Scott Ian Recalls How Anthrax Was Forced To Change Their Name After 9/11

During the 21st episode of Anthrax’s video testimonials, Scott Ian has remembered the time when Anthrax was compelled to a name change following the September 11 attacks.

It is no doubt that the 9/11 attacks brought great tragedy afterward with thousands of traumatized citizens and a feeling of unease felt in the U.S. Even strengthening the paranoia, news outlets and politicians began receiving letters after the attacks in which there were ‘anthrax’ spores that can cause severe illness and death.

This was the time when the mainstream media focused on the name of the band Anthrax, which made the band quite annoyed. Upon receiving questions about whether they will change the band’s name, they announced a statement to tell they will change their name to ‘Basket Full Of Puppies,’ although this was only a humorous response to the rumors.

During the time when the attacks occurred, Anthrax was on tour, and like many other musicians and bands, they stopped their performances. After that, they decided to perform a charity show along with the appearances of Twisted Sister, Sebastian Bach, Overkill, and Ace Frehley. When Anthrax got onto the stage, the band members appeared wearing white jumpsuits containing words that read ‘We’re Not Changing Our Name.’

Speaking in the video testimonial of the band, Scott Ian has talked about that incident recalling how it affected Anhtrax. He remembered those times, saying he was watching CNN taking their statement to change their name to ‘Basket Full Of Puppies’ seriously. He said that they were bringing happiness and joy and entertaining people, adding they have nothing to do with the meaning of ‘anthrax’ and what had been put on the front cover of the newspapers.

Scott then recalled the night of the charity event in the Hammerstein ballroom which was full of people that lost somebody during the attacks. Ian stated that their reaction to Anthrax was urging them not to change their name. He then said he is glad they were able to give them even a little bit of time forgetting about the tragedy that happened.

Scott Ian said during the episode that:

“For the first time in our career, we realized that we had only been leasing our name. The post 9/11 world and everything and everyone had just been through. People want to talk to us about the name of our band. CNN has the ticker at the bottom of the screen, I’m sitting there watching CNN and across the bottom of the screen it says ‘Heavy metal band Anthrax to change the name to a basket full of puppies.’ We are not that. We have nothing to do with any of that ‘anthrax.’ We are something that brings happiness and joy. We entertain people. That’s why we do what we do.

Anthrax is about putting it on and it’s catharsis and it’s good for you. It’s the exact opposite of everything that is on the front cover of the newspapers right now. The reaction of that crowd of people who pretty much everyone in the Hammerstein ballroom that night had lost somebody. Everyone in that room had lost somebody in 9/11. The reaction we got from those people and then being out in the lobby of the venue and talking to all these firemen and policemen and families, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers, fathers of people to the people saying ‘Don’t you fucking change your name for nothing, you are fucking Anthrax.’

We were like ‘thank you, thank you.’ That was the smallest part of that evening. I’m not trying to make that evening about us at all. Because we were there to entertain people who were in hell. I’m just glad we were able to give them an hour of maybe forgetting about reality for a minute.”

It is known that Anthrax is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year along with special events, such as the series of video testimonials they share on their Youtube channel every week. During those special videos, the band talks about key moments throughout their career sometimes with the collaboration of former band members and fellow musicians.

You can watch the new episode of Anthrax 40th anniversary interviews on Youtube below.