Scott Ian: Pearl Vision

Originally published in Guitar World, February 2010

Scott Ian sees a big year ahead for Anthrax while he continues performing with his wife in Pearl.

Little Immaculate White Fox may be Pearl Aday’s debut album with her eponymously named band, but it’s hardly the singer’s first foray into music. Aday, who is the stepdaughter of Meat Loaf, has toured and recorded with her stepfather over the years and performed with Filter, Ace Frehley and Mötley Crüe. Now, with Pearl, she is crafting her own music, a blend of hard rock, blues and soul that is topped by her powerful vocals, which contain more than a hint of the ballsy wail associated with the woman she’s named after—Janis Joplin.

“Janis is definitely an influence,” says Aday, whose mother christened her in tribute to the late blues-rock singer, who was nicknamed Pearl. “And obviously, my dad is a rock and roll guy, so I grew up with rock and roll music around me constantly. It’s in my skin.”

Of course, rock fans might recognize another familiar strain in Pearl’s music—the guitar playing of Anthrax’s Scott Ian, who is Aday’s husband. The two met in 1999 when Anthrax were out on the Maximum Rock summer package tour. “We were drinking buddies,” says Aday, who at the time was working as a backup singer for the bill’s headliner, Mötley Crüe. They quickly became a couple, and when Pearl decided to form her own project, Ian jumped onboard.

Ian says playing in his wife’s band is a welcome change from his work with Anthrax. “It’s kick-ass to just play guitar in a straightup rock-and-roll band,” he says. “I really get to live out my Malcolm Young fantasies when I perform with Pearl.”

Though there’s a “straight-up” rock vibe to Pearl songs like “Rock Child” and the slide-guitar-driven “Love Pyre,” the music on Little Immaculate White Fox runs the gamut from modern hard rock (“Broken White”) to soulful ballads (“My Heart Isn’t In It”) to funk-rock (a cover of Ike & Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits”). It’s a varied mix, but, Aday says, “that’s what rock and roll is all about.”

In addition to performing with Pearl, Ian will spend much of 2010 focused once again on Anthrax. After a tumultuous 2009—during which the band split with frontman Dan Nelson and shelved the album it recorded with him, Worship Music—Anthrax reunited with former singer John Bush, who joined the thrash legends for a series of festival appearances late last summer. Ian says, “It’s been four years since John was in the band, but the festival shows went so fucking great. It was a seamless transition, and that opened the door to a bigger discussion.”

Though that bigger discussion still looms, Bush is onboard to join Anthrax at select shows in 2010, including a stint next summer on the Sonisphere Festival in Europe, as part of a bill that will also feature Metallica. “So in that regard, John Bush is now the singer for Anthrax,” Ian says. As for the still-unreleased Worship Music, the guitarist confirms that the version recorded with ex-singer Nelson will not see the light of day. Instead, much of the music will be reworked for a future release, possibly with Bush at the helm.

“We’re hoping to be able to finish the record with John as the singer,” Ian says. “I know that I, for one, want that to be the case. But we haven’t gotten there yet. Right now, we’re just doing some shows together, and enjoying being friends again.”

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