Scott Ian: 'If You're Not Listening to Beatles, You're Not Listening to Music'

Anthrax guitarist talks musical influences in new interview.

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Scott Ian has been talking to Radio.com about the bands that influence Anthrax's music. As the guitarist notes, the Beatles are still a major force on inspiration: "If you're not listening to the Beatles, you're not listening to music. If you don't educate yourself on the Beatles ... whether you're a fan or a musician, there's nothing better. As a kid, I wasn't into the Beatles. I didn't dislike the Beatles, but as a teenager I was into hard rock and metal ... but I loved 'Cheap Trick,' and then when you find out that everything Cheap Trick does is basically from the Beatles, you think 'God, I've got to start listening to the Beatles.'" Ian also noted the importance of Black Sabbath on Anthrax, stating that the group has "ruled his life" since he first heard them: "There would be no Anthrax if there was no Black Sabbath. As a kid growing up, hearing Sabbath for the first time ... they've ruled my life since I first heard them in the late '70s. I could compare the first five Sabbath records to the Beatles, because what they were doing had never been done before. Everything they did invented new territory. Everything they did broke new ground. "Everything we do comes from Black Sabbath, just like everything for the generation before came from the Beatles, and everything for the generation before that came from the blues."

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    MaXiMuse
    Ugh, everybody is sooooo WRONG! If yuo d0nt liek them Gregorian Chant yuo d0nt liek music, 1ts s00 brut4lz... But seriously though, I'm really for people getting into music history and respecting (not per se listening or liking) the biggest influential bands/artist. You got to respect The Beatles as well as Black Sabbath as well as Miles Davis and Bach if you ask me.
    LazerMoose420
    All the metalheads seem to forget that the beatles were one of the biggest influences on Black sabbath. Also gregorian chant is one of the purest most beautiful forms of music.
    JOHNSTONE6
    I'm kinda the same in initially not enjoying The Beatles at first but when I started doing a bunch of drugs WOOOO The Beatles became a fave...then I got off drugs... honestly The Beatles are their OWN, NO ONE could be compared musically, people say Oasis...ehhh they're sorta like them but still doesn't cut it. Tomorrow Never Knows, Flying, Helter Skelter or even blackbird ALL VERY DIFFERENT,whats not to like. Revolver is still one of my favorite albums.
    jamie_hough
    I honestly, sincerely don't like much of the Beatles. I have no problem with people who do, but there seems to be this 'if you don't like the Beatles you don't know anything about music' and it annoys me. I feel like I'm balls deep in the music scene, just because I don't like 1 band doesn't mean I'm 'not listening to music'
    vikkyvik
    It's not about liking the Beatles. He even said he wasn't a particular fan. It's more about what they accomplished, given the time period in which they were around. That said, I'm not particularly concerned whether someone appreciates the Beatles or not.
    RiesenRatte
    Actually, it's an attitude I experience a lot. Jemie Hough might not relate on the interview, but to the entire community. Basically the attitude is for all of the older and Successfull Bands (Queen is also a great exsample). I'm a Metalhead and I sirously don't like the Music of Metallica, Slayer and all their similar Bands. Does that make me less a Metalhead? Appearently it does, according to alot of people.
    christianonbass
    Not even Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, or Reign in Blood? Is it too old school? I am not pissed, I'm just curious as a musician
    buddy1991
    As a guitar player of 10 years I can tell you I don't likr metalica because I find them extremely boring. I used to learn songs by them way back.because I thought the guitar parts were cool, but over time I realized just how awfully boring they are (to me of course).I know plenty of people who love them but it ain't for me. EVERYONE should.be allowed to have their own opinion on music. I love the beatles but I don't expect others to. People should realize how influential they are on music(even metal). If you don't think so then you clearly have never listened to them other than the obvious radio hits. These same people refer to the beatles as a 'pop' band. If ypu don't know what you are talking about then don't say anything.
    bongburn3r666
    I agree with you Jamie. When I tell people that I do not care for the Beatles. I get this instant stigma that "I don't know what real music is" and that im an idiot. Ive never had any problems with their fans either, but they are very overrated. Most of the praise they get is for fusing "raw RnB with Rock n Roll signatures", personally I can think of many other bands who did that first. but besides the fact, I agree with you wholeheartedly
    skull_king
    As long as you think that they are better than Nickelback unlike this one kid in my school
    notaconotaco
    It might not mean that you're "not listening to music", but anyone who tells me that they don't like the Beatles would not be a person I would trust to give me new bands to listen to.
    christianonbass
    One of the many amazing things about The Beatles was their transformation from a British Pop band to a Pop sensation, to a never before witnessed Pop phenomenon, to an experimental Rock band, to the most innovative, popular and successful Rock group and cultural/fashion icons to the quintessential Rock legends...and they did all of this in less than ten years, before the age of 30! About Ian's comment: Rob Halford once said (after Sebastian Bach was seen wearing an "AIDS kills fags dead" shirt) that 'Metal musicians often say dumb things'. He was right.
    Kueller917
    Not the biggest fan but they are a band to know about. They reached unmatched popularity while the era of recording distribution was still relatively young. Also the engineers working on their albums came up with methods that greatly advanced concepts of studio recordings.
