This interview originally appeared in Revolver magazine in 2011.
"AC/DC is my favorite band of all time," says guitarist Scott Ian, who is best known for his work with thrash legends Anthrax but who recently released Ironiclast (Island) with the hard-rock supergroup the Damned Things. "Angus [Young, AC/DC guitarist] is 10 years older than me. I watch the level at which he still performs and it makes me think, I gotta go at least 10 more years. If I can't give as much as Angus, I shouldn't even be onstage."
It's no surprise then that Ian has paid tribute to his heroes with the Angus and Malcolm Young tattoos you see here. His love of the band is so great, in fact, that despite mostly retiring from getting tattoos ("I don't have patience for the pain anymore!"), he's still considering getting one last big one. "I've always wanted to get a portrait of [original AC/DC singer] Bon Scott," he says. "I haven't been able to find the right picture of him, but I could wake up any day with the greatest idea and go do it."
1. ANGUS AND MALCOLM YOUNG
"Kat Von D did both of these. I've been friends with her for years. Up to that point she'd just done these little late-night drunken tattoos on me, like the 666 on my knuckle. When I decided to get the Angus and Malcolm portraits, I knew I wanted Kat because she does the best portraits. She asked me if she could do it on the L.A. Ink show, I was like, 'Of course!'"
2. GENE SIMMONS DEMON
"This one is a Paul Booth piece, and it means a whole lot to me. When I went to Paul, I said, 'I want Gene Simmons as seen through your eyes. Imagine if Gene stole his makeup from a real demon, I want that demon.' Paul is perfect for anything like that. It's actually not finished yet. The snake head that ends on my foot is only outlined. He's still got about four hours of shading left. The reason I got Gene is because Gene and KISS are the reason I first wanted to be in a band. I first saw them when I was 13. I walked out of that show knowing what I wanted to do with my life, and I haven't left that path since."
3. BLACK TOOTH
"I got this one after Dimebag Darrell got killed. Bob Tyrrell did it on me. A bunch of us got these as our tribute to Dime."
4. AMERICAN FLAG METAL HORNS
"This symbol is from a guy named Erik Brunetti, who founded the clothing company Fuct. This was originally a T-shirt design. I love his shit, and he's also a friend of mine. At some point I told him, 'Dude, I'm gonna get a tattoo of your American metal horns.' He didn't believe that I'd do it. But I did, and he ended up putting it on one of their catalogs. It just represents what I'm about and it's on my right picking hand, where all my power comes from."
"I got these Kanji symbols in Tokyo, and they mean 'Patience.' I've got more patience than anyone I know … except when it comes to tattoo pain! [Laughs]"