You can say anything really about Anthrax and its founding member, Scott Ian, but one thing is certain: this guy was stubborn enough to fight against all odds and persist in an overall hostile and puritanical environment where thrash could or should not be mixed with other styles of music. Thank God that Ian and Anthrax thought otherwise thus giving us some of the greatest thrash/crossover tunes of all time. But don’t think –not even for a moment- that the road was easy for Anthrax, especially after the artistic and commercial success of “Persistence of Time” in the wake of the 90s. The band showed the exit door to Joey Belladonna, in came John Bush, only to find his way out after Bellladonna’s return and then again come back for another short stint with Anthrax before Dan Nelson (whose name is nowhere to be found in Scott Ian’s biography) occupy the spot and then Belladonna makes another triumphant return (hopefully for the very last time). Confused or what…? Add to all these, Dan Spitz’s and Rob Caggiano’s departure and the release of some remarkable yet unheralded records in the cruel 90s and you get a pretty good picture of what the story of Anthrax was all about after 1990.
Naturally, things were far from optimistic in the early 80s but that goes within the territory of any new band in the world. Nevertheless, Ian persisted and sometimes went through hell that included a turbulent relationship with Turbin (Anthrax’ first singer) and various personal issues with his family and his traumatic relationship with his parents (especially with his mother). All in all, “I’m The Man” captures perfectly the essence of the early 80s and the early thrash scene in the East Coast with Ian sharing some wonderfully-written stories about Metallica and how he almost ended up playing guitar with them when Hetfield broke his hand during the “Master of Puppets” tour, how he got into a steaming argument with Eddie Kramer about the direction of the brilliant “Among The Living”, how grateful he is to Iron Maiden when the British band was more than welcoming to Anthrax in 1988 and paid a respectable sum of money when the New Yorkers were in the red while on tour and many more incidents (one of which include River Phoenix’ death outside Johnny Depp’s Viper Room).
All in all, this is a well-crafted autobiography that I am sure that the potential reader will go through all of it in a matter of a handful of days. Da Capo Press has done an outstanding job in inserting various rare photos from Scott Ian’s personal archive while it also added an Ian-penned comic with Lemmy being the protagonist of it. From the rocky road in the early 80s and the cockroach-infested Music Building up to the triumphant performance at the legendary Yankee Stadium with the Big 4, Scott Ian proved all the way that he is the man and we are more than happy to read all about his story! Got the time?