Caggiano surprised fans and colleagues by recently deciding it was time to move on.
The band didn’t know he was thinking along those lines while they worked on upcoming covers EP Anthems during their last European tour.
Ian tells MTV Hive: “It wasn’t until after the tour ended and we started having conversations. To put it in a nutshell, he just needs to do his own thing at this point in time.
“We knew he had a record that he was going to be doing, possibly. We had already told him, ‘If you need to take a hiatus, that’s fine.’”
Instead, Caggiano decided to make the split permanent – but not before he’d spoken to Shadows Fall axeman Jon Donais about standing in for him.
Ian says: “Rob didn’t want to leave us hanging. As much as it sucks, this whole thing has been friendly.
“I may think Rob has made a mistake by leaving the band – but at the same time he’s my friend and I back his decision all the way in whatever he needs to do.”
Caggiano has said he’s concentrating on his production career in the immediate future, including work on Volbeat’s next album. But he’s aiming to be back on stage in the mid-term.
Meanwhile, Anthrax are gearing up to perform classic album Among The Living live on tour. Ian’s looking forward to it but adds: “Imitation Of Life is a song we’ve never played live. It’s relentlessly fast – we don’t write riffs like that. It’s almost like I have to re-teach my right hand how to be able to do that.”
And although the band have been nominated for a Grammy at next month’s ceremony, Ian won’t be there to accept the gong if they win. “The metal award is segregated into the ghetto of the pre-awards,” he says.
“Obviously, hard rock and heavy metal is not important enough to be on the telecast with all the pop and all other crap.
“I have to walk the red carpet and do press – that happens while the pre-awards are already going on. Either I will be walking the red carpet knowing that we already won or knowing we lost. So my acceptance speech is on the red carpet – either, ‘Yay, we won,’ or, ‘We are the four-time Grammy losers Anthrax.’”
-Classic Rock Magazine