Let the Anvil be forged in fire - Lips & Robb speaks out.
In the history of Heavy Metal bands come and go, but for 1 band from Canada thus been 'Anvil' who have around since the late 70's & released their debut album 'Hard And Heavy' which was released in 81 through Attic records, this was just the beginning of what is now. Formed by 2 school friends Steve 'Lips' Kudlow (vocals and guitar) & Robb Reiner (drums) became good friends and decided to form a band which would change the world of Heavy Metal once and for all. The band soon teamed up with Dave "Squirrely" Allison (guitar) & Ian "Dix" Dickson (bass) to which the debut album was recorded. With the success of their debut album from local and international press, receiving excellent and promising reviews the band recorded 'Metal On Metal' also on Attic in 82. This was the turning point for the band and in which case saw the likes of giants like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax been influenced by this Canadian Power/ Thrashers. In fact Lars from Metallica was blown away by Robb drumming abilities he would be the first to admit it as seen on 'The Story Of Anvil' DVD. In 83 the best album for me was released 'Forged In Fire', the same year at aged 12 I met and saw them live supporting Motorhead, what a great gig!! Many albums and labels have pasted Anvil but to this day the band are now evening stronger and with the release of the film has certainly giving the band a up rise, a phoenix has now risen. I recently caught up with Lips and Robb whilst on tour with Saxon to pop some questions to them, I have to admit I was excited and nervous interviewing them, but still this was a great time to meet them 28yrs later. Check out the bands current release 'This is thirteen' and the DVD, great stuff. Here's what the boys had to say to the following questions. The interview indicated who is answering each question, (L= Lips), & (R= Robb).
Ok first of all guys it is a great pleasure for me to interview the band, for me this is a reunion of 28yrs later, how does it feel for you guys looking at the picture of us back in 82?
L "Wow Jase, this is fucking awesome, the picture is timeless!! it's amazing and so cool!!"
R "That is so cool, just look at how young we look, were old men now!!"
So I better start by asking you after the shock of the picture haha!! Lips as a child was there any member of your family musically influenced by playing any instrument that inspired you to become a guitarist?
L "Well I have a older brother who helped teach me in the early days to play. My dad actually brought me a guitar home when I was about 9 yrs old and we got 'The Beatles - 'Rubber Soul' song book and we began how to play. My brother would learn and then show me how to play the songs but after about a year I was 10 times better than my brother. My first guitar was a Japanese make but it didn't have a brand name, but it had 2 pick ups and tremolo arm and bolded on neck."
Can you remember the 1st Rock song you learnt to play?
L "Damn!! I think it was 'Satisfaction' by The Rolling Stones in 65 and I had learnt to play the guitar in 66 and that was still on the radio when I learnt to play that song. So it gives you some idea to how long ago that actually was."
Watching the DVD it said that you met in high school and heard Robb playing songs to Cactus, please tell me more.
R "Well I'm probably the biggest Cactus fan around. (Ed: If there was a Cactus tribute album would you appear on it?). Yeah I would if there was the right musicians around me. Just throw a list of musicians in front of me and I will let you know. I would like to jam to the song 'Evil', because it would be a challenge."
At what age did you learn to play the drums? Who inspired you to become a drummer?
R "Well Buddy Rich inspired me really. My first drum kit was called 'Raven' and you can see me with it on the DVD, and they were made in Japan and which use to be called 'Stuart' drums. I'm currently playing 'D' drums, and they gave them to me."
As a band, do you influences jell well within the bands music?
R "Yeah for sure, I think our influences are cleverly disguised within our music, but I am not going to tell who."
L "Yeah and sometimes not laughing"
Was you inspired by any Canadian bands such as Triumph?
R "Well I am influenced by a lot of early Canadian Rock, but we don't sound them but I do listen too their records. To me Triumph is lame shit, but I won't mention any names as you will not even heard of them, sorry. The Saxon guys told me I was the professor of music."
Which N.W.O.B.H.M. bands have influenced you?
R "Well Deep Purple and Uriah Heep and Free, Cream influenced me."
L "For me it was Thin Lizzy, Sabbath and 10 yrs after, Michael Schenker."
The name Anvil, was this the 1st name you came up with for the bands name?
L "Well originally we were called 'Lips', but we got a record deal so we change the name because of the disco band called Lips, so we didn't want any confusion between us."
R "It also meant more sense to have a name that suited the bands style really. Lip's could of been anything really, and we are a Heavy Metal band so it was a smart move to change the bands name."
There is 1 thing that really pisses me off about the DVD, the way that Lars from Metallica says how much Anvil have influenced Metallica, but they haven't given you guys the break you deserve. It's all very well him saying how cool your band is but you really have struggled along the way. At least Metallica would of had you on tour with them earlier this year with Machine Head, instead of 'The Sword'. How do you feel about this?
R "You and everybody else Jase, and do you know what? You have to bring something to the table and it is not so simple to give the band a break. I guess Lars has a obsession with contemporary bands and he might wake up one day and realize that he has been missing the boat. What can you do? You really have to buy your way onto a tour, that's the way it is. Thing are now changing for the band, and let's see what happens next year."
The DVD must of really lifted your profile and put the band back on the Heavy Metal map that you so rightly deserve to be on.
L "Yeah look at where we are now, since the DVD has been released the band certainly have started to become more popular even with the younger generation and the new album is doing really well."
I saw the band at this years 'Download', which was incredible and meant a lot to me, having not seen the band since 1983 I was really happy to see you again. I didn't even know you played 'Monster Of Rock' back in the day, but I do remember you playing 'Reading Rock' in the early 80's. I have that show on tape from the radio, have you heard it? Also how was Download for you?
