by the time you get to PANTERA's final album REINVENTING THE STEEL (EAST WEST, 2000), a transition within the band's SOUND and RELATIONSHIP to one another that had been underway since THE GREAT SOUTHERN TRENDKILL (EAST WEST, 1996) had basically come to fruition and fully calcified. namely this album was a band at the END OF THEIR ROPE CREATIVELY and INTERPERSONALLY.
in terms of their sound, the first two records COWBOYS FROM HELL (ATCO, 1990) and VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER (ATCO, 1992) were the sound of an incredibly tight BROTHERHOOD coalescing together while writing, living and struggling together to create and promote arguably some of the most COHESIVE and EXCITING METAL ever produced. those two records represent an ascent and upward trajectory both commercially and in terms of shared VISION and FOCUS as a CREATIVE UNIT.
once they hit FAR BEYOND DRIVEN (EAST WEST, 1994) some INTERNAL SHIFTS had occurred. for one, having been recorded in NASHVILLE it is the only PANTERA record to not be recorded in their home studio as everything before was in PANTEGO SOUND STUDIOS (formerly owned and operated by the ABOTT BROTHERS' father for decades) in ARLINGTON and everything after was done at DIMEBAG's home studio at his DALWORTHINGTON GARDENS residence. as such the record is ODD since it is both EXPANSIVE sonically and lyrically CLAUSTROPHOBIC with themes of DRUG ABUSE and MENTAL DEGRADATION. shortly thereafter its release vocalist PHIL ANSELMO had a HEROIN OVERDOSE on tour which shook the band to its core since for the first time the band's seemingly UNSHAKEABLE UNITY had been COMPROMISED. it was during this period also that ANSELMO pursued a major side project in the SLUDGE METAL supergroup DOWN, which the ABOTT BROTHERS tolerated but quietly chafed at given their allegiance and UNSPARING FOCUS to all things PANTERA.
unfortunately, this schism was manifested in THE GREAT SOUTHERN TRENDKILL being conceived and recorded in two separate studios, the band in TEXAS and ANSELMO in LOUISIANA at TRENT REZNOR's NOTHING STUDIOS in NEW ORLEANS. this DETERIORATION continued on REINVENTING THE STEEL which to some listeners is the sound of a band in bad need of a well-deserved hiatus to recharge and regroup. which of course never happened as their world tour was cut short abroad by 9/11 and the band proved to never play live again thereafter as ANSELMO pursued an ever-growing list of side projects (DOWN and SUPERJOINT RITUAL among numerous others) without checking in with DIMEBAG or VINNE PAUL, leaving them in perpetual limbo for a few years.
for me the experience of listening to REINVENTING THE STEEL is a bit BITTERSWEET as there are some STANDOUT tracks like "YESTERDAY DON'T MEAN SHIT," "HELLBOUND" and "REVOLUTION IS MY NAME", but overall its LACK OF COHESION and VISION makes it emerge as the LEAST IMPRESSIVE PANTERA album by far. even sonically, at this point everything had DISINTEGRATED into PURE ATTACK and AGGRESSION, whereas before there was a PALPABLE sense of GROOVE involved, like a more TECHNICALLY ADVANCED and HARDER-HITTING ZZ TOP. maybe, like with METALLICA or SLAYER, the standard and expectation level with PANTERA is just so ELEVATED that they were bound to misfire eventually, but the whole effort feels like a WASTED OPPORTUNITY for such an INNOVATIVE and POWERFUL band that basically kept the METAL flag going in the 1990s in the wake of the ALTERNATIVE ROCK explosion.
you also can't help but wonder what would have happened if the band just took an extended break, got some side project records out of their system and STAYED IN COMMUNICATION so that when they eventually regrouped theyd be ready to actually fire on all cylinders again having reconvened as a more MATURE and FORGIVING UNIT, both CREATIVELY and INTERPERSONALLY. that of course never happened and the band is permanently a "WHAT IF" scenario only further solidified by the TRAGIC DEATH of DIMEBAG and the subsequent health problems of VINNIE PAUL that led to his PASSING from natural causes a decade later. the modern iteration of the band, nobly carried on with close friends of the ABOTT BROTHERS and METAL all-star recruits in ZAKK WYLDE (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) and CHARLIE BENANTE (ANTHRAX, S.O.D.), still pales in comparison to the ENERGY, CAMARADERIE and SPIRIT of the original which sadly flamed out at the turn of the millennium with their final released effort.
