Interview with the Members of Anvil
Anvil is finally getting what they deserve. Embarking an a US tour for the first time in years to promote their latest album "This is Thirteen," old fans and curious youngsters are flocking to their shows, hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the first metal bands ever. I caught up with the trio during their show in New Orleans where we talked about the movie "Anvil: The Story of Anvil" and how the newly found fame is treating them. A transcibed version follows.
Buick Mckane: Welcome to New Orleans, guys. How’s the tour been going so far?
Steve “Lips” Kudlow: It’s going great. It’s kind of weird. It’s good. It’s really good.
Robb Reiner: It’s awesome, man. We’ve done some tight shows; all awesome.
Buick: That’s pretty cool. Your latest album “This is Thirteen” was heavily promoted and reviewed, but how was it received by your long-time fans?
Robb: Our long-time fans are loving it. I don’t know what more I could say. It’s been…what are they saying? It’s like classic Anvil, man. Everyone’s saying it’s nice to hear Anvil sounding true to its classical form, so. Everybody says it’s a great album.
Buick: Have you noticed at the shows you’re doing now that there’s a lot of younger people, about my age, I guess.
Robb: Yes, absolutely.
Glenn “G5” Gyorffy: And younger. There’s eight, nine, ten year-olds coming out.
Robb: We’re seeing everything from kids to adults. Families. Girls.
Lips: Yeah, we’re getting families which is incredible. “We brought the whole family down.” You see, you know, kids nine, eight years-old, you know, and then there’s a 70 year-old. You know what I mean?
Robb: And it’s their first metal concert, too. So they being turned on in the right manner.
Buick: This show is 18 and over, so you probably won’t have too many kids running around. Since the documentary and album were released, you’ve become household names in the metal community again. There’s always news about yall on Blabbermouth and every other site. How has life changed because of that?
Robb: Well, it’s changed in a lot of different ways. We’re here tonight, we’re doing a 30-date US tour…
Lips: First time in New Orleans, it’s amazing. House of the Rising Sun; hello!
Robb: Everything around us has changed; we’re the same people. That’s basically what’s going on. It’s great, you know? We’re being discovered, rediscovered.
Lips: And for people who are old fans they’re celebrating all this because they knew all along, so…
Robb: Including us.
Lips: It’s the whole reason we made the movie to begin with, so that says it all, doesn’t it.
Buick: How do your kids like it?
Robb: Oh, they love it. My kid loves it.
Buick: They think it’s so cool? Are yall finally getting paid?
Lips: Sure, all the way to the bank.
Robb: Yeah, well we quit our day jobs. We don’t have day jobs no more. Of course it’s great, and, yeah, we’re actually existing from rock n’ roll; it’s nice.
Buick: How did the documentary get started; you said an old-time fan approached you about it, right?
Lips: We met a guy back in 1982 backstage at the Marquee Club in London, England, when we first went to England, our first time. He was a really, really excited young fan who made his way into the change room, not only made his way past the people in the…at the door to get into the club because he was underage, but he made it backstage. He was a drummer himself and immediately made friends with Robbo. The following day, we played two nights there, but the following day we went out on the town in London, and he took us all over the place including to his house which was basically across the street from Abbey Road Studios; quite amazing. He had relatives in Toronto where we come from, and he began visiting us in Canada after that point. We decided we love the little guy; thought he was a great kid. Let’s bring him out on the road. You know, he became like the band mascot. And we kind of felt, “Let’s give to this kid what we wish we always had; to go out with his favorite band, to become a roadie. He was selling t-shirts, setting up Robb’s drums and became very, very close friends with us. Eventually, he went off to finish school and basically disappeared from our lives because he lived in England, we lived in Toronto, and he had a lot of stuff to do between the ages of 17 and whatever. As it turned out, he ended up in UCLA Film School, became a screenwriter, and such an incredible screenwriter that he got hired by Steven Spielberg and wrote the story for the movie The Terminal. It was after that point that he went and looked us up on the internet and sent me an email. Of course, I hadn’t heard from him in so long, I saw his email and wrote him back, “I thought you died or became a lawyer.” So this kid was a really brilliant kid. I mean, he either lost it on drugs or became a lawyer is what I figured.
