did and it became something I really loved to do.”
The “One Man Riot” trek will include stops in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Sep. 24 – Dunstan Playhouse – Adelaide, SA, Australia
Sep. 26 – Goldfields Theatre – Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Sep. 29 – Metro Theatre – Sydney, NSW, Australia
Oct. 01 – The Tivoli – Fortitude Valley, QLD, Australia