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Q&A – Anthrax Guitarist Scott Ian (Webisode Walker)

The Anthrax guitarist describes his undead cameo in The Walking Dead webisodes and explains why metal music and zombies go hand-in-hand. (The Walking Dead returns with all-new episodes Sun., Feb. 12 at 9/8c on AMC.)

Q: How did the opportunity to play a walker in The Walking Dead webisodes come up?

A: I know Greg Nicotero. We have a mutual friend, Kirk (Hammett) from Metallica. I met Greg as far back as the late ’80s through Kirk because Kirk’s a big collector of horror memorabilia. So I’d gone to the set of the webisodes here in Los Angeles, and got to get made up as a zombie.

Q: Why do metal musicians love horror so much?

A: They’ve always gone hand-in-hand. Metal guys are huge nerds. [Laughs] A good percentage of are either horror or scifi or comic book or fantasy nerds. So, all of a sudden if you have some disposable income, you’re like, “Wow, I can actually buy that zombie head from that movie!”

Q: Anthrax released a zombie-themed single last summer, “Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t.” Did you listen to it to get yourself pumped up for the shoot?

A: [Laughs] I didn’t need to listen to anything to get pumped up for the shoot. I was so excited to get made up by Greg and his team. I was beyond stoked that day. I would have left the makeup on for days if it didn’t itch and tighten my skin up so much.

Q: I read that you actually wore the make-up home. Were you able to prank your family and scare them?

A: No, they were part of the whole thing and followed me home. But at the time, my son was not even three months, so he had no clue. He was at the age where it didn’t matter what I looked like. It didn’t phase him one bit. I’ve got some great pictures of me growling at him right in his face and he’s just looking at me like, “Who cares.”

Q: Not many zombies have four-inch long goatees. Was there a discussion with the makeup people on how to zombify your trademark facial hair?

A: All they did was dirty it up and put some dried blood in it. We talked about it when I first sat down in the chair. Someone asked me, “Who are you and what’s your backstory?” I said, “I’m me. I got bit. My story is I sacrificed myself to save my wife and son and now I’m a zombie. We don’t need to hide my beard or anything. I’m just Scott Ian: Zombie.”

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Q: Did you get to go to the zombie school, where they teach you how to walk like the dead?

A: My day was basically like I was going to zombie boot camp. And once I was made up, I had to show my walk to Joe, one of the main zombies that’s in a lot of the episodes. I was actually nervous. Of all things to be nervous about, I’m like “Oh, now I have to do my zombie walk in front of a pro.” But I had an idea of what to do in my head and I just went for it. And I stopped and Joe was like, “Dude, you nailed it.” I said, “Well, I feel like I’ve been preparing for this my whole life.”

Q: What are some of your favorite zombie movies?

A: My favorite is the original Dawn of the Dead. That’s still the benchmark. That movie seemed the most real to me and still does. It seemed like something that could happen on this planet. I saw it as a kid and it struck a chord, but I saw it recently and it still holds up. What I love about The Walking Dead is it’s a human story, which is to me what makes the comic book so good, but once you jump from the pages of the book to the screen, the gore and the zombies have to look great. The effects are so good and the zombies are done so well.

Q: You lent your voice to the cartoon series Metalocalypse. Would you rather live through a metal or zombie apocalypse?

A: I guess a metal one because it seems less “bite-y.” It may be noisier but I don’t have to worry about getting bit.

Click here to read an interview with Greg Nicotero, The Walking Dead‘s co-executive producer, special fx makeup artist and webisode director.

Click here to watch The Walking Dead webisodes.

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