L "Yeah we played Monsters Of Rock back in 82. I do remember Reading Rock and it was released on the 'Absolutely No Alternative' album in Japan. Download was awesome, it was a great feeling to be back in the UK after so long, we really had a great time too."
Moving on, have you guys quit your day jobs since the release of the DVD? Are you now making enough money out on the road since the DVD release?
R "Yeah well technically I haven't work in all my live, but we don't have day jobs anymore. We are pretty much making enough money since the release of the DVD."
Since the release of the new album 'This Is Thirteen' which was put out by the band, has any label approached you for the distribution of this release and also offered you a deal for the next album?
L "Well the new album has been picked up in the U.S. but not in Europe. It has also been released on Sony in Japan, Universal on VH1 classics in the States, and a label in Australia put it out too. (Ed: So why hasn't Europe released it? I find that very odd!!) Well we haven't been to concerned about it over here really. You can buy it off you on Paypal and we also sell them at our shows and we are cutting out the middle man. We make 10 times the profit and it is a slow and hard way of doing it but it's all coming to us."
R "There are people who we will do business with and thing shave to be more forward for the moment we are content with what we are doing. Nobody has even approached us for the next record, can you believe that in Europe? When we released the film there were plenty of sharks who realized we had some money and wanted to jump on the bandwagon and until then they don't take it seriously. If this movie wins some awards in Hollywood then people will think a lot more different towards this band."
So on the latest album 'This Is Thirteen', which songs stand out for you and why?
R "For me it is the title track, also 'Bombs Away', Burning Bridges', 'Ready To Fight', 'Room 9', 'Game Over', 'Thump Hang' all fucking rule!!"
L "I really never talk about it because it is pointless to me, and none of the songs would be on the record if I didn't like any of them or believe in it. I let the fans decide on what songs they like or dislike, it's not my problem."
Do you feel that the production is the best the band has done? Also would you ever consider doing the early material re-recorded with today's technology?
R "Well actually we have thought about it, we have done with the Chris which came out awesome!! I would love to make a record with some of the stuff off this album & and songs of the other albums with Chris T doing the production."
How would you feel if there
was a Anvil tribute CD?
L "I think it would be fucking great!! I hope that it sounds good and it does justice to the great music that is there. I don't want to hear poor mans versions, and it is hard to find musicians that are on our level."
So do you still keep in touch with the older members of the band? Also would you ever consider doing a re-union tour with those guys?
L "No, Dave called Rob and myself recently to congratulate us on the DVD and the CD and he expressed his guts and feels to us. No we would never consider doing a re-union tour with any of them, why would we want to take a punch of old geezers who can't play? If they wanted to jam one songs than that is fine by us but to do a band thin no fucking way."
(At this point Lips leaves the room to jam 'Denim and Leather' with Saxon at sound check as this will be played onstage later in the show.)
I heard you have a new album in the works, please tell me more.
R "Yeah it's called 'Juggernaut Of Justice' and all the songs are finished, which is finished, we just need to record it. Some of the song titles are called 'The Shark', 'What I want To Be', 'SFA'."
How does this album differ to the previous album like the current one? Will there also be any guest musicians on the next CD?
R "Well it is a extension of everything really, it's more Anvil and it is high quality songs I think. I guess it is more like 'This Is Thirteen' but it is still Anvil to me. We are been true to who we are. Well we talked about doing the 'Metal On metal' thing with guest guitar players joining us on that or somebody like Lemmy on the DVD, who would sing a verse, Tom from Slayer would also sing and Slash would do some guitar work. We have not considered going any further but we are not sure if this will ever come off."
Will Chris T be handling the
production on the next CD?
R "Well at the moment it seems like he is, we have talked about Chris doing the next record for now. We are now living the dream which is really cool."
How has the tour so far with Saxon been for the band? I bet you get kids coming up to you and wanting to talk to you about the film. How did you hook up with Saxon for this tour, who approached who first?
R "The tour has been unbelievable, we are having a blast!! We are now worth something and that is what the tour is representing to everybody including the Saxon guys. We have brought a lot of people to this tour. The Saxon guys have been very good to us, making us feel very welcome and there a great bunch of guys to get on with. The whole tour with us and Saxon came about when we met them in the U.S. when we did a concert over there and the Saxon guys was our film on a plane and the next thing we know we are doing this tour. The kids have been great towards us, asking for our autographs, having pictures taken with them and them generally praising us which has made us feel very welcome indeed."
So when will Anvil be releasing a full length live DVD? This is something which has to be in the pipeline!
R "Well right now I want to get so fucking famous and become a headlining band and everything else that comes with it. We have talked about making a live CD on & off for years really, but it's all about timing and money. A live DVD would be great but we are not sure when it will be done."
Playing in Japan on the DVD at 11.30am but of been rather scary not knowing how many people would be there for the band, but to actually see the fantastic response was great!!
R "Well it was a pleasant and happy surprise for us, and we didn't know how many people would actually be there for the band at that time in the morning. Last time we played in Japan was 20yrs ago, so it brings back a lot of good memories for Lips and myself. As the movie gets bigger more and more people want to see the band, so that is what it is all about right now."
Do you guys now have a good solid management?
R "Yeah we do have a management company in L.A. who also work with Slayer. So far things are going ok with us both, and the reason why I went with the was because they do manage Slayer but is it going to be right for us in the long run? We don't know yet I can't say"
So what si the future plans for Anvil, more CD's, touring?
R "Yeah it is, more metal too! If I can work for another 10yrs I will be happy with that as my time is running out."
Ok Robb, thanx for the interview, please thank Lips too for me. Do you have anything to say before we come to the end of this interview? I would like to thank you both, best wishes for the future and remember I'm here for the band!!
R "Yeah thanks to our fans for all the support, buy our records and come and see the shows!! Thank for the interview, we hope we meet again in the future."
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