One month ago, Slayer axe-wielder Jeff Hanneman was sidelined upon contracting an almost poetically metal-sounding flesh-eating virus. And today, Anthrax founding guitarist and haute-goatee enthusiast Scott Ian released a prosaic announcement that he will miss his band’s upcoming European/UK gigs, and will be replaced for those dates by Sepultura’s equally preeminent Andreas Kisser. Ian’s absence will include appearances at the already legendary “Big 4” shows, which are set to feature Anthrax and Slayer, in addition to headliners Megadeth and Metallica, on one bill for the first time in their collective thrashing history.
Except in Ian’s case, it’s not a horrific skin infestation keeping him back, but rather the impending birth of his son. In Ian’s own, slightly more sentimental words:
This decision to miss these shows was a deeply personal one. I co-founded this band July 18, 1981 and for almost 30 years, I have been there for everything we've ever done. I have never been faced with anything that would make me even question being there for anything Anthrax-related. Becoming a father is the biggest, best thing that's ever happened to me, and it made the decision relatively easy. My priority is with my wife and the birth of our first child.
Said devil-horned spawn is actually due April 23, better known to frothing U.S. metal fans as the very day that Anthrax and the other Big 4 are scheduled to play Indio, CA’s Coachella site together. Fear not though, slam-pit acolytes, as Ian will be joining Joey, Frank, Charlie and Rob on stage that day, and for ensuing trips to Manila, Bangkok and Japan.