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"Speak English or Die"

"I never thought four words could cause so much schism. From these four words S.O.D. was born."

- Scott Ian -


It was spring of 1985 and Anthrax were in the studio recording their second studio album 'Spreading The Disease'. Scott Ian was done with all of his guitar tracks and he had a lot of free time on his hands. He started drawing some comics. He invented a guy, a living skeleton that smokes cigars, hates everyone and everything, with an insane sense of wrong and right, who was called 'Sgt. D'. Then he started writing slogans like 'Speak English or Die' and turned them into songs.
Scott took a break after he had written ten songs or so. Then he called up Dan Lilker (who played bass on the first Anthrax-record). He asked him if he wanted to be on a hardcore project he was planning. He also asked Billy Milano (who he met in CBGB's in New York) if he wanted to sing on this project, which was going to record a record. After that he played the songs he had written for Charlie Benante (drummer of Anthrax), Dan and Billy. S.O.D was born. They wrote the rest of the album 'Speak English Or Die' together, rehearsed it the day before they were going to start recording, and made the record in three days. Two days recording, July 2nd & 3rd, one day mixing, July 6th. Then the album was ready. There were 21 songs on it. From the very first moment I heard that record, I was impressed. It was funny, it was heavy and it was fast. I am a fan ever since.


1985 | The first S.O.D. album 'Speak English Or Die' was released in 1985. It took only 3 days to record it. When the album came out, they did a tour of 7 shows. The third show was in Trenton, New Jersey. The bootleg 'Pussywhipped' was recorded there on October 6th, 1985. S.O.D. played 4 previously unreleased songs along with other stuff from the first record. The sound quality of that record is poor, but that bootleg is very special to me, because it's the first bootleg I ever owned. (In 2005 the 'Pussywhipped' bootleg from 1985 was officially released as a bonus CD in the DVD-box '20 Years Of Dysfunction'. You can find info here).

1992 | Seven years later, S.O.D. played a show at the Ritz (March 21st, 1992). The record of that show 'Live At Budokan' was released that same year. They played some classic S.O.D. material and 3 new tracks, as well as an M.O.D. song and some covers from Fear, Ministry and Nirvana. This show was also released on VHS in 1992 and can be found on the 'Speak English Or Live' DVD from 2001. The Japanese edition of the CD includes 3 bonustracks; 'The Ballad Of Jim Morrison', 'The Ballad Of Freddie Mercury' and the Agnostic Front cover 'United & Strong'.

1999 | Another seven years later, S.O.D. released their second studio album 'Bigger Than The Devil'. The song 'Aren't You Hungry', written by S.O.D. and performed live for the first time in 1985, was finally recorded in a studio and appeared on this album. S.O.D. did their first and only world tour following this release.


To celebrate the fact that 'Speak English Or Die' sold 1,000,000 times, Megaforce re-released it in 2000 with 10 bonustracks. 'Speak English Or Die - The Platinum Edition' contains 2 new studiotracks, 'Identity' and 'Go', and 8 live tracks that were recorded in Tokyo in '99.

That same year 'Bigger Than The Devil' got a little bigger. It now contained the 3" (2-track) bonus single 'Seasoning The Obese'. 'Seasoning The Obese' is a killer track where Slayer meets S.O.D.! The other new track 'Raise Your Sword' is a 'tribute' to Manowar.

In May 2005, the first S.O.D. album was re-released (again) in Europe by Megaforce Records as: 'Speak English Or Die - 20th Anniversary Edition'. It has the same content as the platinum edition, but different artwork. I did the label-art for this re-release.

On August 21 2007, S.O.D.'s released one more album. It was an E.P. with 4 studiotracks and 20 livetracks, called 'Rise Of The Infidels'. It's been called the largest E.P. in history, because there are so many live bonustracks on this record. Two of the studiotracks had been released earlier (on New York's Hardest, volume 3) and two were previously unreleased covers. According to Billy Milano this is S.O.D.'s final release! I'm proud that I did the artwork for this E.P.!

In 2015 Megaforce Records released 2 more items, to celebrate S.O.D.'s 30th Anniversary. Yes, 'Speak English Or Die' was re-released (once more) on November 27 and contained the same bonustracks as the 20th Anniversay release + an extra track: the Crab Society North demo (and in 2016 Megaforce released this item also on colored vinyl in 2 versions!). The other item that was released in 2015 (on Record Store Day) was a 7" white vinyl single of 'Milk', with artwork by Charlie Benante. One side contains the original S.O.D. 1985 version, the other side has a demoversion of 'Milk' by the Deftones on it.

If you want more info about these S.O.D. albums, you can find it here.

S.O.D. also contributed previously unreleased tracks to 'A Tribute To The Scorpions' (Nuclear Blast, 2001) and 'New York's Hardest, volume 3' (Go Kart, 2001). More info about those albums can also be found here.


I hope you enjoy this fansite!

Sjouke Bakker,
The Netherlands.

(I have used notes from the booklet of 'Live at Budokan' to write this introduction).

Here's another bio of S.O.D. by Green and Black Music.