Let’s see here: mid June of 1987. I was graduating from Silver Creek High School in eastside San Jose, California in a few days. MY gf’s brother’s friend had Among the Living on casssette and we were hanging out in someone’s garage and someone popped in the tape. I heard the title track and blew my fuckin’ top, pretty much. I had never heard songs nor double bass drumming played at that speed before. The guitar was heavy and muted, the singer actually sang, and they were kinda silly dudes. I loved that. They’re from New York? RAD!!
During my graduation ceremony where you walk across the stage, I did my “walkin’ dude” strut. My dad was less than impressed. Killjoy.
At this point in time, Van Halen had disappointed me with 5150 and I was dying for a new favorite band. I was always in search of something heavier, but with a GOOD LEAD GUITARIST. Sometimes you settle for good leads, shit songs, or vice versa. Then, at some stage, you just end up liking the whole thing for what it is. But I always wanted to hear Paul Gilbert and Guthrie solo in Meshuggah. I went from Van Halen, AC/DC, Scorpions, Dokken, to Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeath, Testament, Exodus, etc. Anthrax is a good gateway Thrash band to get into. And I thank them for introducing me to a cool new musical direction (as well as making my picking hand tight as all hell!)
Muted power chords and serious downstrokes would become an integral part of my life thanks to Scott and Danny. Shit, that reminds me, I NEED an Among the Living shirt! Ratt first. Soo many good tracks on ATL. I like them all!!
Why I love Anthrax: Among the Living, first and foremost. My God I could not get enough of that album. And I really like Dan Spitz’s leadwork. He had chops and cool ideas. I love that guy!
I even saw the Among the Living tour, Anthrax and KISS played in SF. We spoke to Scott and Charlie out the back of the venue near their tour bus before the gig. I asked Scott, “How’s the wife?” as I recently found out that he got married. What I didn’t know was that the marriage was going to shit, so when he looked at me and answered “fine” through gritted teeth, I had no idea. I was 19 for fuck’s sake! Anthrax went on first and rushed the songs (I didn’t even know that was possible), and they killed it. Then KISS came on and we left after 4 songs, ha ha ha!!
I also ADORED SOD Speak English or Die, although it took me awhile to get into it. But once I did, I would have no qualms playing Freddy Kruger in my friend Shaun’s car at peak volume with the windows rolled down. This was a weekend ritual for months. And if it wasn’t the car, it was blasted at the Round Table Pizza joint we all worked at. Good times!! I was even Billy Milano in an SOD tribute band, we played once at The Cactus Club (I have to post that on YouTube).
I also thought Anthrax had a great sense of humor, and I liked that they liked Rap, as I did. And no, not the rank shit that so many NU Metal fuckheads churned out, real rap: NWA, UTFO, Slick Rick, etc.
Rock and Metal in California during the late 80’s was encouraged amongst younger folk, as far as I was concerned. All my friends were into metal, the people I worked with were into metal, it was GREAT VIBE!!!
Anthrax, thank you for pulling me out of the cock rock area and gently throwing me overhand into the mosh pit! Thanks to you, I went into a totally different direction of music listening. I’ve seen SO MANY Thrash bands over the years, it’s incredible.
And , like always, if Jon Donais don’t work out, call me. Here’s my audition vid: