Anvil’s Longtime Supporters Cool With New Fans
It used to be that Anvil played mostly for die-hards — guys with names like ‘Mad Dog’ and ‘Cut Loose’ — true believers who had followed the pioneering Canadian metal band since its early-’80s brush with fame. Now, given the success of the documentary ‘Anvil! The Story of Anvil,’ the group is drawing its share of newbies, folks whose knowledge of the band — and perhaps even of metal itself — is limited to a 90-minute film.
One can imagine longtime Anvil fans feeling resentful about having to suddenly share their beloved band with a bunch of latecomers — and short-haired ones at that. But lead singer and guitarist Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow says he’s yet to witness any such territorialism.
“It was a fan that created this, so it’s really hard for our fans to be begrudging of this,” Lips tells Noisecreep, pointing out that the documentary’s director, Sacha Gervasi, was a super fan and roadie back in the early ’80s.
“Most [fans] are feeling that this is a victory that they’ve believed in all along,” Lips says. “Particularly our hardcore following really celebrated it, from what I can gather. Honestly, in the emails I have received, I haven’t gotten anything where people have said, ‘I’ve been into you so long, and now you’ve sold out and gone commercial.’ It’s been mostly, ‘Congratulations on what we’ve always believed.’”
It’s precisely that kind of support, both from fans and the families of Lips and drummer Robb Reiner, that has kept Anvil going, despite their lack of commercial success.
While many of the acts Anvil influenced — Metallica and Slayer, most notably — emerged from the ’80s rich, famous or both, Lips found himself living the life of a part-time rocker, schlepping school lunches by day and performing in bars and staging unprofitable tours whenever time allowed.
Thanks to Gervasi’s film, Lips is now able to devote himself full-time to rock ‘n’ roll. Still, the perpetually optimistic frontman looks back fondly at his time hauling heavy food trays.
“You look at some of the rock stars, and they have to pay for the personal trainer to kill their pot belly,” he says. “I was killing it and getting paid at the same time. Life has balances, you know? You can complain about it, no matter what you’ve got going on. A lot of people dwell on the negative things in their lives. I prefer to avoid those things. [Life] is what it is: Let’s adapt to it and make it work.”