Anthrax sheepish over its name
By Tim Grobaty
BAND OR BANE?: It's indicative of somewhat of a return to normalcy that, during one of our fashionable Plaza-area soirees on Saturday, instead of talking about the horror and tragedy, we took to talking about what a hassle it must be these days to be in the heavy metal/speed metal/rap metal band Anthrax. Forget racial profiling. These guys must get wrestled to the ground by security guards and National Guardsmen every time they show up in a public place. And can there be anything more difficult to accomplish than getting a bunch of big, black boxes with "ANTHRAX" stenciled on the side in white paint onto an airplane?
To say nothing of mothers pulling their children in close and snarling at the musicians, "Have you no shame?," and to further say nothing over such suddenly crazily distasteful album titles as Anthrax's "Armed & Dangerous," "Spreading the Disease" and "Among the Living," all of this despite the fact that the band has been using the name since 1981, when the only people worrying about anthrax were people in the sheep business and white powdery substances cost $100 a gram.
Anthrax (the band) couldn't be more abashed over the unfortunate confluence of rock and horror and has issued a press release, "Anthrax (the band) vs. anthrax (the disease)" on its Web site ([url]anthrax.com[/url]) in which the fellas jokingly announced that they're changing the name to Basket Full of Puppies.
"In the 20 years we've been known as Anthrax, we never thought the day would come that our name would actually mean what it really means," wrote guitarist Scott Ian.
He recalled coming up with the name because "it sounded cool, aggressive and nobody knew what it was. Even our album, 'Spreading the Disease' was just a play on the name. We were spreading our music to the masses.
"Before the tragedy of Sept. 11, the only thing scary about Anthrax was our bad hair in the '80s and the 'Fistful of Metal' album cover," wrote Ian. "Now, our name symbolizes fear, paranoia and death. To be associated with these things we are against is a strange and stressful situation. ... We don't want to change the name of the band, not because it would be a pain in the ass, but because ... we hope and pray that this problem goes away quietly, and we all grow old and fat together."
In an interview last week, Ian told a reporter that he had picked up some Cipro, an antidote to anthrax, proclaiming, "I will not die an ironic death."