In reflecting on the history of his band, Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian recently talked about first meeting Metallica (which would have been when Dave Mustaine was still in the band). Per a conversation with Metal Hammer, Ian spoke to learning about Metallica through the late Johnny Z (of Megaforce Records); Ian then eventually met the guys in New York. The interviewer then makes a point to say that, at the time Ian first met the band, Dave Mustaine was still in Metallica – to which Ian says the following:
“Yeah Dave was in the band at that point. I actually remember when he got fired – they were still living in that music building. I showed up one day and Cliff was standing outside smoking a cigarette. He goes ‘Oh, we fired Mustaine’. I couldn’t believe it – no fucking way, they had a gig that weekend and were leaving in a few weeks to make the album.
“In those days Mustaine was basically the frontman – he was the focal point because James hadn’t become James yet so it seemed inconceivable to get rid of their lead guitarist and songwriter. But they were like ‘Yeah he’s on a bus to San Fransico right now, we’ve got this guy from a band called Exodus, he’s gonna fly out tomorrow – can you give him a ride from the airport?’”
Scott Ian is then asked what the band as a whole were like during those early days:
“It was like meeting people you’re already friends with even though it was the first time. We were all into the same music, same movies and horror… we just had a lot in common. Plus they were living in the music building and we were practically living there because we’d go seven days a week just to hang out. Neither band had a pot to piss in – literally, because most of the toilets in the bathrooms in that building didn’t work! They were disgusting.
“Everyone knows the story, we gave them the refrigerator from our room and a toaster oven so they could at least heat up food. We even leant them our gear when theirs got stolen. They weren’t gonna be able to go to Europe and we leant them a backline.
“In those first four or five years from between 82 and 88, basically from the time where nobody even knew who either band was, to both bands making Gold records by 1988, we went through a lot together. Kirk, Cliff and I were like the three musketeers. We were very, very tight, mainly because of our love of comic books, horror and movies. James and Lars liked those things too, sure, but they just they weren’t nerds like we were.”
We love hearing these stories from famous metal artists and getting greater insight into the genre’s history. It would have been amazing to see Anthrax and Metallica back in the ’80s when they were first starting out.