Scott Ian is most recognisable as the rhythm guitarist for Anthrax, but on this tour of the UK, he is on stage, all-alone with nothing but a microphone to keep him company.

R13: This is the last Speaking Words show of the tour, how has the show been going down?
SI: Good, easy. The response has been better than I ever could have expected. I really didn't know what to expect, truthfully, so I kept my expectations extremely low. Most people will see something saying "Scott Ian of Anthrax, Speaking Words" and just be like "What the fuck is that? What does that mean?" More people took a risk by coming out than I ever thought would.

R13: Do you think that there were a lot of misconceptions that you would be doing a poetry reading?
SI: That's why I called it Speaking Words instead of spoken word. To me, spoken word makes it sound a lot fancier than it really is. Although, that is not to say what I talk about isn't very poetic in its own way... If swearing a lot is poetic.
R13:It is to me!
SI: (Laughs) me too!

R13: With all the amazing experiences you would have had over the years, how did you choose what to talk about?
SI: I have figured out in the last two weeks that just the show I'm doing very easily reaches three hours, and that is based on four stories and a Q&A. I've easily got 20 stories written right now, with the idea that I will put it a book eventually. It just came out of these stories that go beyond the 30 odd years I've been in the band. They are stories I've told with my friends in bars for many, many years and I was able to talk those and entertain people with them. Instead of sitting in a bar with my friends, I'm now standing in a bar with my friends who are also my audience.
They're just stories in my mind that are that good; that would entertain people, to the point that I knew that I could stand onstage with a microphone and not feel like an asshole in front of these people that have paid to come and see me. I could do a 20 hour show, physically I couldn't, but I easily have enough material for that.

R13: Last time you were at The Garage, you did a spoken word show as part of 'Rock Stars Say The Funniest Things' was that the inspiration to do a full tour or was that something that had already crossed your mind?
SI: It was that night; I came off stage and was so happy with how it went that I asked my agent right on the stop if they could put more of it together, and that's how this tour came to be.

R13: I read recently that 'Got The Time' was played on Mars by some NASA employees, how did that make you feel?
SI: I guess I thought it was cool, a lot of people made a big deal out of it and were saying it was the first heavy metal song to be played on Mars but I kind of felt it was a bit arrogant to say that, because how do we know? We don't know what's going on under the skin of that planet, for all we know Martians have their own metal scene or Martians have been listening to metal from earth since there was metal because airwaves travel through space. Got The Time could have been an old song to them and they could have been like "Play us new Anthrax!". I think it is an arrogant thing to assume it is the first metal song ever to be played on Mars. It made me think of something ridiculous, so I guess I did get something out of it.
R13: Are you going to use that as part of your campaign to be the new Doctor?
SI: I talk about that tonight actually.

R13: You've been part of a lot of package tours throughout your career. Ideally, what are the key elements that make a really good bill?
SI: Bands that people like? For me, it's bands that get along and want to spend time together. If you're going to spend that much time with someone else it should be someone you will enjoy hearing every night and whose company you don't mind. If you were on tour with someone you couldn't stand; regardless of business, it would suck to be out there.
I guess most people would say "have a bunch of bands that will sell a bunch of tickets" but for me, I'd rather be out there with somebody I actually get along with.
R13: I guess that means all the rumours about rivalry between the Big 4 is nonsense...
SI: Even back in the day, in my mind there was never any rivalry. We were all so drastically different as bands, we all knew how different we were from each other despite the media and the public lumping us all together. You could never say us, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica sound anything alike, so for me that's why there wasn't any rivalry. Sure, we were all metal bands but we all had our own thing going on.
R13: Not even between you and Kerry over who has the best shaved head and beard?
SI: No! His beard crushes my beard; mine doesn't even come close! (Laughs)

R13: Speaking of beards; I've heard that people often ask if they can touch your beard – is that true and how do you react to that?
SI: I talk about that tonight too, it happens all the time. I don't why anyone feels the need to do that, nor do I understand why they think someone would let them. How weird would it be if I wanted people to touch my beard all the time? I don't know where your hands have been, you don't know where my beard has been; I've always said it even when women come up to me. I guess women may assume that because they are a woman I would want them to touch my beard, that's like me assuming you want me to run my fingers through your hair. Imagine if a stranger walking down the street ran their fingers through your hair and said "your hair looks nice", it's fucking creepy and you could probably get arrested for that. So, no I do not want anyone touching my beard other than my wife and my son.

