Keith Williams: Rock Reflections

Keith Williams Rock Reflections

Sometimes, social media can be useful. Commenting on a Michael Schenker Group gig on Facebook got me into conversation with Keith J. Williams Esq., currently resident in Brisbane, Australia. ‘You should check out my book,’ he said at one point, and so I did. It turns out that, like me, Keith was brought up in Cardiff, South Wales, and has written a book about his experiences as a rock fan. He’s a little bit older than me – not much older but enough for it to count and provide a different perspective on the same music scene. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present to you Keith Williams and his Rock Reflections.

Hi Keith! Two rock fans from Cardiff, both writing books largely inspired by music from the same era. What can you tell us about Rock Reflections? What’s the main idea of the book? And what were your motivations in writing it?
Yes, we have had a parallel existence haven’t we?  Without ever knowing it! Rock Reflections is basically a tale of a young lad growing up in Wales and getting more and more attracted to and involved in rock music; not just on a listening level, but really getting involved. It is a story of life, experiences, opinions and anecdotes.  I felt I had a story to tell. The more I spoke to people about my experiences, the more I heard them say ‘You should write a book’ – so I did!

You focus very much on gigs and the live music experience – I thought it was great getting the perspective of a fellow fan on some of the gigs, bands and tours I saw in my younger days. Why did gigs matter so much to you? And what is it, for you, that makes a gig so special?
It was also amazing for me to read about your experiences in Words And Music. Quite often at the same gigs but with a totally different perspective; both of us completely unaware that we would one day publish our stories from our own viewpoint. Our books must provide a great insight to fans of rock music who may not have been there at the time. Same gigs, time and places but seen through different eyes.

For me, a gig is special because you are seeing the people who produced the music we love. We are seeing them in the flesh and also seeing how they perform those songs live; not just in an audible sense but also a visual sense. And we are seeing how the crowd responds.  The ingredients of all these things create a unique atmosphere: unpredictable, uncontrolled and therefore exciting. It’s a moment in time and you are there.

If you had to pick a gig or two – oh, alright, I’ll give you three – that meant the most or had the biggest impact on you, which would they be?
That’s a difficult one. Very hard to choose as a lifetime of great gigs provides myriad reasons to put them on a pedestal but I will try. Just 3?  Okay, here goes.

Blizzard Of Ozz, 9Oct 1980, Sophia Gardens Pavilion, Cardiff, Wales. The album provided an insight to a ‘new’ guitar sound and style that we had never heard before, but Randy Rhoads live took everything to the next level. The most exciting live guitarist I have ever seen.

Van Halen, 18Aug 1984, Castle Donington Monsters Of Rock, England. After a few false starts, like O-level exams getting in the way, a cancelled tour etc., I finally saw Van Halen with Diamond David Lee Roth and they didn’t disappoint. They brought the party, we were all invited and we left nothing in the bottom of the barrel. Perfect.

The Struts, 31 January 2019, the Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, Australia. I flew interstate on my own for this one. I loved their first two albums but live they went into another dimension. It was incredible. Their first ever headline gig in Australia announced merely days before; they were kings.

Oh…and any gig when Diamond Head are on stage!

You write very warmly about Smiley’s rock club – a bit too early for me, Bogey’s (or Bogiez) was the place to be seen by the time I was out clubbing. How important were clubs like that to the nurturing of the local scene?
I’m not sure that Smileys did anything to nurture the local scene in terms of bands. They only had a short-lived live music programme which was on Thursdays. I was never aware of any gigs on a Friday or Saturday. What Smileys did offer was a place for us to go where we were in our world. That’s how it felt. Our dress code, our music, our environment and most importantly, our people. It was very much a community. Same faces every week. In that way they did support the local rock scene.

