LAST CALL: Media interest is sickening music to Anthrax's ears

Put yourself in the shoes of the poor agents (and, by default,

media relations) guys at Beyond Music Publicity in LA when the first

anthrax outbreak occurred.



Your client has had a low profile for years, but the imminent phone

calls don't make you think, "Goody-goody, lots of lovely press

opportunities!" Instead, you're planning to deal with media inquiries

about what is suddenly the most tastelessly titled rock 'n' roll band of

all time. Suddenly, your client is yanked from semi-obscurity and thrust

into the midst of a PR nightmare.



The client in question is, of course, Anthrax, the '80s heavy metal band

that was the purveyor of such head-banger classics as The Threat is

Real.



And it gets worse. As you busily field calls from the press, the band

decides to post a statement on its website, joking about changing its

name to the less scary-sounding Basketful of Puppies.



So now, you find yourself inundated with calls from people wanting to

know whether the band is going to change its 20-year-old moniker. The

Washington Post, Wired, Rolling Stone, CNN, and Reuters all give ink to

the rusty metallers.



Meanwhile, the group's website (www.anthrax.com) has been flooded with

traffic from a panic-stricken public seeking information about the

devastating disease. It has seen so much traffic that Bayer has

apparently approached the group about putting up a Cipro banner ad on

the home page.



So now, Anthrax has taken it upon itself to link to sites including the

Centers for Disease Control and other sites that display daily news on

the anthrax outbreaks.



As the story escalates, you stop accepting phone inquiries from the

press about the band and its name. Eventually, the story blows over and

you give a sigh of relief, at least until "Operation Enduring Metal,"

the co-headlining tour between Anthrax and Judas Priest, kicks off in

January.



Watch this space, folks ...



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