i should also mention that this was the period i saw the band play OZZFEST on one proved to be one of their last national tours of the UNITED STATES. although the band was AMAZING, you could definitely see the divide in retrospect as ANSELMO mumbled his way through his seeming CHARLES MANSON phase while DIMEBAG was in full, VIBRANT flight DAZZLING the audiences with his GUITAR HEROICS. it definitely appeared like an odd couple but a DEGRADED PANTERA was likely better than most bands at the top of their game so INCREDIBLE was this band.
i wouldnt recommend REINVENTING THE STEEL as it is my LEAST FAVORITE PANTERA record. for me any of the first three albums is a great starting point for this LEGENDARY and highly INFLUENTIAL METAL band, undoubtedly of the first order right alongside BLACK SABBATH, SLAYER and JUDAS PRIEST.
BOOK REVIEW | "BLACK TOOTH GRIN: THE HIGH LIFE, GOOD TIMES, AND TRAGIC END OF DIMEBAG DARRELL" BY ZAC CRAIN
the late PANTERA guitarist "DIMEBAG" DARRELL ABOTT was a LARGER-THAN-LIFE figure and arguably one of the most BELOVED HARD ROCK / METAL guitarists of all time, right there alongside the likes of EDDIE VAN HALEN, JIMMY PAGE, RITCHIE BLACKMORE, TONY IOMMI and RANDY RHOADS before him. his TALENT, PASSION and DRIVE for his instrument was absolutely UNDENIABLE, but what author ZAC CRAIN insists in his recent biography BLACK TOOTH GRIN: THE HIGH LIFE, GOOD TIMES, AND TRAGIC END OF DIMEBAG DARRELL (DA CAPO, 2009) is that among his PEERS, FANS and IDOLS he was just as RENOWNED for his HUMILITY, unbridled CHARM and preternatural ability to UPLIFT anyone and everyone's spirits, famous or otherwise. CRAIN even posits an argument that core of his DEVOTION for music and the guitar was not bred out of need to resolve a deep ANGER or FRUSTRATION with the world, rather it was a vehicle to express JOY, LOVE, AFFECTION and a shared CONNECTION with his extended COMMUNITY. such is particularly INTRIGUING given the absolute and uncompromisingly BRUTAL sonic nature of the METAL purveyed by PANTERA throughout their existence.
this focus on DIMEBAG's HUMILITY is the stuff of LEGEND. a childhood friend of mine who lives in MONTREAL spoke about how he ran into DIMEBAG and drummer VINNIE PAUL ABOTT while walking in a park. they were playing that night at a local club as part of their tour pushing their post-PANTERA project DAMAGEPLAN. my friend told them how during his middle school years in NIGERIA their music got him through a CRAZY time period in a foreign country. the ABOTT BROTHERS asked him to write his name down and stop by the show, he was added to their guest list. literally a guy off the street that recognized them and expressed a GENUINE CONNECTION to their music was enough for them to open their backstage for a ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME experience. testimonials to that level of GENEROSITY are throughout BLACK TOOTH GRIN. he in essence treated the METAL COMMUNITY as his extended FAMILY.
what i found INTERESTING about BLACK TOOTH GRIN was how CRAIN analyzed how music being a FAMILY BUSINESS (with his father being a former MANAGER and his only brother a BANDMATE) affected DIMEBAG's sense of FAMILY and how matters of the band, with the exception of his mother and long-time girlfriend RITA, superseded such. his father's dismissal as band manager upon moving to a major label led to an impasse that remained simmering in place for the rest of his life. likewise, his relationship with his brother was always colored by their shared involvement with one another in BUSINESS INTERESTS. all major life decisions thus inevitably got processed through the lens of PANTERA and then DAMAGEPLAN, rather than as a FAMILY. that is a terribly COMPELLING insight into DIMEBAG's relative ISOLATION at the end of his life.
another INTERESTING wrinkle was DIMEBAG's FUNCTIONAL ALCOHOLISM and how such was enabled by his position and RABID fanbase that sought to get wasted with him as a manner of CELEBRATION. a bit bloated and no doubt less robust as he hit his forties with DAMAGEPLAN, had he survived there no doubt would be a need for eventual moderation if not sobriety in his near future. such was the case with his partner-in-crime ZAKK WYLDE (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) who year later would famously veer away from the booze as a matter of self-survival.
