I admit , even though being a music fan growing up in the 1980s, I do not know much about guitarist Scott Ian. I know he is in the band Anthrax, was featured on the many VH1 specials, married singer Meatloaf’s daughter, and was in the show “Supergroup” with Sebastian Bach and Ted Nugent. Anthrax was not a band I listened to (they were too heavy for my likings, as I listened to more of the glam music from the area), but he seemed to an interesting person. In his latest book “Access All Areas: Stories from a Hard Rock Life” (Da Capo Press, 2017), Ian takes the reader on a fun (and wild) ride with some of his tales from the road and the people he met on the way.
The book’s chapters are not chronologically set, and just filled with stories that Ian wanted to tell, which makes the book more enjoyable. The book feels like the reader is sitting in a room while Ian is just letting stories fly, filled with humor and tales that only musicians could experience.
One of the early tales that he tells is how he grew up in New York as a KISS fan, and being made fun of for liking the band (even though he was a fan of bands that his other classmates enjoyed, like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin). This tale, much like the many KISS fans around the world experienced growing up, as many early Kiss fans were bullied and ridiculed for liking the band which most radio stations and critics hated. The touching story goes on to discuss how Ian would go to his local record store and await the latest KISS album to come out, along with asking every day if the band was coming to their area in concert. Ian tells the reader about the time he ended up giving his father KISS “Alive” album for his father’s birthday. The chapter goes on to describe finally seeing the band live for the first time, along with a few problems that occurred before the show with one of his friends that went to the show with him.
“Access All Areas” goes on to describe the events when Ian went to see the band Rage Against The Machine with Pop star Madonna, and the rest of the night’s festivities, to him and his friends searching for the ghost of actor John Belushi, when the band was on the television show “Married With Children,” and being cast on the show “The Walking Dead.”
Ian covers funny stories that the reader will enjoy, like the time hemet R.E.M. Singer Michael Stipe, Ian partying with celebrity chefs, baseball players, the time he broke into Metallica’s Kirk Hammett’s house to jam, and when he was recording an album with Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister was in the same studio (it would not be a crazy Rock and Roll book without a Lemmy encounter!!). The one chapter tells what Ian considers his wildest moment that he’s been a part of, which involves Nine Inch Nails Singer Trent Reznor.
Besides the touchy story about his love for KISS, another favorite story involves Dimebag Darrell’s pranking Ian late at night (along with Drowning Pool’s “Dave Williams), along with Ian’s revenge prank later.
The book is not all Rock and Roll stories. The book covers quite a bit of Ian’s love for poker, where he ended up being on several poker competitions. The longest chapters in the book actually covers how he first got into poker, along with his love of playing, including playing online while Anthrax was performing on stage, and the time he played online poker without knowing it after partying all night. Even though Ian tries to explain some of the terms and parts of the game to the reader (for understanding the stories he was telling), this was the least exciting part of the book. This is not a knock on the author (it’s his book- he can write what he wants), but even after the explaining of the terms, this reader was still lost. However, even though I am not a fan , nor understand the poker terms of the game, this just shows that the uniqueness of Scott Ian, not being just a rock guy who plays loud, fast music, and shows his depth as a person in his love for other hobbies.
Overall, the book is one of the better music books that I have read in a while, especially since I was not that familiar with Ian, aside from the facts listed earlier. The book comes in at 243 pages, and has mostly short chapters (besides the poker ones), which makes it a read without unnecessary parts just to fill pages. The writing keeps the reader engaged throughout (I read the whole book in less than three days), and was surprisingly entertained throughout. Even if the reader is not too familiar with Ian or Anthrax (which isn’t needed to read the book-there is not many references that one needs to know the history of the band), there are great stories that will make the reader laugh out loud.
Thanks to Da Capo Press and Hatchette Book Group for the copy of this book to review.
“Access All Areas: Stories from a Hard Rock Life” by Scott Ian (2017, Da Capo Press ISBN: 978-0-306-82523-1) can be found at : http://www.dacapopress.com .
For more about Scott Ian, go to: http://www.scott-ian.com