    Rockeagle540
    Its not about liking the beatles, you can hate the beatles all you want, but people should appreciate everything they did for music, as people say, before anyone did anything, the beatles did everything
    HitmanJenkins
    It's not so much about liking the Beatles, but appreciating what they've accomplished, they've influenced such a wide range of artists, changed the landscape of pop music, helped to pioneer new studio techniques and push boundaries to their limits.
    jordo246
    Never once been interested in the Beatles and doubt I ever will be.
    notaconotaco
    I'm gonna assume you've never really listened to the Beatles only because they're so popular and you want to be cool. Based on your avatar, it appears you're a heavy metal fan, and yet you have no interest in the group that invented heavy metal? Classic case of trying to hard to be different.
    bramdaursingh
    The Beatles invented heavy metal? What kind of sh*t are you smoking man?
    notaconotaco
    Helter Skelter? The Beatles inventing heavy metal is a pretty widely accepted fact.
    jonathanb2
    The Beatles were far too simplistic to have invented heavy metal.
    LazerMoose420
    complexity has nothing to do with metal... look at sabbath, arguably the first metal band... Also if you think that there is no complexity in the beatles you just arent listening, people are still disecting their chord arrangements, books have been written about the hard days night chord.
    MaidenisGOD89
    I don't know why this is downvoted really. Look, I respect The Beatles and know that they have made an indisputable impact on music and metal, but they themselves did not 'create' metal. Sure they influenced it, but they themselves were not 'the first' metal band, so they were technically not the creators. I have a lot of respect for them though, despite the fact I myself prefer to listen to heavier music.
    Dakatsu
    The Beatles often used odd time signatures, and some of their songs (Helter Skelter, Revolution) had some nice gain. That's pretty metal.
    nbzeppelin
    The fact that so many books still name the Beatles "the greatest or most significant or most influential" rock band ever only tells you how far rock music still is from becoming a serious art. Jazz critics have long recognized that the greatest jazz musicians of all times are Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, who were not the most famous or richest or best sellers of their times, let alone of all times. Classical critics rank the highly controversial Beethoven over classical musicians who were highly popular in courts around Europe. Rock critics are still blinded by commercial success: the Beatles sold more than anyone else (not true, by the way), therefore they must have been the greatest. Jazz critics grow up listening to a lot of jazz music of the past, classical critics grow up listening to a lot of classical music of the past. Rock critics are often totally ignorant of the rock music of the past, they barely know the best sellers. No wonder they will think that the Beatles did anything worth of being saved.
    HitmanJenkins
    To be fair, Rock music is relatively a young genre in comparison to Jazz and Classical music. Even if The Beatles did sell a lot of records and amass a fortune, they're still an influential group and I'm not talking about what critics say here, I'm convinced that critics ultimately have little to no power, Rolling Stone hated Black Sabbath and Rush, yet they're still immensely popular as an example, I'm talking about musicians. And you know what? I really don't care that Rock isn't seen as a serious art, I don't think that was ever meant to be the point of the genre.
    MaidenisGOD89
    Not really a fan of the beatles, but they really did influence a lot of bands, and for that I have a lot of respect for them. I'm just into louder, heavier music.
    notaconotaco
    Wow... what a shitty bunch of comments. Who doesn't like the Beatles? They invented heavy metal and basically inspired Ozzy Osbourne to start a band, so all of you metal heads who roam here should be worshipping them.
    LazerMoose420
    Genrists dont let them bother you, I'm sure they don't like anything recorded before 1979...
    shredman123
    I like the Beatles but I don't expect people to like them or appreciate them. I mean yeah they were huge but there's no reason trying to change someone's mind about liking or appreciating them, it's just gonna make them dislike you.
    LazerMoose420
    Well considering literally every guitar based band today owes their success to the beatles, I think It's fair to say that if you don't appreciate the beatles you dont really like music. I mean I can understand if it's not your thing, but music is like reading or watching a movie, you may prefer horor over comedy, but if you cant enjoy a good narative then you arent a movie/reading fan
    bongburn3r666
    Youre an idiot
    LazerMoose420
    Nice comback!
    MattHessing
    Please explain how "literally every guitar based band today owes their success to the beatles". No, you're an idiot.
    LazerMoose420
    Okay so guitar got popular in america thanks to eddie cochran and surf rock and stuff. Then that stuff got to england... The beatles being the best and most public examp0le of that... All the kids that ran out and started bands because of that... Yeah you can thank the beatles... Bands playing arena, music videos, lyric sheets, double albums, concept albums... Open your damn eyes...
    Beatlephenia
    Look turds, The Beatles created "Rock" music. Before them in was Rock and Roll.....music to dance too. They came along and ushered in the singer song writer. Invented studio album rock and single handedly legitimized Rock as an art form. Dudes, the beatles are when people stop dancing and started listening to the music.
    CharlesDickens
    Even if you don't like the Beatles, I'm sure there is a lot you can learn from a songwriting standpoint. I mean Howard Goodall dedicated a whole 50min episode to them.
    WholeLottaIzzy
    Stones > Beatles. FACT.
    mitchy86
    People need to stop comparing bands like this. Music isn't a competition.