Anthrax’s Scott Ian remembers the first time he heard Alice in Chains – They were Black Sabbath Heavy

When you really like a certain band, you often have a vivid memory of the first time you listened to them. Anthrax‘s Scott Ian remembered the first time he heard Alice in Chains in a new interview, admitting that he originally thought they were a hair band, but was blown away.

Ian told Metal hammer that his first exposure to the Seattle rockers was when Anthrax, Megadeth and Kills were choosing who they would support them on the American leg of their massive Battle of the Giants trip. Dave Mustaine gave Ian a CD copy of Alice’s debut album Face lift To listen to.

“I hadn’t even heard of them and I thought it was a hair band. And I put it on in the car on the way home and I was blown away. I couldn’t believe how fucking good it was,” he recalled. “It wasn’t thrash and it wasn’t ’80s hard rock. They had riffs, hooks, vocals, but there was this pop thing about it – I mean, ‘Man in the Box’ is a straight-up pop song in terms of arrangement, but it’s so fucking heavy. Like, Black Sabbath heavy.”

Alas, Alice was invited to attend Battle of the Giants tour, which ran from May to mid-July 1991. Setlist.fm notes that their average set list included 7 songs on that tour, opening with “Would?” – which would originally be released the following year on the soundtrack to the film Singles – and closed with “Man in the Box”.

“I remember the first show they played Battle of the Giants tour and I expected them to just be up there and watch, but they were jumping around and headbanging, Layne [Staley] was in the audience’s faces. He was jumping in the crowd and fighting people,” Ian noted of Alice’s performances.

“There’s a myth of darkness around them, but those guys were just bloody fools. We stayed in the same hotels every day, there were many, many nights spent drinking with them, we’d go fishing with them. But when it came to face thousands of Slayer and Megadeth and Anthrax fans, they wouldn’t back down. I had so much respect for that then, and I still do today.”

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