On the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian spoke to Steve Newton of the Georgia Straight about the media frenzy that had occured, a few weeks after the attacks, regarding the band’s name. One person died of anthrax contamination, and two other people were exposed to the disease in Florida in an outbreak that authorities were investigating at the time as a criminal action.
“We had no intention ever of changing our name or doing anything like that,” Ian told Georgia Straight. “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,” continued 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.