Released: 2017, De Capo
Reviewed: February 2018
Scott Ian’s second book, mostly comprised of stories of his extra circular (ie. non-Anthrax) activities.
Many years back, I wrote a review of a Metal documentary and in that review I commented that Scott Ian never met a camera he didn’t like. His appearances in Metal documentaries are legendary! A few years later I reviewed his first book, I’M THE MAN, in 2014 I gave it a pretty good review but I pointed out a few elements I thought that were flawed. Unfortunately, for his follow up book, ACCESS ALL AREAS emphasized and amplified those flawed aspects of the debut which resulted in me liking his follow up book even less.
ACCESS ALL AREAS is a nice, fun easy and short read. At 243 pages it is a breeze and the few black and white pictures don’t add too much to the stories. I was hoping for a more detailed explanation/description of the era of Anthrax he skipped in his first book 1996-2009 but, No. He decided to do a mainstream pop-culture type book talking about his experiences outside the band.
Metal fans be warned. There is virtually zero information about Anthrax in this book.
Instead we get exactly 23 anecdotes and stories about his extra-circular activities. As I said in my review of first his first book, Ian got very comfortable dating super-models and hanging out in trendy and exclusive nightclubs in NYC and L.A, and in this book he lets it all hang out. It is not really in any sort of order, he just barfed out a bunch of stories onto the page about the rich and famous people he has met and the places he got to visit.
Here is a list of the people he name-dropped in his new book.
…plus dozens of other people… poker people, zombie people and Hard Rock/Metal people (David Lee Roth, Lemmy, Tony Iommi, the Metallica dudes etc,)…it goes on and on and on. I’m not a pop-culture guy at all so I had to look up who people like Michael Stipe (an alt-rocker) and Andrew Lincoln (actor) are. He seemed very impressed by them. This book kind of comes across as a big list of famous people he has met.
This review may seem largely negative in tone thus far, but it is clear that Ian is a witty, intelligent, and engaging story-teller. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with this guy? He has quite the adventurous life-style based on his charm, charisma and ability to say ‘Yes!’ to any and all bizarre scenarios, sober or otherwise.
ACCESS ALL AREAS is really fun but like a lot of sugary snacks has no substance. (Yes, I deliberately used that age-old food metaphor, sorry!) This is pulp with little to no insight about him or his life. It’s like hearing a story from a stranger talking about how drunk he was, and how much fun the party was…unless you were actually there, the reader has to look in from the outside in a detached sort of way.
He is also a poker fanatic, which is fine, but he drones on and on, (several chapters worth!) about playing cards with EXACT DETAIL about certain hands he played and what cards he was dealt in various celebrity tournaments. I’m not a poker guy so my eyes glossed over when he was going on and on about ‘rivers’ and ‘flops’ and ‘bubbles’ and ‘blinds’ and ‘limps’ and that in-depth poker lingo. It’s great if you are a poker player but if you are not, you have to step back and think, “I’m reading a long, boring story about a guy explaining in great detail about a card game he played 10 years ago.” Not exactly scintillating stuff. Again, it’s only fun if you were there.
This book was written for the generic music fan (ie, not Metal people) who sort of recognize him from TV, and in fact he talks about this phenomena (celebrity culture) at length in his opening chapters. If you are an Anthrax fan and looking for a good read about thrash, this is very poor. Look elsewhere. If you are mainstream pop-culture type person, or die-hard fan of Scott Ian and his ever-growing cult of personality, than this book is perfect!
Format Reviewed: paper book
Publisher: De Capo Press