Motor Sister is turning into the gift that keeps on giving for Anthrax‘s Scott Ian and his all-star cohorts.
The group formed as an ad hoc 50th birthday wish by Ian “to do a Mother Superior show in our jam room.” His wife Pearl Aday (Meat Loaf‘s daughter), who’d been working on her own music with Mother Superior‘s Jim Wilson, made it happen on Jan. 4, 2015, four days after Ian’s birthday, when the group — which also included Joey Vera from Fates Warning and Armored Saint and White Zombie alumnus John Tempesta — played a dozen Mother Superior songs for a very small audience in their home, taking the group name from the Mother Superior song “Little Motor Sister.”
“All we were thinking about was having the experience of playing those songs and having fun and drinking a bunch, ’cause we hadn’t heard them for a long time,” Ian tells Billboard. “(Mother Superior) hadn’t played live and had essentially been broken up for seven, eight years. We weren’t thinking about an album or anything like that.”
Now there is an album, Ride, recorded just three weeks after the show and featuring studio versions of the same 12 tracks. And Ian promises that Motor Sister will be more than just a one-off project. “We’re moving forward with Motor Sister, definitely,” he says. “We definitely intend on writing songs with this line-up, not just pick another 12 songs from the Mother Superior catalog. There are probably one or two Mother Superior songs we may end up recording because we love them so much, but the intent is to move forward and write a bunch of original material with this lineup. I have a lot of ideas already, and Jim says he’s got a bunch of ideas.”
Billboard is exclusively premiering the group’s video for the song “A-Hole.” Watch it below.
Ian says Motor Sister may work on some of those ideas while rehearsing for album-release shows this on Wednesday at the Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood and Thursday at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. And the guitarist hopes the group will be able to hit the road at some point, too. “We’re just waiting on schedules, and it mostly comes down to my schedule with Anthrax,” he says. Hopefully we’ll be able to pick a couple of windows and go out and do shows. We all feel very strongly we’re a band. First and foremost we’re friends; that’s why this happened in the first place. We all hang out and make music together anyway, and we really love each other’s company. So the idea of getting to go out and play shows together is pretty much the best thing we could all imagine doing.”
Anthrax, meanwhile, is in the midst of recording the follow-up to 2011’s Worship Music, a hoped-for release later this year. Ian says the group — which begins a co-headlining tour with Volbeat on April 24 — has about 20 songs it’s working on, which it divided into two batches to record. “My stock answer is it sounds like Anthrax,” Ian says. “But I look at it as our Among the Living of now. Joey (Belladonna, Anthrax’s frontman) came back into the band and we did Worship Music, which in a really big way put us back on the map again. If you go back, Joey’s first album with the band, (1985’s) Spreading the Disease, that was the record that put us on the map and then we followed it up with Among the Living (in 1987). So what we’re doing now feels very much the same as far as following up Worship Music. I really feel like we have something killer, and I remember feeling that way about Among the Living. We have killer songs. I can’t wait for people to hear it.”