Scott Ian

Vega, Copenhagen - 2015

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Scott Ian, co-founder and guitarist of Anthrax, visited Copenhagen on his solo tour.
It wasn’t as a guitarist though, but as a spoken words artist, easily recognized by the tour name – Speaking Swearing Words in (fill in local name).

“You’ve got to move out of your comfort zone.”
- Scott Ian (entertainer)

So, what is this spoken words? Well, if you’ve read one or more of our reviews of Henry Rollins, you should have a picture of what it can be, but it’s still not exactly what Scott Ian brings to the table.
In a way, you could say that this show was divided up into different chapters – there was a prologue where the character of the speaker and the show was set, a tour down memory lane with good and not quite as good stories (all funny, but the subject wasn’t always picture perfect) which concerned more of Scott Ian as a person and not so much his musical exploits, another chapter was about audience integration as Mr. Ian opened the floor up for questions which he then tried his best at answering, and of course, being a world famous guitar player, we did get a small musical section as well.

To ease the audience into the thing, Ian lightly touched on the subject of his father-in-law, one Michael Lee ‘Meat Loaf’ Aday, and how he once had been mistaken for Jim Morrison (who incidentally had died several years earlier), and then quickly moved over to the subject of whether or not he appreciated fans wanting to touch his beard. Not was the very firm answer, in case you were wondering.
The background story began way back in -85 or -86, where Ian, Joey Belladonna, and the bands manager at the time did a promotional interview tour of Europe, and in a seedy London pub Ian met his greatest hero for the first time, Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister. The drinking that ensued led to a whole world of trouble, including garbage fights, mile-high vomiting, and a close encounter with a German doctor who might very well have been a Nazi at some point in his life.
Lemmy featured in a lot in Ian’s story, as did another friend, Darrell ‘Dimebag’ Abbott. Here he spoke about, and I will not get into too much detail as it could ruin the fun for you at a later show, how Ian obtained the nickname Baldini, how not to call the cops, and over-the-top pranks. Oh, and Kiss. Lots and lots of Kiss.
After this, school was in session and Ian put on a pair of glasses as some odd words were displayed on the canvas which was set up for his PowerPoint projection. Apparently all words came from Slayer lyrics written by Jeff Hanneman, and even a language enthusiast like Ian had to look up the meaning of them. To give you an example, the word “abacinate” from Angel Of Death was mentioned, a word which means “to blind by holding a red-hot metal plate before someone’s eyes” (i.e. to melt someone’s eyes right out of their head).
A Q&A section followed, but it was quite short as there weren’t many guests who had anything to ask the metal legend before them. That, or everyone was out of breath from laughing so hard during the show so far – either one is as likely as the other.
Having had some words whispered to him from what I can only assume was his tour manager (some big guy who walked on stage once in a while), Ian moved quickly along to the musical portion of the evening, where he on an acoustic guitar provided little titbit riffs from his career. A few words of wisdom were then said before Scott Ian had to call it a night.

That Scott Ian is a bit of a pop-culture nerd also had an effect on the show. Even though he claimed not to have much time for comic books anymore, the setup of his showed proved the major influence such entertainment still has on him – the way the whole show was divided into different chapters, all of the comic book like illustrations that accompanied the story through the projector, and not in the least the many, many film, TV-series, and other types of references he made during his speech. All of this set the tone that this was a thought through and very personal show created by Scott Ian.

The show had originally been booked for the small hall at Vega, but at the 11th hour it had been moved to Ideal Bar, the small bar housed in the same building as the two concert halls of Vega.
At first, I was afraid that this change would have a negative influence on the show, but as it turned out it was quite the opposite! Having Scott Ian standing on a small stage no higher than a hands width and only a meter or less away from where I was seated on the floor gave the show an intimate feeling which absolutely worked in Ian’s favour, and most likely hadn’t been there in an actual concert hall.
That the most likely reason for the change was poor ticket sales was very regrettable however, as Ian provided one hell of an entertaining evening. Fans of Anthrax, fans of Scott Ian, or just fans of good entertainment in general who missed out on this should truly regret whatever invalid reason they had for not being there, for not risking their money on what could (almost) only pay off in the end. For the rest of us, we just hope that this doesn’t reflect poorly on Denmark as a whole, and that he will return at some point to further enlighten us with his wit and wisdom.

“The biggest fucking compliment is to call someone a risk-taker.”
- Scott Ian (entertainer)

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