Robb: Which is true.
Lips: And both is basically true, he went to law school and almost died of an overdose, but I mean, whatever. That’s kind of his joke. As it turns out, he contacted me, I went down to Los Angeles, and, of course, reuniting with him, it felt like not a moment had passed. This guy was the kind of person that you could virtually trust your life to him, and you could, just about anyone after you meet him, you’ll feel totally comfortable that this guy…you could tell him anything about yourself and feel that he’s…it’s never going to go further than that. And he’s never going to tell anybody and he always has kind words, a warm heart and open ears to anything and everything you might want to say. Two weeks after I had been down to Los Angeles, he calls me and says, “Come pick me up at the airport and take me to my Uncle Marty’s,” where, of course, I know where his Uncle Marty lives. It’s where we used to pick him up when he was younger. Sat me down on the couch at Uncle Marty’s and told me he was gonna make this movie, and at that point, I became extremely emotional because I saw everything in 3D perfect focus. I could look at my past and see how it all came together for that moment; it instantly validated everything that I had been through, you know, existing in the metal underground for 30 years and here comes an incredible Hollywood screenwriter who’s going to make a movie and testimonial of the facts of what this has been about. So this is going to be the prime example of what metal is, you know, from my view. And at that moment, it wasn’t just about my past, I could see the future, and the way I looked at it, almost to see if it was in the past. And I looked at it like, “This is how I made it. After all is said and done and after everything that I’ve been through, that’s how it ended up happening.” Which is fine because what’s really, really beautiful about all of it, we did all of this our own way, we never sold out, we never got on any major record companies so that we would lose our grip, we were always able to maintain and stay with our audience, we have a full-on underground audience that has been there for us all through the years, I mean, we’ve recorded thirteen albums! Studio albums. Never mind all the other off-shoots stuff that stuff has appeared on. So we’ve always been successful to a certain level, but not on a commercial sense which is a great prime example of what metal really is. You’ve got four or five big bands. Other than that, you’ve got thousands of underground bands. But what makes all of this very, very special; Anvil was one of the very, very early bands and a very, very influential band. So when he put together this movie, getting testimonials from guys like Slash or Lars or Tom Araya or Scott Ian; they were Anvil fans. I met Scott Ian in 1981 at a rock show we did with Johnny Z who was basically the guy who discovered Metallica. Never mind Anthrax and everything.
Robb: Anvil. He discovered Anvil.
Lips: He discovered Anvil! We were Johnny Z’s first endeavor. But unfortunately like everything else, we were signed to that label, an independent Canadian label, who refused to license our music, and we eventually built up enough of a following and excitement in the press that it brought us an incredible manager, who was Aerosmith’s manager. We actually even went out with Aerosmith for five dates. But unfortunately for poor David Krebs, couldn’t get the record label to license the first three of our albums in the United States. So his hands were tied. But what he thought was, “Let me just get them out of this record deal, and get them something new down here.” Well, he pulled us out of that record deal, but couldn’t get us something new because all the labels wanted the old stuff. They didn’t just want to pick up where it left off. And here we were in 1983, no record deal, not tours, nothing. For four years, the most important years of metal. So everything and anything came up around us, and that was how it ended up. We had to take the ball and run with it ourselves. We were able to get our own licensing deals and recorded the albums on our own money. We were able to persevere for thirty years now. And that’s what we’ve been doing so we’re real proud. Proud, hard-working rockers who will never ever give it up. We haven’t gone away and we’re still not gonna go away.
Buick: Anything else you would like to say?
Lips: Just that we’re really, really honored and very, very excited to play in New Orleans and we hope to come back. Even though we haven’t played yet, I already know that it’s going to be fun. I can feel it.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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