Anthrax's Scott Ian: S.O.D. Would Be "Canceled" Today | Revolver

Anthrax's Scott Ian: S.O.D. Would Be "Canceled" Today

Guitarist reflects on politically incorrect side project Stormtroopers of Death
Scott Ian anthrax HUBBARD, Jimmy Hubbard
photograph by Jimmy Hubbard

Formed in 1985 by Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian as a vehicle for a politically incorrect undead character he had drawn named "Sargent D," Stormtroopers of Death (a.k.a. S.O.D.) garnered controversy even back in the day for the deliberately offensive lyrics of songs like "Speak English or Die" and "Fuck the Middle East." But in a new interview with Metal Hammer, Ian says that the band might not even have survived today's sociopolitical climate.

"If it had never existed in 1985 and we tried to put that out today, no matter how hard we tried to explain the joke or the humor, yes, certain sections of people would cancel it," he said of the crossover-thrash supergroup, which also included Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante, former Anthrax bassist Dan Lilker, and Psychos bassist Billy Milano on vocals. "It would have a much harder time now. We didn't have Internet back then."

"If people don't know, Sergeant D is a character that I created, because I wanted to try and make a comic book," Ian further clarified. "I didn't know how to write a comic book, so I wrote songs about this character, who's dead! He's unliving, and therefore he hates anything alive. We explained it a few times in interviews back then, but either people want to hear it or they don't."

If you're among the people who do want to hear it, you can pick up Speak English or Die on commemorative 2LP vinyl at Revolver's shop.