Home » Founding Anthrax Bassist Reminisces About Neil Turbin’s Ultimatum Leading to His Dismissal

Founding Anthrax Bassist Reminisces About Neil Turbin’s Ultimatum Leading to His Dismissal

Reflecting on the early days of Anthrax, original bassist Dan Lilker shared insights into the circumstances leading to his abrupt departure from the group during a conversation on the Talk Louder podcast.

In the discussion, Lilker revealed previously undisclosed details about the incident. Discussing Scott Ian and his bandmates’ stance before his firing, the bassist explained:

“It was more like Neil had told the other guys, ‘I’m tired of dealing with Danny, it’s him or me.’ I would bust his balls because he had no sense of humor. And it was easy… Obviously, I wasn’t thrilled when I was thrown out. And Scott was put very much between a rock and a hard place because I guess Neil’s pushing to have [me] thrown out, and then nobody had done anything. So, Neil took it upon himself to call me up and just throw me out of the band himself. ”Watch the full interview below.

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Lilker’s Perspective on the Firing

Lilker, a co-founder of Anthrax alongside Scott Ian, played a pivotal role in the band’s formation in 1981. However, his tenure with the group unexpectedly concluded just before the release of their debut album ‘Fistful of Metal’ in January 1984.

In the same Talk Louder interview, Lilker disclosed that he was ‘asked to leave and had no choice’ due to disagreements with then-vocalist Neil Turbin. Describing the tensions, Lilker highlighted differing interpretations of professionalism between him and Turbin:

“Let’s just say that Neil and I had different definitions of what professional meant. I was more into making sure that the songs were good and well played and rehearsed. It wasn’t just about what you looked like and how you appeared.”

Neil Turbin, the band’s vocalist at the time, departed from Anthrax himself in August 1984, only seven months after Lilker’s departure. The period between Lilker’s exit and Turbin’s departure was marked by internal conflicts and a lack of direction within the band.

Scott Ian’s Contemplation and Turbin’s Reaction to the Situation

In his autobiography ‘I’m The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax,’ Scott Ian deemed this period as ‘the worst moment for me in the history of Anthrax.’ He asserted that Turbin’s decision to dismiss Lilker primarily revolved around trivial matters of physical appearance, particularly differences in height on stage:

“The biggest d*ck move Neil ever pulled was when he fired Danny Lilker behind our backs after ‘Fistful’ came out in January 1984. The main reason he did it, in my opinion, was because Danny was taller than him. He honestly didn’t think someone should be taller than the frontman onstage. He thought it made him look bad, so he tried to stand as far away from Danny as possible, which was hard when we were playing stages the size of ping-pong tables.”

Turbin has since contradicted these claims, dismissing Ian’s book as a ‘work of fiction’ and expressing disappointment over the negative portrayal. In a 2009 interview, Turbin discussed a fractured relationship within the band, particularly with Scott Ian and Charlie Benante.

Apart from personal and professional conflicts, financial disputes also marred the band’s unity. In a 2023 interview, Turbin accused Anthrax of failing to compensate him for his contributions during his tenure as the band’s vocalist.

In January 2014, Lilker announced his retirement plans. Turbin also remains relatively inactive in the scene. As for Anthrax, they are set to hit the road in April, with scheduled dates spanning from April 15 to May 16. You can grab your ticket here.

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