Bogeys/Bogiez were much more into live bands, sometimes local and sometimes touring bands. Unfortunately, for me, some of them weren’t very good – I saw the bands as an interruption to the great music the DJ was playing, so I reluctantly went downstairs to the pool area. What Bogeys/Bogiez did offer was a place to go when Smileys was demolished, but the clientele were different. Only a few of us made the transition.

Record shops were also a significant part of the scene back in the day, and we both, I know, have a lot of affection for Spillers Records. Do you think there’s still a role for knowledgeable, independent record shops these days?
I believe there is a place but unfortunately, good business sense says otherwise. There just isn’t an economic case or demand for it with online shopping. But then you lose the personal touch, the meeting place and the listening opportunity. Sure, there can be niche outlets but not every city has enough rock and rollers to support independent record stores as they were.

You are rather harsh on some of the more ‘local’ bands around in the 1980s, for example Budgie and Persian Risk. I loved Risk back in the day, and I have an enduring respect for Budgie, the masters of the alternative song title! How come they didn’t quite do it for you? Were there any local bands you rated?
I wasn’t really into the local bands. I would travel halfway across the country to see club level bands (Shy, Diamond Head and an early Guns N’ Roses) but none of them were from South Wales. I do love the Lone Star albums, who were local boys, [Lone Star included UFO guitarist Paul Chapman, drummer Dixie Lee and vocalists Kenny Driscoll and John Sloman in their ranks – Ed] but I was too late for them and never saw them live. So their first two albums have had to suffice.

One of the most interesting parts of your book is your speculation regarding the influence of Bon Scott on AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ album. Without giving too much away, can you tell us why that particular topic captured your attention?
I think it was because I lived through it and saw it unfold. AC/DC were one of my favourite bands, particularly due to Bon. So, as interviews began to emerge about Back In Black, combined with the lyrics and other things, my ears and my gander began to pick up. The true story was in there somewhere – you just had to look for it. I hope I have relayed it well in Rock Reflections.

Randy Rhoads portrait

You also clearly have a massive respect for Randy Rhoads – why, do you think, his playing had such an impact on you?
Initially it was the guitar sound on the first Blizzard Of Ozz album. The tone and aggression was exactly what my ears wanted to hear, If I played guitar, that was exactly how I wanted it to sound. I had no idea who Randy Rhoads was, but I liked him instantly. No other guitar player I had heard before sounded like him – searing riffs, dramatic solos and even the riffs behind the solos were compositions. Seeing him live elevated that x10 as his performances were so exciting. Meeting him was such a revelation; so unexpected was the contrast between the man and his incredible stage presence.

One gets the sense from your book that you’re not very impressed with the history of rock music since the Grunge period? Have you continued to follow the older bands? And are there any younger bands around you particularly rate?
I still follow the ‘old’ bands that are still doing it. My last international act I saw before Covid was a stunning double bill of Whitesnake and Scorpions. I had to fly down to Sydney for that one and it was great. No pretence, just 2 bands doing what made them famous and doing it bloody well. In terms of new bands, I only seem to like new bands who sound like the old bands. I recently saw a Sydney band called Wicked Things. At the start of the gig I proclaimed: ‘It’s as if the last 40 years never happened’. By the end of the gig I was wearing their t-shirt and professing my love for them. Also, The Struts have quickly become one of my all-time favourite bands. I believe they were on the verge of becoming huge just as Covid broke out.  I hope they keep the momentum going when they get back out on the road. They are the real deal. Nobody else is really doing it for me.

I’ve got to say that I enjoyed some of the more autobiographical sections of your book – it’s always good to see the connections and continuities between rock music and the rest of people’s lives. Was it difficult deciding how much autobiographical material to leave in?
It was difficult knowing what to include and what to exclude. As Rock Reflections isn’t a commercial venture, and nor do I have a publisher to answer to, I had to make the call on what to include. It was difficult to establish who my potential audience was. Anyone who knew me was going to have an interest because they knew me but anyone reading the book who doesn’t know me may only want to know the rock stuff as that would be common ground. Some of the departures were milestones in my life that I felt needed to be included but they also helped to explain gaps in the rock and roll gig-going timeline. I don’t know if I got it right or not but what I do know is that it was my choice which therefore makes it more authentic and I like that.