BLACK TOOTH GRIN is a fairly PEDESTRIAN biography is REPETITIVE in places. you can tell it was a LABOR OF LOVE and that interviews collected were almost explicitly POSITIVE by FANS, PEERS, ROADIES, SPONSORS, TOUR MANAGERS, BUSINESS PARTNERS and GUITAR IDOLS alike. at times i feel that the book veers a little too hard into hagiography, especially given the more UNSAVORY elements of PANTERA's legacy. this includes singer PHILIP ANSELMO's often MISOGYNISTIC lyrics and sometimes LATENTLY RACIST themes, as well as the band's penchant for CONFEDERATE FLAG-themed merchandise. similarly CRAINE seemingly conflates the TOXIC MASCULINITY exhibited by ANSELMO with the band retaining a sense of METAL PURITY in an age of other bands (namely METALLICA) selling out to the ALTERNATIVE nation. i think such is a particularly UNFORTUNATE supposition, as METAL has nothing to do with those DESTRUCTIVE positions and to suggest otherwise is DANGEROUS and just historically INACCURATE. so i was disappointed by all of that. similarly, it was also deeply troubling that CRAIN spent so much time describing DIMEBAG's deranged murderer. the less i know, understand or think about that asshole, much like JOHN LENNON's assassin, the better. the fact that CRAIN didnt heed such only paid off in death what that SAD, PATHETIC person arguably desired most post-mortem: attention.
i would recommend listening to DIMEBAG's guitar playing, but not necessarily this book. i'd instead turn to bassist REX BROWN's OFFICIAL TRUTH: 101 PROOF: THE INSIDE STORY OF PANTERA (review inked HERE) memoir, which is likewise PROBLEMATIC and anything but definitive, but at least an INTIMATE and thoroughly AUTHENTIC perspective on the career and legacy of the much universally CELEBRATED METAL band.
almost two decades after his passing, the loss of DIMEBAG is still bitterly felt. i feel incredibly lucky to have gotten the opportunity to see him play live at OZZFEST 2000 back in the day. he was undoubtedly the highlight of a stacked METAL tour and was undeniably SPECIAL.
RIP DIMEBAG AND VINNIE PAUL.
by the time of PANTERA's eight studio album THE GREAT SOUTHERN TRENDKILL (ELEKTRA, 1996), the band was probably in desperate need of an extended hiatus. singer PHIL ANSELMO had been dealing for years with back problems that led him down a SELF-MEDICATED SPIRAL of PAINKILLERS and ALCOHOL that would eventually culminate in a HEROIN OVERDOSE on tour not long after the release of this album. in retrospect this album is the first PANTERA effort conceived of by a splintered collective, with ANSELMO recording his VOCALS alone with producer TERRY DATE at TRENT REZNOR's NEW ORLEANS studio and the band at the ABBOTT BROTHER's home studio in TEXAS. not surprisingly given the INTERNAL CHAOS, this would be the final DATE-produced PANTERA record, having worked on every release since their COWBOYS FROM HELL (ATCO, 1990) major label debut.
all that being said, THE GREAT SOUTHERN TRENDKILL was the record i first became aware of the band through, given that it came out at the end of my sixth grade school year in NIGERIA. i know for certain that by seventh grade i had a taped copy of the record. being surrounded by oil brats from the AMERICAN SOUTH, most of whom were at least LATENTLY RACIST towards our WEST AFRICAN hosts, i've always had a hard time stomaching SOUTHERN PRIDE which this album has a lot of. the concept for the record was that in the midst of ALTERNATIVE ROCK largely replacing TRADITIONAL METAL, with longstanding legacy bands like METALLICA, ANTHRAX and SLAYER all making concessions to the new format, PANTERA was standing STRONG (the unsubtle insinuation being much like their confederate forefathers of yore) and flying the freak flag of UNDILUTED, UNADULTERATED METAL for the hardcore fans.
