Pounding Metal.... Still Going Strong. Lips Speaks Out.
Canada's finest and truest metal band 'Anvil' return with their stunning new album 'Pounding The Pavement', released through Steamhammer/ SPV this year is becoming one of the bands best selling albums and their most powerful production with crushing tunes from start to finish. This band have been around since the 70's and with the bands debut 'Hard & Heavy' been released in 81 through Attic records was just the beginning of that is now.
The band have released some of the most important albums of their time and have influenced the likes of Metallica, Slayer and many more acts. I managed to catch up with front man Lips, who's not only a friend but a crazy guy who has a lot to say and it comes from the heart. So I managed to catch up with the band in Grimsby once again at the 'Yardbrds' club this month when I put the following questions to him. This is one monster band that are more powerful now than what they were as a 4 piece.
Here is what Lips had to say, and if you haven't heard the new album I suggest you do so and go see them in the UK and Europe now, there here in UK as we speak.
Hi Lips, always good to pound burgers with you brother (laughing). How's the tour going so far? This is the longest tour you have done since Motorhead in 83 isn't it?
"Hi Burgers, always good to pound the burgers with you (laughing). yes this is the longest tour with have done since Motorhead, last night in Newcastle was awesome, this tour is so fucking cool Jase, and we have a tour bus. (Ed: Your making too much money if you an afford a tour bus haha). Yes that and support bands so we need a tour bus, it is good that we have support bands, but I don't pay attention to them and I don't want to get attached to them as it's a disappointment when they leave a tour and you get to know them. So if I don't get attached then I wont feel so bad when they leave the tour."
I wish i had of come to the studio when you recorded 'Pounding the Pavement' in Germany when you asked me, I mean I was in Berlin but it was too far away to get to you, pity we could of had a blast.
"Yeah you should of come Burgers, it would of been fun and we would of had a good laugh."
You're playing this years 'Headbangers Open Air' aren't you? It's changed since you last played Lips, its a little bigger now. Are you looking forward to it?
"Yes this is the 2nd time now that we will play it and we are looking forward to it. It will be Chris 3rd anniversary as it was his 1st ever gig at HOA. I love to play and I don't give a shit on how big a place is and you get to meet fans, I really don't give a shit!!"
Would you like to play more dates in the UK? Maybe play Hull again?
"Well the interesting thing is.. we come into the UK and the 1st gig is on a Tuesday night and we are thinking will anybody show up? What a fucking night it turned out to be!! It was packed at the Underworld in London. I wouldn't of even known it was a Tuesday night, it was fucking nuts!!
Last night in Newcastle was insane, it was sold out, about 300 people but I like the small shows, they seem pretty normal for me small and packed and I enjoy as much as I like festival. The songs are the same and I take it just a seriously one way or another. (Ed: are you still using the same vibrator or do you use a different one now - laughing) Pretty much still the same.
You know what is interesting Motorhead had got an endorsement from a vibrator company (Ed: really? You would of thought they would of come to Anvil) and I am thinking great idea... wrong band and nobody in Motorhead uses it on their guitars, it never made sense to me. It is amazing how much silliness that makes."
How many festivals have you been booked to play this year?
"We only have HOA so far but I am sure there will be more to follow. He have the choice of either playing 50-60 show across Europe on you're own , or you play 10-20 festivals and get paid less. I'll take the 50-60 shows instead. It's not about the money Its about I get to play 50-60 shows rather than 20 times. You want to be out working and it the feeling of been useful and having something to look forward too."
Let's talk about the last studio album, 'Anvil is Anvil', just how well did the album sell for the band and how much success did you have touring?
"I really don't know how successful the album sales were, I don't pay attention on that side of the business. Success to me is having the album released, how many it sells, who gives a fuck!!! I don't work for a record company only they care (laughing). SPV are doing a great job and that's all that matters."
Did you have any favourite songs from this album and why?
"Well the favourite ones are the ones we play live like 'Die for a Lie', 'Daggers and Rum'. I hate to change songs live (laughing) because I like to add songs not take some away or change them. We haven't changed any of the songs or set from last years tour, we just kept the same songs but added new ones. We are playing almost 2 hours."
So let's talk about the new album 'Pounding the (Burgers) Pavement, why the title and cover?
"Well that is actually difficult to say. we had 100's of titles for the album and it wasn't until a moment when we were sitting down in a Wal-Mart parking lot in the USA, and I turned to Robb and said 'Were pounding the Pavement', we go from city to city and we set up our equipment and we do our demonstration and try to sell our shit then pack it all up and move on. We are like door to door sale men and we have been pounding the pavement for 40 fucking years man!!
The most important thing for the title of the album is the cover, so the title has to work with the artwork. How does the cover tie in the with the Anvil? So we make an album cover that all works together. So the 1st thought was a jackhammer and I said we could put an anvil tip on it and then I thought why don't we make the flying V into a jackhammer with the anvil on it. We thought it was a great idea so then we sent it to the artist and he pout it together for us. We did the setup photograph at the beginning and you have to start with a real photograph, so we took our anvil and I held the flying V in a position to the anvil and it was photographed and he just created the artwork.
The original model is my guitar with our anvil."
Did you not think of using some of Robb's artwork like you did the 'Anvil is Anvil'?
