I’m the Man: The story of That Guy from Anthrax
By Scott Ian
With Jon Wiederhorn
Foreword by Kirk Hammett
Da Capo Press – 2014
316 Pages, $28.99
I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy from Anthrax is a super cool book to read. Not only do you learn the history of the heavy metal powerhouse band Anthrax but how a young kid from Queens who grew up reading comic books, skateboarding and watching horror movies lived out his dream. You’ll also gain details about Metallica’s beginning and other bands like Slayer, Pantera, Megadeth, Ozzy and Public Enemy as well.
The thing that I liked most about I’m the Man is Scott Ian’s conversational writing tone. It felt like he was sitting next to me telling his story. The way he comes across makes it easy to like him because he’s a no BS kind of dude, admits his faults and shares his passion for horror movies, comic books and metal music (the New York Yankees also but being a Red Sox fan myself, that wasn’t as cool).
Scott Ian grew up an average Jewish kid living in a small apartment in Queens. After hearing “Rock and Roll All Nite” on the radio and then later seeing KISS live at Madison Square Garden in the late 70s it all but sealed his interested in being a band himself. After weaning himself on the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, he would help form the band Anthrax, who would go onto to become one of the BIG FOUR thrash metal bands (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax).
There are your typical silly stories of getting high, drunk, stoned and acting like an idiot. But all rock ’n’ rollers seem to make the mistake of falling into that trap. In Ian’s case, he almost died smoking weed when smoking it caused him to pass out and fall into a full blown seizure. He found out later that he was allergic to the chemical within pot so he could get high again and possible die or stop. When he took mushrooms it almost influenced him to jump off the 2-story balcony in New York City and later out of a moving car. It just baffles me how overrated those things are because to be honest, I’ve never heard those vices actually helping someone live better, especially long term. It’s proof how peer pressure and following others can lead you down a dead end path or off a cliff of sorts.
What Anthrax fans will value about this book is get an education how the band functioned from album to album. They didn’t always have fun as personalities clash, goals changed and the band had to make hard decisions based on their long term outlook.
Scott Ian’s story includes two failed marriages, broken contracts, being dropped from a label and leaving an entire album unreleased. But there’s also backstage practical jokes, drinking lessons from the late Dimebag Darrell and marrying Meatloaf’s daughter.
Altogether it’s hard to put down, keeps you entertained and even gives insight into the wild world of heavy metal.