As an adult you relocated to Australia. How difficult has it been to pursue your early interest in rock music from the other side of the world?
When I emigrated in 1995, my type of music was well and truly in the doldrums worldwide. At first I didn’t really miss out on too much. Strangely enough, with the demise of hard copy sales and royalties, bands had to tour more and Australia is very much on everyone’s tour schedule. Not only is it home away from home with regards to language and sense of humour – it’s a beautiful, safe place so bands tend to overstay after their tours for holidays. Double header tours here are common. Mr. Big toured with Extreme, Scorpions have toured with Whitesnake and Def Leppard, Billy Idol toured with Cheap Trick, Buckcherry and Steel Panther….the list goes on. I often fly interstate and have occasionally flown back to the UK – I couldn’t miss Ritchie Blackmore reforming Rainbow to rock one last time could I?

Are there any good Aussie bands the rest of the world should know about?
The aforementioned Wicked Things are worth a look. I’m afraid I’m not one to pursue local talent, although I’m sure it is here.

And finally, tell us about a band or artist that have stayed with you over time, and an album, song or lyric that means a lot to you.
One lyric that has stuck with me since the day I heard it is from Rainbow’s 1979 album Down To Earth. The song is ‘Eyes Of The World’.

‘No chain of events can shackle him down’.

It’s a great lyric and I would like to think of it as my personal motto. It’s not a bad one to have and has served me well. I’ve done alright!

Cheers Keith!

‘Rock Reflections’ by Keith Williams is available now!

For further information, and to order your copy, please go to:

http://wewantmore.com.au/buy.htm

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rockreflectionsbook

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Trinity Live 2014

 Trinity Live 2014 flyer

 

So, what started as a planned short tour with The Reasoning, Touchstone and Magenta turned into a special charity gig at Leamington Spa Assembly Rooms on 18 May 2014 with a greatly expanded and quite mouth-watering line-up.  It promised to be a great day – and with an auction, a raffle, assorted donations from the great and the good, a VIP lounge and a guest appearance by artist Rodney Matthews mooted, I was sure it wouldn’t disappoint!  And so it was that I took my good self off to the inaugural Trinity event for a birthday weekend treat with Messrs Woodley and Brew.  Here is my review.

Trinity Live - Leamington Spa Assembly Rooms

Kicking off proceedings is former Pallas man, Alan Reed,  who, aided and abetted by prog whore Mark Spencer (sorry Mark, couldn’t resist), produces a set of engaging, accessible and thought-provoking tunes. Apparently he’s a BBC journalist now! The set consists primarily of solo material with Pallas’s ‘Sanctuary’ (a song about Auschwitz) thrown in for good measure. The highlight, though, is a superb version of Twelfth Night’s ‘Love Song’, for which Reed and Spencer are joined by Kim Seviour of Touchstone.  It hits all the right buttons for the occasion. They keep things relatively simple and uncluttered, giving the voices and words room to breathe. Sadly the world still needs the light cast by the words and music of the late Geoff Mann. Moving stuff.  Post-performance, I pick up a copy of Reed’s First in a Field of One for good measure.

Trinity Live - Reed Seviour Spencer Love Song

Reed, Seviour, Spencer – ‘Love Song’

Matt Stevens is fast developing a reputation, not only as a gifted and original guitarist, but also as possibly the nicest man in prog. That means that he plays his ‘one man and his guitar’ (oh, and a loop pedal) set to a receptive and supportive audience that responds well to his unique brand of energetic and inventive music. Those who’ve not done so should check out Lucid, his recent solo album, and Spooky Action by The Fierce and the Dead.

