Anthrax never wanted this kind of publicity. The seminal New York metal band's name is all over the press these days for all the wrong reasons -- a small outbreak of the bio-terrorist disease of choice in Florida has an already understandably edgy America in panic mode. Set to launch their Operation Enduring Metal tour with Judas Priest in early 2002 ("the tour the terrorists tried to stop"), the group has let it be known they have no immediate designs on a name change.
A statement from the band jokingly begins, "In light of current events, we are changing the name of the band to something more friendly, Basket Full of Puppies," and continues, "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 that it won't be necessary, because no further negative events will happen. We hope and pray that this problem goes away quietly and we all grow old and fat together."
"In the twenty years we've been known as Anthrax," the statement continues. "We never thought the day would come that our name would actually mean what it really means. Before the tragedy of September 11th the only thing scary about Anthrax was our bad hair in the Eighties and the Fistful of Metal album cover [in which a spiked fist plunges through a man's face]. Most people associated the name 'Anthrax' with the band, not the germ. Now in the wake of those events, our name symbolizes fear, paranoia and death. Suddenly our name is not so cool."
The group, whose 1985 album title, Spreading the Disease, seems all too eerie in retrospect, has also been contacted by makers of the anti-biotic Cipro, a drug used to combat the deadly agent. The company, Bayer, inquired about possibly placing banner ads for their suddenly-in-demand pill at Anthrax's homepage (www.anthax.com). The band -- John Bush, Frank Bello, Charlie Benante and Scott Ian -- will likely refuse and instead post links to various government agencies and charitable funds connected to relief efforts for the anthrax scare and the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
No venues for the Operation Enduring Metal tour -- pushed to 2002 because of the tragedies of September 11 -- have cancelled because of the present Florida scare. The tour, now slated to kick of January 18th in Los Angeles, will swing through Florida with stops in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and St. Petersburg. The tour's finale is set for February 17th in Washington D.C.
Anthrax are presently in a New York studio self-producing an album for a 2002 release. Inquiries to the band for further comment on this matter were declined.
Anthrax and Judas Priest's Operation Enduring Metal tour dates:
1/25: Dallas, Smirnoff Music Center
1/27: Houston, Aeriel Theater
1/29: New Orleans, House of Blues
1/30: Jacksonville, FL, Edge 2000
2/1: Miami, Miami Arena
2/2: St. Petersburg, FL, Jannus Landing
2/3: Orlando, House of Blues
2/4: Atlanta, Dekald Atlanta Center
2/6: Detroit, Palace of Auburn Hills
2/7: Chicago, Riviera Theater
2/8: Milwaukee, Eagles Auditorium
2/12: Toronto, Warehouse
2/14: Boston, Orpheum
2/15: New York, Roseland
2/16: Philadelphia, Electric Factory
2/17: Washington, DC, Nation