much like his other release ACCESS ALL AREAS: STORIES FROM A HARD ROCK LIFE (DA CAPO PRESS, 2017), which i covered in a previous review, legendary THRASH METAL guitarist SCOTT IAN of ANTHRAX is a more than capable narrator of his own life story in his debut book I'M THE MAN: THE STORY OF THAT GUY FROM ANTHRAX (DA CAPO PRESS, 2014), which sees him overcome a troubled childhood with a neurotic mother, two failed marriages and surviving the music industry over 30 years with his mind and band intact.
it may be due to his long-term sobriety (minus a few PANTERA and OZZY tours) that the detail of his recollections seem to be precise and noteworthy. i made the point before in the other review that his writing style is very utilitarian, much like his guitar playing and this is holds true with this book as well. he tends not to embellish and hold himself to account for past misjudgments and moral lapses, which only further gains his voice credence in the reader's mind.
of interest to me with this book, which is very much a traditional chronological affair (unlike ACCESS ALL AREAS which is more a series of interesting stories), is the beginnings of THRASH METAL and MEGAFORCE RECORDS. specifically the stories IAN chooses to tell about his friend and legendary bassist/composer CLIFF BURTON (R.I.P.) and the formative years of METALLICA and ANTRAX. sharing the same indie label and manager provided him a front row seat to their early development which is compelling in historical terms. you really get a sense of the brotherhood of that early scene that carried on throughout their entire career, most famously in the BIG 4 concerts that happened this past decade.
i have to say that i also enjoyed his humor. too many times METAL bands take themselves and their image way too seriously (i'm looking right at you SLAYER) and even though ANTHRAX come off juvenile and goofy from time to time, in the end they come across as themselves: a bunch of METAL dudes from NYC.
and i can't fault them for that.
if you're interested in THRASH METAL, this book is worth your time and is a painless read, which is not always the case (cough, cough COREY TAYLOR).
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.