Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I have just been introduced the world of Anvil!


I picked up their book “Anvil-the story of Anvil” at Chapters on a whim. I completely did the ‘no-no’ and judged a book by its cover. It really worked out for me!


Who wouldn’t like this cover?


I’m sure many people have already seen their highly praised documentary of the same name. I’m perhaps only one of the few who read the book first. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. This book was ridiculously good! It was definitely not just a recap of the documentary so if you’re not picking it up for that reason I would highly suggest getting your hands on a copy.


The documentary only comes into play in the last few short chapters of the book. Everything else in here is way before the documentary and it rocks! This book is broken up written by both of the member’s perspective.


A quick background: Anvil is a speed metal band founded by Rob Reiner and Steve “Lips” Kudlow. They were a big influence on many of the biggest names in metal including Metallica, Anthrax, megadeth and Slayer. Regardless they never got mainstream success like all of the bands that they influenced. Anvil never had the big break they were hoping for, however they never let go of their dream and to this day are still together.


Regardless, Anvil never got the recognition that the rest of these bands achieved. A string of bad luck was always pulling them back from being the massive rock stars that they so strongly wanted to be.


Lips and Rob basically signed the first contract they were offered. During this time they played many big shows with many other big bands. The only problem is that they were never paid. Regardless of the thousands of fans that turned up, the money always went elsewhere than in Lips and Rob’s pockets.

Anvil finally seemed to get their big break when Aerosmith’s manager David Krebs promised them a major label contract and convinced their current label ‘Attic’ to release them. When they broke free from their ‘Attic’ contract they had a disagreement with Krebs over shipping Rob’s drums overseas. This caused Krebs to cut all contact with Anvil and he never followed through with a major label contract. Eventually Krebs dropped Anvil which allowed them to pursue other record deals.


Regardless Anvil continued to move forward. However with no proper management or record deal it was always a battle. They were always faced with problems such as no proper advertising (therefore no fans); or they played a show but couldn’t get paid afterwards. Nothing came easy for Anvil.


Reading this book really makes you fall in love with these guys. They always have such good intentions and great positive attitudes regardless of their bad luck.


There were even touching heartfelt moments. They came close to making me cry when they talked about losing their fathers.


Once I finished the book I couldn’t wait to watch the documentary.


This documentary, that’s based on them never getting their big break, turned into their big break. This documentary was so well done and completed by their longtime friend Sacha Gervasi (read the book! His name comes up lots!). This film brought them so much respect that they much deserve. It gave a great insight into what it has been like for them to be struggling to be heavy metal musicians for their entire lives.


Lips and Rob are always so grateful for everything they experience. This stands out in the film especially when you see Lips run over to Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake, Ozzy, etc..) like a kid when he sees him back stage at a concert. He is so genuinely happy to meet him.


It really makes you sad witnessing the trouble that they go through. Virtually every time they play at a club they are fighting to get paid. It really shows how a good manager could really help them. At least he could be fighting for the money and looking out for their best interest, Instead or all of this stress being on them. This is shown in a scene when Lips is literally fighting for his money on the film. He is seen grabbing a club owner by the collar of his shirt and yelling “you fucking piece of shit! You pay me! I’ll kick your fucking teeth in!” You really feel for him. If these guys don’t get paid they don’t have money for food or even travel to get to their next gig.


These guys are always so optimistic. They always get their hopes up and believe great things are coming. In the film they get so excited when they are told that their next show is expecting to have 5000-10000 people. Only 174 showed up for this gig. Regardless they still gave them an incredible show as if the venue was sold out.


These guys are true 80’s metal guys. Everything from wearing their own band t-shirts tucked into their jeans, to the 80’s hair. You have an idea of what they will sound like before they even play a note. Even though you can guess their sound you will be amazed at how good they actually are. They don’t just dress the part; they are very talented at their instruments.


I can’t help but compare this documentary to one of my favorite movies, “the Wrestler’. Even though one is fact and one is fiction they seem so closely related to me.


In “the Wrestler” Mickey Rourke’s character was a wrestler who never gave up on his passion, even after his 15 minutes of fame had passed. This is exactly the same for Anvil.

Mickey Rourke’s character always had a smile on his face and a positive attitude. This is just like Lips! (Rob doesn’t smile much but he still seems to have the right attitude).


Mickey Rourke’s character works at a deli so that he can make enough money to survive while he wrestles at night. Lips works at a catering service and call centers to pay the bills and tours on his vacation.


I know it is kind of a weird comparison but I couldn’t help but notice the similarities.


Over all I really enjoyed the documentary, but the book was amazing!  I never even heard of Anvil before this week and still do not own an album but I will be sure to pick one up in the near future. For all you 80’s metal fans out there, this book and documentary is a must have!


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