Matt Stevens - Photo by Tim Laurie

Lucid moments – Matt Stevens entertains. (Photo by Tim Laurie)

Motorway traffic has delayed the unfortunate Heather Findlay, so an impromptu change to the running order sees an earlier than expected performance from Magenta.  The presence of vocalist Christina Booth delights everybody in the audience – it was, after all, her cancer treatment that inspired the Trinity event in the first place. She looks and sounds fantastic. It’s an impressive set with the band rocking surprisingly hard and material from latest offering, The Twenty Seven Club, standing out.  The highlight of the set, however, is again a cover, with Alan Reed joining the band for a very emotional version of ‘Don’t Give Up’, the Peter Gabriel/Kate Bush duet. (There’s a version knocking about on You Tube and Facebook, if you want to seek it out – check out the audience response!)

Trinity Magenta - photo by Ali Brew

Christina Booth and Magenta – photo by Ali Brew

When Heather Findlay does finally hit the stage she’s resplendent in a flowing white, sparkly dress, a veritable prog princess, whose powerful and striking voice delivers a shorter than planned six track set to a rapt and attentive audience. Joined by guitarist Chris Johnson, particularly impressive are the gentle and folky ‘Yellow Time’, and the classic (Mostly Autumn track) ‘Evergreen’. It really is a flying visit though, with Heather only able to stick around for half an hour or so before she’s off again. Bloody motorway traffic, eh?!

Trinity Live - Heather Findlay and Chris Johnson - photo by Ali Brew

Heather Findlay and Chris Johnson – photo by Ali Brew

Lost in Vegas are the band of Assembly Rooms owner and Trinity organiser Chris Lynch. They sound like my kind of thing – full-on hard rock. However, the unavailability of food in the venue (which doesn’t have a licence to serve food, apparently) means we’ve got to go out to eat sometime – and just a track or two in I leave with the others to feed my aching hunger.

Speaking of which, we make sure we’re back in time to catch the eagerly awaited return of The Reasoning, now a  six-piece with Robert Gerrard replacing Tony Turrell and giving the instrumental passages a new Purple-esque feel (that complements the guitar work of Keith Hawkins) and a new vocalist/acoustic guitarist in the form of Sebastien Flynn-Goze. It’s a storming set. Opener ‘Dark Angel’ sets the tone, followed by ‘The Thirteenth Hour’ . ‘Fallen Angel’ features a great vocal performance from Rachel Cohen, and two killer solos from Keith – such an important part of The Reasoning’s sound these days. ‘Awakening’ features a Bach-influenced organ intro from Robert, with the epic ‘Adventures in Neverland’, ‘A Musing Dream’ and, yes, crowd favourite ‘Aching Hunger’ drawing the well-chosen, career spanning set to a rousing conclusion. The band is currently working on a new album – and the vibe and performance auger well.

Trinity Live - The Reasoning

The Reasoning – the new look line-up rocks Trinity Live!

Touchstone are a band I usually want to like more than, in practice, I do. They have some very good moments, for sure, but despite the odd exceptional track, they’ve never quite done it for me. Until tonight that is! From the first note to the last, this is Touchstone with a BIG sound – more exuberant and confident than I’ve seen them before. Indeed, this is the first time I’ve seen them looking so ‘at home’ and using the full width of the stage to maximum effect. For me this is the performance of the day. I suspect they draw the biggest and most enthusiastic audience of the day too. Here is a band seemingly growing in stature before our very eyes, and it’s great to see. Though ‘Strange Days’ remains my personal favourite, it has to be said that with John Mitchell’s help they deliver a stunning cover of ‘Mad World’. You could be forgiven for thinking that they wrote it themselves!

Trinity Live - Touchstone

Touchstone and John Mitchell – powerful and persuasive!

