ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian says that he "was surprised" and "wasn't surprised" to find out that SLAYER was planning to embark on a "farewell" tour.
Back in January, SLAYER, one of metal's most popular and influential bands of the past four decades, announced its "final world tour" via a 30-second video. The group also confirmed that the first leg of its last-ever North American run of dates would feature support from LAMB OF GOD, ANTHRAX, BEHEMOTH and TESTAMENT.
Speaking to Driver of the Lubbock, Texas radio station FMX 94.5, Ian was asked how it feels to be taking part in what will turn out to be SLAYER's last hurrah.
"We found out just like everybody else," Ian said (hear audio below). "We got offered this SLAYER tour — the offer came in a few months ago — and when we got that offer, nobody said anything about this was the… whatever they're calling it, 'The End Is Near' or… We were just, like, 'Yeah! Wow!' Our agent sent an e-mail saying, 'Hey, SLAYER wants you guys out on this big package,' and we were, like, 'Wow! That's exciting.' 'Cause it just looked really exciting. 'Wow, this is gonna be a big summer metal tour. How much more fun could we possibly have?' And we've [toured a bunch of times] with SLAYER over the years, and we're friends. So the fact that they were putting together this big metal package for the summer, that's all we needed [to hear]. And then, of course, that announcement comes in, [and] I was as surprised as anyone else. At the same time, I'm friends with the guys, so I know there's been talk in that camp over the last few years about at some point saying, 'All right, maybe we need to put an exclamation point at the end of this sentence.' So I was surprised and I wasn't surprised; I know that sounds weird."
As for how he feels about SLAYER calling it quits, Ian said: "I don't really have any thoughts about it yet, because it takes a little bit of time to tour the world, and hopefully we'll be on more than one leg of this tour as they travel around the planet doing this. And I'll have a long time to kind of digest it and see how I really feel about it. Right now, I'm just super excited to get out there on, I think, what's gonna be the tour of the year here in America and play these shows. They're gonna be amazing. Shows are already selling out. So certainly the excitement has crossed over to outside of the bands, who are super excited about playing this tour, obviously the excitement has crossed over to the fans, because people are running out there and getting tickets. And I would tell people to not sleep on this thinking that, 'Oh, I'll just get tickets.' There won't be tickets day of show. You should go out and get these tickets."
Ian added that he "wouldn't be surprised" is SLAYER's farewell tour took more than 12 months to complete. "These days it takes at least a year, if not longer, to properly tour the world," he said. "So I would say they will blow this up as big as they can, because why not? If it's really gonna be the last one, then you've gotta go out big, and I would expect nothing less from those guys. And look, the best way to go out is when you're on top. Whether it's all the best movies or TV shows or books, you've gotta stick the ending. If you don't stick the ending, it kind of blows it. And SLAYER's gonna stick the ending. Just look how they're announcing it, like the biggest tour of the year. So I have the feeling they're gonna do it right."
SLAYER will kick off the first leg of its farewell world tour with a May 10 concert at San Diego's Valley View Casino Center, with dates running through August 26 at San Jose, California's SAP Center.
ANTHRAX will release its long-awaited live-in-concert DVD, "Kings Among Scotland", on April 27 via Megaforce.