Scott Ian Admits Stressing Over Guitar Hero Malcolm Young’s Passing

Although we now use social media as a form of archive, writing has been one of the most important vessels for ‘permanence’ since the very beginning of human history. It seems like Scott Ian is aware of the importance of writing and pens every sentence with great seriousness. In a recent interview with Appetite for Distortion, the musician explained why he takes the job so seriously, even while writing a tribute to Malcolm Young on his Instagram.

“Yeah, well, I take any writing I do, like, very, very seriously,” the guitarist replied when the conversation came to the tribute he wrote to Malcolm after his passing. “Even if it’s like a blurb for somebody’s book. Like, I get asked, can you write a blurb for the back cover? And I’ll agonize over one sentence because I take writing in general very seriously.”

Ian continued, “Because when I basically raised my hand in the band meeting a million years ago when after ‘Fistful of Metal’ and Neil Turbin was gone, and he had written all the lyrics on that record, ‘So now who’s going to write the lyrics?’ And I was just kind of like, ‘I will.’”

When he took on the task of writing songs in Anthrax, he had no idea about it, but he found his own way. The musician added, “Not having any f*cking idea what that meant or how or what or when or any of it. But I just figured, like, ‘I’ll try. In worst-case scenarios, it’s terrible, and someone else will give it a shot.’ But I truly believe there was a part of me that believed something I could do.”

Since the day he took this job, he started taking writing very seriously, as he revealed, “So I was like, ‘I’ll try.’ And from that day forward, I’ve taken writing extremely seriously because I understood the task I was taking, that we’ve got this music that’s intense, and the lyrics have to be just the same.”

Scott Ian also noted, “They have to be on the same level as the music we’re making; otherwise, it’s not going to be a balance there. So the lyrics count. And I’ve always taken that extremely seriously. And then that started to cross over and other things I’ve gotten to do in my life, whether it’s books or comics that I’ve written or anything, I take it really seriously.”

Referring to his tribute to Malcolm, the guitarist said, “So, yeah, even when I wrote probably whatever it was on social media after Malcolm died, I remember agonizing over paying tribute to my hero because I want to make sure I say what I really feel. I want people to feel what I’m feeling about this guy. And that’s sometimes hard to get across. I’m glad [your fan] enjoyed what I had to say about Malcolm because it was super important to me.”

His tribute to Malcolm Young was a heartfelt ode to a musical legend, a vivid expression of the deep reverence that Ian feels for the late AC/DC icon. In his words, Scott paid homage to Young’s virtuosity, describing him as the greatest rhythm guitarist of all time, with a percussive and economic style that was simply unparalleled. He spoke of how Young’s riffs, feel, and tone were the very essence of AC/DC and how they continue to inspire countless musicians around the world.

For Scott Ian, Malcolm Young was not just an important figure but an integral part of his own musical journey. He was a source of inspiration that shaped his own approach to music as a rhythm guitarist. He has always been open about how Young’s music has lived within him, always present and guiding his every note. So, actually, it’s no surprise that he took this tribute post seriously, even though it’ll be lost in the fast-paced and dizzying flow of Instagram.

Photo Credit: Scott Ian – Instagram