That’s not to say that headliners Arena are in any way off the pace. They deliver a solid, enjoyable and highly-competent set with moments of genuine excitement. With Clive Nolan (and his rotating keyboard), John Mitchell and Mick Pointer in the ranks, it’s quite a line-up, and on this occasion Kylan Amos picks up bass duties in the absence of John Jowitt. Vocalist Paul Manzi is one of the most flamboyant front men I’ve seen in a while – nineteenth century dandy meets 1980s’  hair metal rock star! But there’s no doubt he has a good, strong rock voice, and visually he demands attention. Those untroubled by last trains and Monday morning work demands remain appreciative throughout and are well rewarded with a full-blooded and gutsy set. It’s a strong band performance and an entertaining end to a wonderful day.

Trinity - Arena Paul Manzi and John Mitchell

Headliners Arena – Paul Manzi and John Mitchell

A word too about the charity auction and raffle. An extraordinary number of bands donated all sorts of weird and wonderful paraphernalia – including Rush, Yes, Peter Gabriel, Steven Wilson, Marillion, The Pineapple Thief, Roger Glover, the Summer’s End Festival, The Reasoning, Steve Hackett, Touchstone, Flying Colors and Gordon Giltrap, to name a few! Artist Rodney Matthews even turned up to auction some of his own prints, including the ‘Heavy Metal Hero’, one of his favourite pieces. The biggest money was splashed on the Rush, Flying Colors and Steven Wilson items in particular, with my friend Ali delighted to secure The Pineapple Thief bundle!

 

Trinity - Rush Auction

 

The event apparently raised £12,000, which after operating costs enabled the Trinity Team to provide Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Cancer Research UK, and Brain Tumour Research with donations to the tune of £3,000 apiece.

There are plans to do it all again on 9 May next year, with work on assembling a killer line-up already underway. Make sure it’s in your diary!

 

Trinity 2 banner

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HRH Prog/AOR 2104

HRH Prog Panic Room - Gavin Griffiths and Anne Marie Helder

Spring 2014 turned out to be real Progfest, with both the Trinity Live charity event and HRH Prog coming along in quick succession.

The latter featured a stunning line-up that included the likes of The Flower Kings, Focus, The Enid, Purson, Panic Room, Fish and The Pineapple Thief (to name a few). With a number of ‘must-see’ acts over the AOR stage too – Tigertailz, Graham Bonnet and headliners UFO – it turned out to be a blissful 3 days of fabulous music and great company in the beautiful setting of North West Wales.

If you’d like to know what happened, check out my full review on the Uber Rock website.

Prog ‘n’ roll!

Prog Crew

HRH Prog Crew – all present but largely incorrect! Photo by Fiona Boubert

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Robbie Cavanagh: ‘The State of Maine’ Album Launch

 Robbie Cavanagh album launch

I’ve made no secret of my admiration for Robbie Cavanagh’s solo debut The State of Maine. (Check out my Über Röck review, for example.)

The announcement, therefore, of a series of three album launch gigs in Manchester, Liverpool and London sounded positively mouth-watering. Irresistible, in fact. And so it was that Jess and I rushed through Friday afternoon as quickly as we could, trading Welsh hills and Roman Baths for a small Baptist Church in Hampstead, London.

We only missed one turning. It just happened to be Junction 2 of the M4, and it set us back an hour. To our surprise and delight, however, we still manage to arrive before the gig starts – and boy was that lucky, with both support acts, Your Correspondent and Lovelace, turning in ‘not to be missed’ sets.

Your Correspondent, featuring Andrew D. Smith (vocals, guitar) and Edwin Ireland (cello), play without the violinist, drummer and backing vocalist who feature on their 4-track E.P. – not that you’d guess anything is missing from the assured performance and quality of the songs. Of particular note are ‘Watching the Storm’, ‘Spinning Globe’ and ‘The Violin Trees’. (The latter, about a man whose job it is to select the trees from which violins will be made, is given an added twist by the story of the band’s regular violinist owning an instrument made in 1751.)

