Mostly Metal: The Mighty Anvil, In Their Own Words

In the early '80s, Anvil was on the verge of being Canada's leaders of metal mania. Frontman/guitarist Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner were the Toronto outfit's masterminds, writing songs like "Metal on Metal" and "Hot Child" that helped them influence a multitude of young bands coming up at the time - such as Slayer and Metallica. Anvil's massive, pounding metal was riding high.

But somewhere towards the end of the "Me" decade, the wheels seemingly fell off Anvil's wagon. A surely promising signing to their genre's influential Metal Blade label failed to bring the band that extra push. Their debut on the imprint Strength Of Steel cracked the bottom of the Billboard charts but soon faltered. The band released five more marginally received yet solid collections of metal before shuttling off to various independent labels.

Most familiar with Lips and Robb's story blame the changing metal climate at the time, or shoddy managers and promotions. Even still, the band never wavered in their brutal sonic attack and continued to record 13 albums of heavy metal material, most recently This is Thirteen. In 2005, former Anvil roadie and current Hollywood player Sacha Gervasi began filming a documentary on the band. Anvil: The Story of Anvil chronicles a few years in the life of the band, through disastrously hilarious European tours and strife-filled recording sessions.

Rocks Off sat down with Lips and Robb a few hours before a screening of the film at the Angelika Theatre at Bayou Place.

RO: How does your family react to all this new hype?

Lips: My relationship with my family isn't contingent on whether or not I'm successful. My wife is happy, yet there's concern now that I'm away from my 11-year-old. There's balance, life has balance.

RO: The movie made it look like you fought all the time...

Lips: It's more of an oddity that Sacha caught. He just captured it.

Robb: They were over financial stresses that made it easier to have conflict.

RO: What's up with the new album, Juggernaut of Justice?

Lips: All the music is written, we just have to record it! We've still got 13 albums we have recorded to let people in America be aware of. We aren't there yet.

Robb: We hope to record by the end of the year so it will be out next year; that's our plan.

RO: Will you ever lose that underdog fight and spirit, of still needing to prove yourselves, even after 13 albums?

Lips: We fought too long and hard to have that just go away. You will always feel as though obscurity is right behind you. It's not like all this happened 20 years ago, it was virtually yesterday.

RO: What would be your best advice for younger bands coming up today?

Lips: Stick to your guns, man! It's not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; it's the journey getting there. And even if you never get that pot of gold, you still have a helluva a lot of stories and places and people that can help you be wealthy in other aspects of being a human being.

Anvil: The Story of Anvil is now playing at the Angelika Theater, 520 Texas, 713-225-1470.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty