Riffs

John Bush of Anthrax on War Pigs by Black Sabbath
Click to follow
The Independent Culture
I was nine years old when I first heard "War Pigs", so it would've been 1972. My older brother was a big influence on me in terms of musical taste; he played me a lot of wild stuff at an early age - I was listening to A Hard Day's Night when I was five. "War Pigs" had a particular impact on me because he turned out all the lights and played it to me, and started making all these weird noises. It scared the crap out of me. I was his kid brother, so I guess he felt he had a duty to bust my chops. Like I said, it terrified me, but it had an immediate effect because I went to school the next day and wrote Black Sabbath all over my notebooks and everyone else was like, "Huh? Who are they?" I was very innovative in that respect.

The song made another impact on me the second time around, when I was 16 or 17 and just starting to get involved with bands of my own. There had been other influences - I got into everyone from Kiss to Earth, Wind and Fire - but Sabbath were the main ones. The lyrics to "War Pigs" are about Vietnam, and they're incredible: "Politicians hide themselves away/ They only started the war/ Why should they go out and fight?/ Leave that to the poor". The part that really freaked me out was the last line: "Satan laughing spreads his wings". It was about how the politicians will all have to face this day of judgement, though at nine I didn't know that. I just heard the bit about Satan and went running for mommy.

The audience at Anthrax shows are young, so maybe they discovered us the way I discovered Sabbath - someone using our music to scare the hell out of them.

Comments