Second act, singer-songwriter Lovelace, proves as quirky and engaging as the music she plays.  She seems to spend a lot of time in the USA – and regales us with tales of a songwriting trip to San Francisco that yielded just one track, and the Nevada festival that inspired the song ‘Burning Man’.  For the first time ever, it seems, Lovelace is joined on stage by three young vocalists – Ruth Corey, Hannah Murphy and Sian O’Gorman – who do a fine job replacing her loop station! It’s a veritable feast of melody, harmony and vocal gymnastics – hugely enjoyable stuff!

Robbie Cavanagh and Will RogersBut as good as the support acts are, within moments of him taking to the stage, all eyes and ears are on Robbie Cavanagh. He opens with ‘Deeper’, the first track of his album. It’s mesmerising – with the restrained drumming of brother Jamie and hummed backing of Messrs Brewin, Tosh and Rogers enhancing Cavanagh’s bleeding heart vocal and emotive guitar.

For this series of gigs Robbie has assembled nearly all the musicians who play on the album, namely Rick Brewin (percussion, bass, backing vocals), Rachel Shakespeare (cello), Melody Nairn (vocals), Jamie Cavanagh (drums), Will Rogers (guitar) and Drew Tosh (backing vocals). Keyboards this evening are provided by Liviu Gheorghe.

There is a warmth evident between the musicians, and, indeed, the contribution of the band to Robbie’s performance should not be underestimated. Rachel Shakespeare’s cello, for example, adds appropriate pathos, as on the enormously impressive ‘Heavy Heart’. Melody Nairn’s dreamy voice works particularly well on ‘1991’ (a personal favourite), the male/female vocal dynamic emphasising the significance and impact of the lyric. Group claps add percussive force to the flamenco-styled ‘Worn’ and contrast nicely with Robbie’s quieter guitar moments. The full band version of ‘Boy From The Fair’ is a treat. And ‘Choked Up’ is given an energy boost that has it sounding even more ‘countrified’ than on the album, the upbeat music clashing delightfully with the (relatively) dark lyrics.

The fact of the matter is that The State of Maine features some achingly beautiful and often delicate music. One of its strong points is its ‘realness’; the sense of ‘person’ you get from the songs. Seeing that same person perform the songs live reinforces this.

Cavanagh has presence but is unassuming. There is strength and emotion in the songs – he seems to feel every note and every lyric – but between songs his manner is gentle. He is charming but also modest.  “Thank you for clapping,” he says at one point, “it makes it better for us.”

He seems genuinely grateful for, and even surprised by, the enthusiastic response of his audience. His explanation for having chosen to play in a church is that: “You have to face the right way, and the doors are locked.” He is gracious towards the support acts with whom, he says, he has “fallen in love a little bit”.

This was an intentionally small and intimate gig attended by, perhaps, 50 people. (Apparently, he had half the cast of Channel 4’s Hollyoaks at the Liverpool gig.) Hopefully more gigs will follow. Check out the album, and if you do get a chance to see the man live, make sure you take it! As I said in my album review, here’s a musician, and a soul, on fire!

Robbie Cavanagh launch gig - stage shot

The State of Maine is available now on iTunes.

Physical copies are available from Big Cartel.

Check out Robbie Cavanagh’s Words and Music interview.

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Scott Ian: Speaking Words

Scott Ian - promo shotThe Gate, Roath, Cardiff, 25 May 2013

I’ve long thought that there’s a rich but seldom tapped seam of fan and musician experience linked to the music we love. It’s the motivation, indeed, for Words and Music, and it appears that Scott Ian has had a similar thought, or, at least, one very much like it.

Scott has embarked on his Speaking Words tour with the conviction that his stories, memories and reflections will strike a chord and be of interest “to a certain audience”. He is right, and for over two hours, one man, his microphone, and a well-chosen set of photos and comic strip overheads, keep an enthralled audience both entertained and on the edge of their seats.

