35 Years Ago: S.O.D. release Speak English or Die

Daily Noise -

35 Years Ago: S.O.D. release Speak English or Die

All of these death metal bands who are terrible will hopefully listen to this album and say "I quit!", and put the guitars away and go working at a counter, and not playing anymore. We were hoping maybe that would stop people, but actually I think it had the reverse effect, people hearing that album would say "Hey, let's form a band like S.O.D.!". I guess if that's what we were set out to do we didn't do what we were supposed to do.

Scott Ian / S.O.D. interview, Blowing Thrash #3, 1986

S.O.D. released Speak English or Die on this day in 1985 through Megaforce Records.

S.O.D. was formed as a side project by Scott Ian and Charlie Benante of ANTHRAX during the recording sessions for their second album Spreading the Disease. The album lineup was completed by Dan Lilker (ex-ANTHRAX bassist, NUCLEAR ASSAULT) and Billy Milano (an early ANTHRAX roadie, M.O.D.).

When we were writing that S.O.D. stuff while we were in the studio with Anthrax, I didn't want to be just like Anthrax as S.O.D., it would have been like two Anthrax albums. Originally Frankie was gonna play bass on it. Frankie was like the original bass player up to almost the last minute. He said "If you want it, have Danny doing it", and so tying up the relationship again between us and Danny. So I called him up and told him about the product. He had seen what was going on so he came up to the studio and we wrote most of the whole album in three days and recorded it in three days. The time was right. I really don't know how we did it, the way how we wrote everything so quick and did it, I mean everything was so perfect, we couldn't have had a better time.

Scott Ian / S.O.D. interview, Blowing Thrash #3, 1986

[Sargent D] was just a cartoon that Charlie and me came up with when we were in the studio with Anthrax. We were just doing pictures and putting 'em on the wall, and writing "Speak English or die" on it, and that's how it came about, it's just a cartoon guy, before we even wrote any songs or had any idea of making a band out of it. Everybody thought it was so funny, a skull as an army guy with this gun on, like the totally proud American, you know, "America, America!". It's supposed to be funny, and it was funny, all those pictures all over the place.

Scott Ian / S.O.D. interview, Blowing Thrash #3, 1986

...why spend three minutes on it if you can do it like that. The first one we actually did was "Diamonds And Rust", which we actually stole from Judas Priest, because if you listen to the "Unleashed In The East" album, the way he announces it is like "Diamonds... And Rust!!!". Wouldn't it be funny if that was a whole song? That was the first one we did and then we came up with the other ones. We've got so much of 'em now. We played with Overkill from New York once, and after us doing all our songs they got on stage and said "This one goes out to S.O.D.", and they did the song "Green Manalishi", but they did it just like "Green... Manalishi!!!".

Scott Ian / S.O.D. interview, Blowing Thrash #3, 1986