"Well the whole idea of doing that was, Robb is extraordinarily good at doing still life paintings and when we came up with title 'Anvil is Anvil' it was Robb saying he had a great idea to put an anvil in a mirror with it's reflection with a lot of red's and brown colours."
This new album was recorded in a completely different studio in Germany, with the last album recorded at 'Red Head' studios with Martin Kuhlmann & Sven Dirkschneider, whereas the new album was recorded at Soundlodge studios with Joerg Uken. I have to say that the recent albums have gotten better productions over the years and this is something that the band so rightly deserved. Tell me more about that.
"Well the productions on the last 2 albums have a similar production even though they weren't recorded with the same producers or the same studios. I think the new album is a little more crisper and a little bit more powerful. There are people who don't listen too the album and say it's as good as the last one, well they haven't given it a chance and they better listen too it for at least a week before they starting making judgment on the record because you might like it more or less and songs sink in.
(Ed: you know when you listen too such bands like Anvil, Saxon, Judas Priest etc... you all have a distinct sound, whereas the modern bands all pretty much sound the same). Yeah I agree, you would not of got a record deal back in the old days if you sounded like everybody else, you had to be unique or you wouldn't get heard.
I still believe in those things, and that is the biggest fault in today's metal scene as everybody is playing follow my leader and nobody is making any new enervation or even attempting it, they all want to sound like 'Motorhead' and everything will be fine, well no and there not original anymore. You may get a lot further that way but you are not playing true from the heart. Make you're own path not other's paths. That is what a real writer and musician is suppose to do."
Moving on how long did it take to record the new album?
"It took 3 wks to record, that including the mix. The 4th week (then you should of come) was partying and rehearsing for the tour which we did right after the album was recorded, we did a couple of shows in Europe. It was the 1st time ever that I had rehearsed in the studio that we recorded with to go out and play gigs. We then got home for a week and then left for a tour of South America and then we got home for another week, a week later we were in China and Australia then after that we are in L.A. getting an award and week later I'm here in the UK (laughing)."
Which songs from the new album are ones that stand out for you and why?
"Well that is kind of a good question, I never record anything I don't like. My favourite is never my most original sound but I do think that my favourite song would be 'World of Tomorrow' as it is so close to what I love and that is Black Sabbath (Ed: are you playing this tonight?) No we are not playing tonight as it is not a favourite from the fans point of view. There are people all over the place complaining about that song, which is so really fucked up that you're favourite song is their worst song, Do some people miss the point, but that's ok I get it. We are playing 3 songs from the new album, they are: Doing what I Want, Ego, Bitch in a Box, I love the feel of that song 'Bitch in a Box', it has an outstanding feel to it.
This song is about a GPS, it's not about women, its about a woman's voice on the GPS and you have no idea how many stupid people are out there!! Saying that Anvil are sexist, you 'Fucking Morons' that are bitching about the song when they haven't even listened too the song, what an arsehole!! People look at the cover of the album and say there's no anvil on the cover, well if you look there is a third if not more of the anvil on the cover. If they look at the cover like that then how do they listen too things?
How long is this tour for the album going to last? Where will you play?
"Well it will probably overlap like it did on the last tour, we will be recording in Germany and still playing shows (laughing), that is what we did for this album we recorded and we still toured after the recording. It takes about 3 weeks to play and memorize the songs and a lot of people don't realize this and when I record records everything is done in layers so I will go in and record the basic tracks with Robb and Chris, after that I will do the 2nd layer of guitars and then I start putting in the vocals and then I start to do all the lead guitars & harmonies.
So it is all done in segments and when you have all finished you have never played everything at once so I have to re-learn the song to make it into one song but not only that I am also singing live as well as play the guitar with solos."
Have you ever thought of doing a new live DVD? Is the timing right for the band now?
"Well when the day comes that when we have the show that is right for us to record a live DVD we will do it. Until that happens we will not do it because we need a show with a good stage, lots of fans to show up and a stage that all the other big bands have. If you're going to have a big show you best have some cool shit with it, If we are going to do 'Mothra' then we need a big massive 'Mothra' and I want to fly over the audience with me on its back with my crazy antics or that been lowered into the crowd in a sharks cage that would be cool, a real full show. (Ed: How about a big massive dildo riding on that haha)."
Where does the tour take you after the UK and Europe?
"We will then tour the States for 2 months and we will have set bands that will be supporting us in the U.S. I am not sure who they are and I don't pick the bands. I get files to listen too but I just don't bother listening too them, I don't care and if they want to play with us that's great!!"
This is the 2nd time you have played here at the 'Yardbirds' club in Grimsby, are you looking forward to be playing here again?
"Yes I am, you where here too. I like this venue and I am hoping it packs out and I am sure it will."
Well Lips it's always a pleasure hanging out with my Canadian Burger brothers, do you have anything to say before we finish the interview?
"Yes thanks to our fans for their support, thanks for buying our albums. Come see us live before there is no more Anvil, were the last of the dodo birds and as we get older there will be less chance to see us. more bands we will retiring and more of the musician's dying and I'm going to keep playing till I drop."
Thanks to Lips, Robb & Chris for supporting 'Brother Burgers', also Sis D, James, & Roland @ Work Hard for the interview.