During a conversation with Metal Hammer, guitarist Scott Ian talked about how the band’s 2011 album Worship Music and performing in the Big Four shows ultimately helped keep Anthrax going. Starting in 2010, Anthrax took part in several Big Four concerts – featuring them, Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth (the Big Four of thrash metal). This was not only an amazing celebration of heavy metal, but also an incredibly important moment in music history.
In talking about how Anthrax got involved in playing the Big Four shows, Ian shares:
“I don’t feel like it was something we were talking about a lot. When Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth did the Clash Of The Titans tour in 1991 we had a running joke that it took all three of us teaming up to play the same-sized venue as Metallica could by themselves. When Lars brought it up to Charlie [Benante, Anthrax drummer] and I the first time, it was when Metallica were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.
“I think it was the afterparty and Lars came up to Charlie and I; you have to remember we were quite a few drinks into the evening by that point, and he just said ‘hey, what would you guys say to doing some Big Four shows?’ I didn’t even know what he was talking about! I had to ask what he meant and when he mentioned us, Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica playing a show it was like ‘oh, that would be amazing! But you guys are never gonna do that’.
“Later that year our manager said we’d just had a call from Metallica’s management asking if we were available in this period to do some Big Four shows. I’d chalked it up to drunk talk and didn’t think Lars was serious, but thinking about it later and how everything Metallica do is done with military precision, they clearly already knew and were just running it past us.”
He then goes on to add how those Big Four shows and the band’s record Worship Music ultimately helped Anthrax:
“We were incredibly excited. Strictly speaking about Anthrax, we were in the weirdest part of our career in that period. At the time we didn’t officially have a singer because Joey [Belladonna, vocalist] hadn’t signed back on but here we were writing the record that became Worship Music. A lot of things were in flux for Anthrax at that time, so when we got that phone call, it kicked things back into gear for us in so many ways.
“We knew then we had to get Joey back in the band – he was the guy who was there when all these things were happening for us in the first place. We then pushed ourselves to finish writing and recording Worship Music, which became our comeback album. It put us in front of audiences that either hadn’t heard of us, or hadn’t seen us in a long time. Without those shows – and the record we put out – I honestly don’t think Anthrax would still be here ten years later.”
What are your thoughts on Worship Music and how excited are you for a new Anthrax album? Also, how amazing would it be to get even more Big Four shows?! If you have three hours to spare, someone on YouTube uploaded footage of one of the Big Four concerts – you can find that footage below: