Ex-Anthrax Guitarist Greg Walls Talks Lost Opportunity to Replace Dave Mustaine in Metallica
Greg Walls ex- Anthrax guitarist (1981-1983) talks about Metallica in 1983 in New York as the band was preparing to record Kill em all, his lost opportunity to replace Dave Mustaine in Metallica, how he was not was given songwriting credits on Fistful of Metal and at how he quit Anthrax out of fear that Scott Ian might fire him in the future
On how Greg Walls joined Anthrax
“I worked for Toys R US as a kid and I met Scott we must have been 17 we were all really young, he used to have a little earring and long hair and we used to talk and I said do you have a band and he said my bands name is Anthrax and I said Amtrack like the train, he said Anthrax it’s a disease. We worked together and we become pretty good friends when I got into playing with them I went to this music building. I played with him and Danny Lilker (bass Nuclear Assault), Dave Weiss who was a childhood friend of Scott. They weren’t really musicians. Scott never really practiced and Danny had a lot of musical knowledge but Danny sort of was like every note that he played 70% notes 30% noise that’s why he couldn’t record. But we used to love each other’s company. “
On how Greg Walls did not get credit for his musical contribution on Anthrax first album ‘Fistful of Metal’
“I wrote (the music) ‘Panic’ and I wrote (Music) ‘Metal Thrashing Mad’, I wrote those two songs, the only part in Panic where there is a double lead towards the end Danny Lilker wrote and the rest of the songs on the first album (Fistful of Metal) I had a little hand in writing stuff here and there. So there is a little of me in a lot of that stuff. It was very hurtful actually to go and actually see the album and look at it and not see my name at all that was very weird. Especially thinking that I really loved the guy (Scott Ian).”
On turning Anthrax into a professional band
“I think I contributed a lot not only with the music but getting the band together with serious musicians that would have never happened if it wasn’t for me. Even Scott’s name, Scott Ian (Scott Rosenfeld). I told him to do that. I said Rosenfeld sounds like a pharmacy. About a month later he said I think you are right Scott Ian does sound like a cool name.”
On his recollections of Meeting Metallica in 1983 in the Music Building in Jamaca, Queens, New York
“I didn’t know who the hell they were I didn’t know what they sounded like and I really didn’t think it was a big deal. I went to the rehearsal room very early and I was there before everybody else and Metallica came to the door I didn’t know them I joked around with them . So they said listen we are going to play a set you want to come upstairs to our room and listen to our set and I was alone and I said ok. They went through all their tunes and they were fucken tight, so fucken tight. Metallica was sleeping in sleeping bags on the floor, in the Music building it was like a bombed out building ,it was a mess.
On his time with Cliff Burton
"Well Cliff had this tough guy Clint Eastwood personality but I was such a clown and I was doing voices and I got through to him I used to make him laugh. He seemed like he had this exterior tough metal player but he was a very sweet guy."
On His lost opportunity to replace Dave Mustaine in Metallica
"Dave Mustaine was not a very warm person and maybe cause he was not getting along with the band and he had some demons. I know he was a drinker. There was stuff going on like when you see a husband and a wife and they are not getting along and you don’t know them. Eventually Dave did get fired and he went to Dan Lilker’s house, took a shower and he was crying like a baby and he took the bus back."
"I was there when there was no guitar player and I thought about it like what the hell they are looking for a guitar player. I really regretted all that later I saw how they were the Led Zeppelin of the 90’s, they were huge and I thought, you idiot you could have had a gigantic house on the hill. At the time there was no mention of Kirk Hammett, they were looking and I remember they were thinking of different people but there was nobody . When Kirk eventually came in we used to play together. I didn’t think Kirk Hammett was so great I thought Mustaine was great, I thought Dave Mustaine was a fantastic guitar player."
On why he left Anthrax out of fear that Scott Ian would fire him
"I went to college a few times and I dropped out cause I kept going back into the band and I kept seeing this guy( Scott Ian) is really motivated to do something for himself and I thought I was going to end up being 40 years old watching TV with my mother and being a bum and I said I just don’t want to see this for myself I’m not getting paid, I’m not an important member. I’m just going to be one day thrown out like a piece of garbage after I helped him.
I loved Scott Ian and Danny Lilker and I would have definitely stayed if I knew there was a future and if I knew Scott Ian wouldn’t fuck me over. I have seen him do things to people that were close to him , he got rid of people and I said man this is not a way to go for me for my future. I was intelligent to put those things together and I quit I wrote him a note put it on the door I took my equipment 2 in the morning one day.”
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