THE GREAT SOUTHERN TRENDKILL is an UNCOMPROMISING album about STUBBORNNESS, INTRANSIGENCE and PERSEVERANCE in the face of environmental headwinds like popular opinion and cultural trends. despite the process that birth it, the record is sonically and lyrically one of the most FOCUSED and DIRECT efforts in their catalogue. themes include SOCIAL DEFIANCE and the VULNERABILITY and SHAME involved with ADDICTION. AGGRESSIVE tracks like "SUICIDE NOTE, PT. 2," "WAR NERVE," "THE UNDERGROUND IN AMERICA" "THE GREAT SOUTHERN TRENDKILL" and "DRAG THE WATERS" are made more impactful by their STRIPPED, BACK-TO-BASICS PRODUCTION, especially in contrast to the more THICK and LUSH, MULTI-LAYERED guitar overdubs found on their CELEBRATED previous effort, FAR BEYOND DRIVEN (ELEKTRA, 1994). more MELLOW affairs like "SUICIDE NOTE, PT. 1" and "FLOODS" is where this album really separates itself from the pack, especially the latter and its ICONIC GUITAR SOLOS and much REVERED OUTRO. even in the midst of a BRUTAL RECORDING, the exceptionally AFFECTING "FLOODS" outro is arguably the most beautifully MELODIC COMPOSITION DIMEBAG DARRELL ever wrote.
looking back at THE GREAT SOUTHERN TRENDKILL, there are some REGRESSIVE POLITICAL and SOCIAL ASPECTS of the lyrics i still find deep issue with, but musically this record is an absolute BEAST. its the album in my opinion that most effectively showcases the COMPLICATED PANTERA legacy bar none. that being said it is worthy of investigation and most definitely worth checking out.
theres been talk of a PANTERA "reunion" as the METAL band's stature and legend has ballooned in the intervening years since guitarist DIMEBAG DARRELL's SENSELESS and SHOCKING on-stage murder in OHIO in 2004. you look at all the major bands that have come to prominence in their wake (GOJIRA, LAMB OF GOD, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, MASTODON, POWERTRIP, etc.) and seemingly all of them have a deep sense of GROOVE at the core of their sound, which for me was DARRELL's major contribution eve given his celebrated technical lead guitar heroics. for me PANTERA sonically was ZZ TOP on steroids.
like a lot of die-hard fans, im pretty AMBIVALENT about the upcoming "reunion" of PANTERA as a global touring entity. PANTERA drummer (and older brother to DIMEBAG) VINNIE PAUL was against the idea wholesale during his life (he passed away in 2018 from cardiac arrest) in no small part to how the band ended in 2001. essentially singer PHIL ANSELMO and bassist REX BROWN became incommunicado after their tour dates on behalf of REINVENTING THE STEEL (EAST WEST, 2000) stalled in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. the pair instead focused on SLUDGE METAL supergroup DOWN's debut and in the case of ANSELMO, numerous OBSCURE side projects that allowed him to explore his passion of early BLACK METAL and DEATH METAL. which is all well and good if they needed a break from PANTERA, but they left DIMEBAG and VINNIE PAUL absolutely hanging with no heads up whatsoever, which is pretty LAME.
and it still is.
the fact that the ABBOTT BROTHERS are no longer around to participate for what was a project that they alone SWEAT, BLED and FOUGHT for is a pretty bitter pill to swallow. the fact that the two surviving members that effectively abandoned the project at its peak, ANSELMO and BROWN, are the ones carrying it forward just feels wrong on some level. the saving grace is that ZAKK WYLDE of BLACK LABEL SOCIETY / OZZY OSBOURNE is set to take on guitar duties and CHARLIE BENANTE of ANTHRAX is drumming for the revamped project. both were close friends of PANTERA and especially the ABBOTT BROTHERS. in spite of whatever moniker this project will be billed as on global festival marquees, this "reunion" for WYLDE and BENANTE is a largely a CELEBRATION of their friends and a means of reintroducing the music of PANTERA to a new generation that was denied access to this seminal group.
and for me, despite my reservations about ANSELMO and BROWN, i believe that this outing will be a NET POSITIVE for the legacy of the band. much as WYLDE has kept the legacy of fall guitar god RANDY RHOADS alive and relevant with his live work supporting OZZY OSBOURNE, i can only see the same being done on behalf of his former drinking buddy DIMEBAG. almost 20 years later its really a quite touching act of LOVE and MUTUAL RESPECT that will no doubt have a new generation of musicians go back and listen to those records and wow over DIMEBAG's genius much as i did as a teenager.
it really is a gift. that is how im choosing to see this, especially since the estates of both DIMEBAG and VINNIE PAUL have cosigned this "reunion." if i can score tickets im there since i only got to see the band once way back on OZZFEST 2000. much like with OASIS, i just want to hear those songs played on that scale again in a big venue. should be AMAZING.
