Anthrax’s Scott Ian Shares How He And The Late Cliff Burton Got Arrested And Strip Searched Once

Alfred Nitsch, CC BY-SA 3.0 AT , via Wikimedia Commons
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During a recent conversation with Metal Hammer, Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian shared a story involving him and the late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton getting arrested and strip searched. The context behind this situation is pretty ridiculous – for all Scott and Cliff were trying to do on that particular day was buy a Walkman! But some police found the two to apparently look suspicious – and that is when shit went down.

This is the whole story per Scott Ian:

“Cliff and I got arrested together while in London. I’d flown over to do press for Fistful Of Metal in Spring of ’84 and Metallica was also there, so I just lived in this apartment with them for three weeks in London. One day Cliff and I were going to Tottenham Court Road because he needed a new Walkman. Two police approached us and asked if we were drug dealers. We said no and they said, ‘Well you might as well just admit it now because things will go easier for you’.

“They took us into the police station and arrested us and they found cold medicine in Cliff’s coat. They were like, ‘We’re gonna have to send these to the lab’ and I’m like, ‘It’s Sudafed motherfuckers!’ We had to give them the address of the flat and that’s when I got really nervous because I knew Cliff had a whole bunch of weed back at the apartment.

“They separated the two of us and we had stripped down to just our underwear. I’m sitting in this concrete cell with just a door, not even a window and I’m thinking, about the movie Midnight Express because that’s what I had running through my brain!

“Three hours later, they guy opens the door and says, ‘Alright, come with me, I’m taking you to the Captain’s office’. And I’m like, what’s going on? He goes, ‘The captain will explain here’s your clothes, get dressed’. And I see Cliff again and he’s got no idea of what’s going on. Well they went to the apartment and checked for the weed… but didn’t look under the mattress! We were free to go and that was when I thought, ‘Someone up there really likes Metallica’, though Cliff never did get his Walkman!”

Holy shit that sounds like a hell of a time! What would you have done if you were in their shoes?

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