R13: Anthrax has an EP of rock covers out, how did you choose which songs to cover?
SI: We didn't choose the songs, cover songs choose us. Cover songs are songs that we all know already and have been jamming on. In the case of Anthems all those songs are older than Anthrax, they are songs we all knew. If we have to put any work into it at all, it defeats the purpose of the fun in doing cover songs. Over the past couple of years on tour we just recorded them because we also really like hearing ourselves play other people's music. Since day one in this band, anyone we have covered is strictly for fun.

R13: Who would you most like to hear cover one of your songs?
SI: Lady Gaga.
R13: Interesting choice.
SI: Strictly because if she covered an Anthrax song, we'd probably make more money of that than we have in album sales ever!

R13: You've been confirmed as a host for this year's Kerrang! Awards; how did you first become involved with that and what keeps pulling you back?
SI: I need to ask them this year, how many years I've been doing it. I'm confused, I don't know if it's my seventh or eighth year. I'm pretty sure it's my seventh. They'll probably be like "We don't fucking know, do you think we're keeping count?". I just want to know so that I'll know when it is my tenth time. Corey Taylor and I have done it at least four times, and I think I did it for three years without him. Anyway, I don't know how I became involved, ages ago I just got a call out of the blue asking if I'd like to be involved, and it seemed like it would be a fun thing to do. I'd been to the Kerrang! Awards before as a non-host, then I was being asked to host this really cool party and event. I bought Kerrang! as a kid, it was practically my bible in the early eighties, so to get to be a part of the magazine's history was a no brainer for me.
R13: It is always a good night.
SI: Yeah! It is still fun for me, if it wasn't it wouldn't do it. Even if I wasn't doing this talking tour, I would have probably have flown in today to host the awards on Thursday.

R13: Earlier this year you were nominated for a Grammy, how did that feel?
SI: I don't care at all. It means nothing. It is not like being a big pop band where if you win a Grammy or two, you'll sell a shit tonne more records. It doesn't matter, they don't even televise the metal Grammy, it is completely under the radar, nobody even knows about it. It is a thankless, pointless thing and we honestly do not give a fuck about being recognised by anyone other than people who actually listen to our music.

R13: What has been your proudest career moment to date and what do you feel you still have left to achieve?
SI: My proudest career moment is my career, the fact that next month will be 32 years since I co-founded this band. You could maybe count on two or three hands the amount of bands that have been doing this for this long at this level. I just think that is an amazing thing to have accomplished, we are in this and 32 years later and still making records and still touring. That for me, is definitely my proudest achievement. I think we still have a few good records in us, I think our last album proves that. We still have a lot to say musically and creatively and we're all itching to get back into it, which will happen, in the next few months with the view to have a new record out next year. I'm really looking forward to the next record because the success of the last record and the run we've been on for the last few years, things are better than ever for us. It makes me really excited to do it all again.

R13: As well as making music and presenting, you also act, play poker and write comics, how do you manage your time and juggle all those things?
SI: (Laughs) I don't balance it! Shit just comes along and if it is something I really want to do, I just try to make it work. It is not easy, that's for sure; especially the travelling. Writing comics is easy because I'm home. The travelling stuff is tough, originally this tour was happening in a window of time where I had three months off from the band, but then that changed. Just as I booked this tour, Anthrax suddenly had a South American tour that butted right up to these dates. So, instead of me just being away for two weeks, I was suddenly going to be away for five weeks, I couldn't cancel or postpone this tour. It made for a lot more travelling than I was expecting. There's an old cliché that they don't pay me to play shows, they pay me to travel because that is the hard part of being in a band. It is hard to schlep around the world and be away from your family; that sucks. I've really enjoyed doing these shows and I think it has opened another door for me, so, as hard as it is to be away from home, I am really glad I came and did it.

R13: What can we expect to see from you for the remainder of the year?
SI: Anthrax has another run from the end of July and into August, then we have a show in LA with Iron Maiden, and then we are officially done with touring for the last album. After that we will be 100 percent focused on new material.

R13: Sounds great, thank you for time and I hope you have a good show tonight.
SI: Awesome, cheers!