below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode from the summer of 2021 celebrating the music of PANTERA on nonprofit radio station MAKER PARK RADIO. enjoy!
i remember obtaining PANTERA's FAR BEYOND DRIVEN (EAST WEST, 1994) album on a school trip in HEATHROW AIRPORT en route to a SEA CAMP trip in the FLORIDA KEYS. the international school i attended in NIGERIA had these foreign trips they sent the middle school kids on each year (6th grade was SPACE CAMP in FLORIDA, 7th grade was the aforementioned SEA CAMP and 8th grade was a FRENCH TRIP to SWITZERLAND and FRANCE). it was that kind of school.
the whole experience was pretty GNARLY as it took over 24 hours to reach the FLORIDA KEYS after two international flights and a long drive south from MIAMI. i mention this because i will always associate the SLUDGY, ANGULAR, almost SERPENTINE RIFFAGE of DIMEBAG DARRELL and the overall aqueous production of FAR BEYOND DRIVEN with that long bus ride over those tiny two-lane bridges looking over the ATLANTIC OCEAN from my window from key to key. tracks like "SHEDDING SKIN," "HARD LINES SUNKEN CHEEKS," "SLAUGHTERED" and "25 YEARS" had such GROOVE and SONIC DIMENSION that it very much felt empowering and all-encompassing. especially for a teenager intimidated by life itself having witnessed from a distance the cruelties of life abroad in a third world country with all the political corruption and economic dilapidation on daily display. listening to FAR BEYOND DRIVEN always gave me a false sense of control, which is probably the highest compliment i ever give a record. to my ears it is the heaviest PANTERA record bar none, especially when considering the staggering aural BRUTALITY of "STRENGTH BEYOND STRENGTH," "THROES OF REJECTION," "5 MINUTES ALONE," "I'M BROKEN" and especially "BECOMING."
that is not to say this record is perfect. there are cringe-worthy lyrics to songs like "USE MY THIRD ARM" and "GOOD FRIENDS AND A BOTTLE OF PILLS" that probably should have been edited out on the cutting room floor. they just come of PETTY and MISOGYNISTIC, which is probably where singer PHIL ANSELMO was mentally at the time. and it is that tension between the SUBLIME MUSICALITY of DARRELL and VINNIE PAUL and production of TERRY DATE with the uncompromising yet uneven lyrical contributions of ANSELMO that defined the band.
more than 20 years after their breakup i still have a complicated appreciation for PANTERA since some of their antics have not aged well (the CONFEDERATE ICONOGRAPHY, the quasi-EXTREME RIGHT PROVOCATIONS and FALSE SELF-IDENTIFYING VICTIMHOOD, the blatant, unapologetic MISOGYNY). like most people i lay all that negative energy at the hands of ANSELMO, whose more caustic and morally depraved contributions came during periods of DRUG ABUSE and DIVORCE. what people choose to celebrate is the work of DARRELL, who on every PANTERA record and especially FAR BEYOND DRIVEN was an immaculately tight and divinely inspired guitar player.
this record is most definitely worth checking out but be aware going into it that some of the lyrical content is MORALLY REPREHENSIBLE, something of which other surviving band members have conceded over the years (like bassist REX famously in his tell all book). dont say i didnt warn you.
check out HERE this recent streaming video episode of DEER GOD RADIO focused on the legendary 90s METAL band PANTERA!
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO are available here at the DEER GOD website as well as in the MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC archives.
and if you haven't done so already get the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!
join us TONIGHT at 8PM EST for an all new episode of DEER GOD RADIO on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC with a playlist celebrating DIMEBAG DARRELL and the legendary METAL band PANTERA!
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO are available here at the DEER GOD website as well as in the MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC archives.
and if you haven't done so already, make sure and download the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!
its funny now, but i remember that summer in 1996 when METALLICA's LOAD (ELEKTRA, 1996) was released. people forget now, but those five years between THE BLACK ALBUM (ELEKTRA, 1991) and LOAD were fairly consequential. NIRVANA and ALTERNATIVE ROCK in general had exploded and METAL was feeling a bit tired and antiquated in comparison. forget HAIR METAL, which was effectively exterminated post-1991, for it seemed like huge METAL bands of the past either followed suit and limited their guitar solos and dressed differently (cough, cough, cut their hair) or just broke up altogether. there was just one band it seemed that was flying the flag for METAL at the time: PANTERA.