The Gate - Scott Ian

Shot posted by Scott a couple of hours before gig time

The venue is perfect – a converted church, with most of the 120 or so present primed on Worship Music. We all know it’s a privilege to see and hear such a big name at such close quarters and in such intimate surroundings. And with the pre-gig playlist – touchingly triggered by Scott himself from his on-stage computer – including the likes of Judas Priest (‘The Hellion’/’Electric Eye’), Iron Maiden, Motorhead (‘Love Me Like a Reptile’), Thin Lizzy (‘Don’t Believe a Word’), Dio (‘Stand Up and Shout’) and Rainbow (‘Kill The King’), we just know it’s going to be a good night. So let us play …

The gig proper kicks off with a reading that appears to be about drug addiction. The well-chosen passage tightens the mood before a killer punchline releases the tension and sets the tone for the evening. Thereafter, we are treated to a well-constructed and quick-witted performance from a man who clearly has a lot to say and a lot to offer.

This may only be Scott’s fifth Speaking Words show, and he may “get more nervous at these shows than a Big Four or a stadium gig”, but he comes across as fluent, intelligent, confident and professional. He even takes it in his stride when, early in the show, a man collapses in the second row (the gentleman concerned received treatment and was thankfully ok). He may not be “a stand-up comedian” but he is also very, very funny.

Scott Ian tour promoThe stories come thick and fast: his upbringing in a Jewish family in New York; his experience of, and attitude towards, drugs; his first meeting with Lemmy (the moral of the story: “Don’t try to keep up with Lemmy!”); his meeting with a sinister-looking German doctor; his second meeting, and subsequent friendship, with Lemmy (“Why on earth would you try to keep up with me?!”); his memories of departed friends – Dimebag Darrell, Jeff Hanneman, Ronnie James Dio and Cliff Burton; his inopportune seizures; and how difficult he finds it leaving his two year old son to go on tour.

Some of the topics and reflections emerge from an open Q&A session, in which Scott honestly answers questions on everything thrown at him  – no sacred ground, not even in a church. He makes sure that everyone who wants to ask a question gets to ask one, and he even holds a free prize draw in which everyone gets a chance to win a tour merch bundle and a signed Jackson guitar.

I learnt some stuff too. Did you know that the Wales and British Lions rugby captain Sam Warburton named his book, Refuse To Be Denied: My Grand Slam Year, after the Anthrax track on the We’ve Come For You All album?

Scott ends the show with a list of things you are well advised NOT to say or do when you meet a rock star – a kind of top 10 compilation of things people say to him or shout at him as he goes about his business. You’ll laugh and maybe even cringe a bit as he runs through his list. You know the kind of thing:
Fan: “Hey, I know you, you’re the guy in that band.”
Scott: “Anthrax?”
Fan: “No, that’s not it.”

Throughout he is a warm and engaging host, and I came away feeling that I’d really seen something of the man behind the music, both in humorous and serious moments. “Music should be what you feel and what’s in your heart,” he says, to enthusiastic applause from all around the room. We sense there is something in this passionate statement that we share.

Scott reflects on Jeff Hanneman’s passing too, even though it is clearly (and unsurprisingly) still very raw.  It is the first time, says Scott, that he has really been moved to think about his own mortality. He has always taken the view that you should: “Play every show as though you’re going to jail the next day”, but Hanneman’s passing seems to have given his perspective a wider and more emotional significance.

As for the funny moments, well, Scott’s story about making Slayer smile onstage is hilarious, and I’ll never, ever be able to look at pictures of Sebastian Bach again (not that I make a habit of doing that) without giggling.

But hey, I don’t want to give out too many spoilers. If you wanna hear Scott’s stories, you’ve gotta see the show. And really, you’ve got to see this show.

In these days of carefully-packaged, superficial talent show bullshit, the words spoken by Scott Ian were very refreshing. Catch this tour if you can – you will not regret it.

Scott Ian

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