Aug. 22, 1982. Scott Ian is trekking from Queens to New Jersey with a friend named Jimmy to see Black Sabbath at the then-named Brendan Byrne Arena. It’s the Mob Rules Tour, and Ronnie James Dio is just two years in with the band following Ozzy Osbourne’s firing. Ian doesn’t believe Jimmy personally knows Dio as both head to the Meadowlands Hilton and knock on a door.
“I hear, ‘Hey, is that Jimmy?’ ” remembers Ian. “And he’s like, ‘Yeah, Ronnie, it’s me.’ He’s like, ‘Hey, man. I just got out of the shower. I’ll slide your tickets and passes under the door, and I’ll see you after the show.’ I could hear the voice, and it was him.”
After the show, Ian met his hero face-to-face and told him about his new band Anthrax — which at that point hadn’t performed much and was attempting to write songs — and was met with a “Good luck with that and keep working hard.”
Five years later to the day, Anthrax is on the bill for the Monsters of Rock Festival at England’s Castle Donington Raceway along with Dio. Backstage, Ian is reunited with Dio, who greets him with, “Hey, Anthrax.”
“I’m like, ‘You remember?’ ” says Ian incredulously. “He was like, ‘You were backstage at the Mob Rules show in Jersey. You told me about your band. Look at you. You’re here. You’re on the bill. You made it.’ “