Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian recalls the hubbub surrounding his band's name after 9/11

A couple of weeks back I got a package in the mail containing the new CD by a metal band that was headed to town. No big whoop; happens all the time. But if I'd gotten this Fedex labeled "ANTHRAX" about 11 years ago, shit would have surely hit the fan.

Today, on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, Scott Ian of Anthrax called to chat about that wicked new disc, Worship Music, and his group's coheadlining show with Testament at the Vogue Theatre next Thursday (September 20). But first I had to ask him about the media frenzy that had occured, about a week after the attacks, regarding the band's name. As you may recall, major paranoia was created after letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to various news media offices and two U.S. Senators, killing five people and infecting 17 others.

That's when every non-rockin' journalist in the world wanted to get a quote from Anthrax to help sell papers or get hits on a site. The big question was: were they going to change their name?

"We had no intention ever of changing our name or doing anything like that," claims Ian, on the line from his home in L.A. "But the fact was that all this very, very mainstream media--I'm talking from CNN to the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times, the biggest mainstream media in the world--are suddenly calling our publicist trying to get interviews with us.

"And my attitude right from the start was, 'Well, these guys, they didn't want anything to do with us when our record came out not that long ago,' you know. And now they want to talk to us because they need to fill space because this is the story of the week--which is gonna disappear in the next two months. And of course it did.

"So we just wouldn't buy into it," continues Ian. "Although I think I did do one interview--and I can't remember if it was the Times--but the guy was a huge fan of the band, and said, 'You know, look, if I could cover you in this paper of course I would.' But I was at least able to get the word out that, 'Look, we're not gonna buy into this sensationalism. We have nothing to do with this. Just because we happen to be in a band that has the same name--a name that we had been renting for 20-odd years at the time.'

"So we just really felt like, people have better things to do--or journalists should have better things to do--than worry about whether or not Anthrax is gonna change their name. We just thought it was ridiculous."

For more from Scott Ian--including his thoughts on the new album, the return of vocalist Joey Belladonna, and his new online program, Fangoria's Blood & Guts with Scott Ian--see the story in next week's issue of the Georgia Straight. Read it on paper for that old-school, "Bring the Noise" vibe.

You can follow Steve Newton on Twitter at twitter.com/earofnewt.

Comments (3) Add New Comment
dave19
I had a band back then, we called ourselves Controlled Demolition. After 9/11 the media suddenly began egnoring us.
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Rating: -10
AlexB
I loved the concert when they appeared onstage wearing white jumpsuits stating, "WE'RE NOT CHANGING OUR NAME", that's just friggin' original.
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Rating: -6
ItchyAnus
Just bring 1/2 the intensity Refused had and you'll be fine.

Let Bush sing New Noise tho.
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Rating: -4
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