Band's name suddenly scarier than intended

Selecting a tasteless name is one of the main joys of being a hard rock band, it seems. But when your band's name is Anthrax, and when exposure to the deadly anthrax bacteria has been confirmed in an atmosphere of post-attack fear, there is unusual cause for concern.

The fear of biological warfare against the United States is a major topic of conversation, and several cases of exposure have been confirmed throughout the country. And suddenly, "Anthrax" seems to some like too awful a name even for a metal band.

On its Web site (, the band is responding, although in a tongue-in-cheek way. "In light of current events, we are changing the name of the band to something more friendly � Basket Full Of Puppies," members wrote in a posting on the site. "Actually, just the fact that we are making jokes about our name sucks."

Anthrax, formed in New York 20 years ago, released its first album in 1983 with a name that fit the speed-metal music it played perfectly. Short, punchy names like Metallica, Megadeth, and, yes, Anthrax proved dead-on descriptive of their music.

But when everyone said America would never be the same after Sept. 11, they weren't kidding. Anthrax, a group that has more or less flown under the radar since shifting tastes in the '90s relegated its brand of music to cult status, is suddenly under the spotlight again � but not to its delight.

"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," founding guitarist Scott Ian writes on the site. "When I learned about anthrax in my senior year biology class, I thought the name sounded 'metal.' 'Anthrax' 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."


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