Guitar Interactive magazine recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian. You can now watch the chat in three parts below.
Asked what advice he would give to up-and-coming guitarists, some of whom believe that strong social-media skills are as important to success as the ability to play guitar and write songs, Ian said: "I wouldn't know. I don't know what to tell somebody these days, because so much of the stuff… The Internet didn't exist when I was coming up and when ANTHRAX started, and for years and years and years, so… We were a band for… Let's say, if you wanna say, around '97 or '98, when the Internet kind of started becoming a tool that a band could use in a myriad number of ways, we were a band for 17 years before that became even something anyone knew of. So I have no idea. I don't know anything about any of that stuff. The only thing I can say to anyone is just play what you love. Play what makes you happy. That's all I ever did, and that's all I know most of the people I know in bands ever did. Granted, we're from a different time. So, these days, I don't know. I don't know…"
He continued: "Do you need to know how to use social media to be a guitar player? I don't even understand what that means?
"My attitude is, play what makes you happy and practice songwriting. Write songs.
"I look at guitar probably in a completely different way than most people, and probably most of the people that read your magazines.
"I would rather listen to Malcolm Young [AC/DC] play an A chord than anything else on guitar — than anything, other than maybe Eddie Van Halen.
"I'm a caveman when it comes to guitar.
"Guitar, for me, has only ever been a tool to write songs. Guitar is a tool used to create music and to play with other people. That's what guitar is for me. That's what makes me happy as a guitar player.
"If you're a kid who wants to learn how to shred like… I don't even know who… whatever is the new-school…. I don't know who's the best lead guitar player out right now under 30 years old. There's these super-technical bands with eight strings. Like, I know a band… And I'm not being negative about them, but I know there's a band called PERIPHERY, and I've heard of them, and I've heard some of the stuff, and I get it. From a technical standpoint, it's amazing! But it's not something I personally am gonna go home and put on. I totally respect it and I appreciate it, and I understand why kids are getting into that."
Ian added: "So, basically, what I'm saying is… it's just what makes you happy. If that makes you happy, then do that. If Malcolm Young makes you happy, then do that. You know what I mean?! That's all I cared about when I was a kid. I played guitar for fun; that's all it was. And, truthfully, I didn't become a lead guitar player, and I didn't focus on that, because the work wasn't fun for me. I just wanted to get up there and rip big chords and just do what makes you happy. That's the best advice I can give."