On this episode of The Fred Minnick Show, Scott Ian of the seminal thrash-metal band Anthrax takes time to chat with Fred. The band’s co-founder and rhythm guitar player, Ian also is an author and spoken-word story teller. He also was a host on the VH1 show Rock Show for 48 episodes, interviewing rock greats such as Ozzy Osbourne, Ted Nugent and Tenacious D. When he and Fred get together, topics range from his first taste of whiskey (it didn’t go well) to warning labels on music in the 1980s and ’90s to a strange, private jet journey with Tommy Lee of Motley Crue. Naturally, whiskey is shared and discussed along the way.
Maker’s Mark 101 (7:14)
Spirits of French Lick Unpretentious High Rye Bourbon Finished in Port Casks (17:54)
Angel’s Envy Finished in Tawny Port Casks (24:15)
Barrell Bourbon Finished in Pear Brandy Barrels (42:14)
Barrell Bourbon Armida finished in Pear Brandy, Jamaican Rum, and Sicilian Amaro Casks (52:18)
Michter’s Small Batch (1:00:39)
Distillery 291 E Whiskey (1:21:01)
Fred and Scott cover a number of topics, such as:
Scott’s first whiskey ever was a Jack and Coke with Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead. He saw Lemmy in a pub in London, offered to buy him a drink and Lemmy steered him toward the whiskey mixer. The story didn’t necessarily end well. He later began to drink whiskey more regularly with Dimebag Darrell of Pantera.
Fred shares the story of how Brown-Forman came to create the Woodford Reserve brand of bourbon.
Scott loves the Spirits of French Lick Unpretentious and is surprised to learn that it sells for up to $1,000 on the secondary whiskey market. In fact, the whiskey got popular with bourbon lovers even before Fred knew about it.
Scott talks about how the health of hard rock and heavy metal is really good, four or five decades after it began. “It’s like the death business,” he says. “Funeral homes are never going to go out of business. I don’t think guitar-based bands are ever going to go out of business.”
While tasting the Angel’s Envy Port Barrel finished whiskey, Fred talks about it being a “creative” whiskey, noting the distillery started aging in port barrels around 2013 that, at the time, was pushing the boundaries of whiskey-making. He notes that as recently as 2010, the finished whiskey market didn’t really exist. “I think Angel’s Envy deserves a lot of credit for everything that they have done to kind of propel the category,” he says.
That said, Fred doesn’t believe such finished whiskeys should be called “bourbon.”
Fred also talks with Scott about Mexican whiskey and how the products continue to evolve. Of course, we all know Fred is a big tequila and mezcal fan, and Mexico is where those spirits truly begins.
Scott’s wife Pearl Aday makes a surprise appearance and they discuss the duo’s acoustic performance at Fred’s virtual Repeal Day Expo back in December.
Scott likens Fred’s preference for straight bourbon to his own liking of black coffee. “I want to taste the bean … Same with whiskey. I wanted to taste IT.”
Fred again shares his disdain for vodka, a fact Scott already knew from following Fred’s work. “The reason why, it’s not because that the spirit truly genuinely in my heart sucks, it’s because of the business behind vodka, and the history behind vodka and what it did to bourbon in the 1960s, taking it off the shelf.” He also hates that vodka distillers are paying for placement in liquor stores and that distributors often require retail outlets to buy vodka products in order to procure allocated bourbons. “There’s not a vodka magazine. You don’t see vodka groups. It’s an intoxicant and that’s it. … I would probably drink vodka over prisoner toilet wine, but that’s about it.”
The conversation leads to Scott’s experiences as a teen-ager getting ripped on vodka and telling his mom he had “the flu.” He was hung over for four days with fevers, chills, no appetite … now THAT’S a hangover. As a result, he stayed sober through the early years of Anthrax.
When tasting the Barrell Bourbon Armida, both agree it’s unique but not necessarily one they want to drink often – or more than one. Both felt the pear brandy casks were too dominant. “I think in another setting,” Fred says, “I might like it more. I’m not giving up on it.”
Fred tells the story of how Michter’s got its name – it was derived from the names of the founder’s sons.
If you didn’t know before, you know now: Fred spills a lot of bourbon, thanks in part to his little desk “bulging” with stuff.
Scott makes Fred cracking up by riffing on how guitar amplification works. “I can’t believe that it’s even real,” he says, as Fred giggles. “Drums make sense.”
Fred, perhaps feeling his seven pours of whiskey, then says, “I don’t understand how helicopters work.” Scott wasn’t much help. Essentially, he said, helicopters and planes only work “because we believe that they work.”
This leads to Scott’s story about weightlessness during private jet stunt and what he calls a “vomit comet.” Tommy Lee didn’t even spill his drink during the weightlessness dive. “I will go on record and say it’s the most rock star moment I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Fred jokes that while Scott is a talented musician, Fred’s main talent is drinking whiskey. “I would say you have absolutely got life by the balls if that’s your job,” Scott tells Fred. “That’s the best.”