If thrash had a Mount Rushmore, Anthrax would definitely be represented – and would be the head wearing the clown nose. Alone among the otherwise deadly serious Big Four – Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer rounding out the pantheon – Anthrax had a sense of humor, whether dashing around the stage in an enormous Indian headdress or releasing goofy rap/metal novelty mash-ups like “I’m the Man.”

So it’s not terribly surprising to see lead guitarist Scott Ian going the spoken word route, following in the footsteps of musicians-turned-mouthpieces like Henry Rollins. Ian has long been the band’s de facto spokesman, with his brash Queens accent and trademark beard, looking like a badger has burrowed its way into his chin, leaving only its tail exposed. On his “Speaking Words” tour, which stops at World Café Live tonight, he promises a blend of stand-up comedy, road stories, and confessional. As a member of a band that’s seen its share of turmoil, got wrapped up in post-9/11 hysteria by virtue of its name, and dedicated itself to making Slayer laugh onstage, he should have plenty to talk about.