in NIGERIA when i was in middle school there were a fair amount of older METAL heads from basically everywhere. places like VENEZUELA, LEBANON, GHANA, UNITED KINGDOM, SOUTH AFRICA, etc. it felt like pre-LOAD everyone was split down the middle between PANTERA and METALLICA being the best METAL band on the planet. post-LOAD everyone conceded that METALLICA were effectively over and PANTERA was it by default.
just compare LOAD and THE GREAT SOUTHERN TRENDKILL (EAST WEST, 1996), or rather there is no comparison. it is almost embarrassing.
arguably that claim to being a heavyweight first started with PANTERA's major-label debut album COWBOYS FROM HELL (ATCO, 1990). yes, i know about the self-releases and nobody cares about them. PANTERA effectively began as a cultural entity in 1990 when COWBOYS came out. at the time singer PHIL ANSELMO was very much in his ROB HALFORD phase with the screaming falsetto's on songs like "SHATTERED" and the "THE ART OF SHREDDING." he had yet to discover his the lower octaves of his voice and his own inner HENRY ROLLINS/MIKE MUIR which became his persona and sound thereafter. "CEMETERY GATES" is an orchestrated, epic multi-part standout ballad (and a sly reference to the similarly titled SMITHS song). who knew that ANSELMO was a closet admirer of MORRISSEY? i sure didn't at the time.
the real star of the show however is DIMEBAG DARRELL, or rather DIAMOND DARRELL as he was known then, and his insane guitar work and solos which were both technically proficient and had feel for days. to my ears his grooves are like ZZ TOP on methamphetamines. listening to this album just induces headbanging. it could even be described as danceable. its addictive, contagious and really creeps up on you. case in point are my two favorite tracks "DOMINATION" and "PRIMAL CONCRETE SLEDGE." it absolutely crushes, even by today's standards.
i remember when LOAD came out just how much of a let down it was. what i dont get is how anyone compared THE BLACK ALBUM favorably with COWBOYS FROM HELL, which came out within a year of each other (PANTERA coming out first). in my mind, METALLICA backed out long before 1996. but hope springs eternal i guess.
if you arent familiar with PANTERA, COWBOYS is a great starting point. i'd also point you to VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER (ATCO, 1992) and FAR BEYOND DRIVEN (EAST WEST, 1993) which took their sound to even more extreme heights. seminal records by a seminal band. rest in peace brothers in METAL, DIMEBAG and VINNIE PAUL.
somewhere along the way, legendary guitar player SCOTT IAN of THRASH METAL icons ANTHRAX learned he had a real gift for storytelling. his obvious mentor in this regard was HARDCORE frontman HENRY ROLLINS of BLACK FLAG/ROLLINS BAND fame who has maintained a longstanding second career as an in-demand spoken-word artist.
given his stature, IAN has seen things over his 30+ year career and his second memoir ACCESS ALL AREAS: STORIES FROM A HARD ROCK LIFE (DA CAPO PRESS 2017), which he penned himself, maintains his acerbic wit, cadence and voice. reading through this it is not hard to imagine him standing beside you performing each narrative as a spoken-word routine, which is definitely a compliment. there is a reason why most musicians don't write their own memoirs, and IAN proves himself a highly capable narrator. his style is very much utilitarian in that he doesn't get too wordy or overly clever with descriptions, which in a way describes his iconic no-sense rhythm guitar work and that of his musical idol, MALCOLM YOUNG of AC/DC.
obviously i don't want to give away any of the stories, but i will say that they deal with his outside pursuits regarding professional poker, moonlighting in tv shows like THE WALKING DEAD and GAME OF THRONES, relationships and of course touring. highlights include stories that include the pranks of legendary PANTERA guitarist DIMEBAG DARRELL (R.I.P.), hanging out with MADONNA and the wardrobe choices of the immortal LEMMY KILMISTER (R.I.P.) of the almighty MOTÖRHEAD.
IAN comes off as a hardworking musician more than aware of how fortunate he is to have his career and the respect of his peers and this book, along with the previous I AM THE MAN: THE STORY OF THAT GUY FROM ANTHRAX (DA CAPO PRESS 2014), seem to be a celebration of that community of musicians. a celebration of how they touched his life, so in that regard i hope he keeps writing.
also keep a look out for the dude in concert. just learned he's touring with MR. BUNGLE in 2020. MIKE PATTON and SCOTT IAN sharing a stage. man, life certainly does not suck.