Canadian heavy metal band Anvil got their start 34 years and 14 studio albums ago. Their highly influential sound struck a chord with many metal heavyweights like Megadeath, Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, but Anvil never made it big until recently, when a documentary which highlighted their struggles as a band was released to rave reviews around the world. This weekend, Urban Nomad will be screening Anvil! The Story of Anvil three times at the Canada Day celebration at the Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山1914文創園區), and Anvil will take to the stage at Legacy on Sunday night.
The Taipei Times caught up with founding member of Anvil, Steve “Lips” Kudlow, via email to discuss heavy metal music today, what it’s like to finally have your dreams come true, and representing Canada all the way in Taiwan.
Taipei Times: Do you pay attention to current metal and rock and roll? What do you think of the state of metal at the moment?
Lips: I sometimes listen to something new but rarely enjoy it. For me good or listenable metal has to have a strong powerful feel that is consistent and steady with a memorable level of melody. I think a lot of metal music in this day and age lacks these qualities.
TT: How has your definition of metal changed over the years?
Lips: My personal definition of metal has not changed. I still love and listen to the music I grew up with and continue to be inspired to create in the same vein. Metal is a timeless format of music. What was good 40 years ago is still good today. Case in point — Black Sabbath.
TT: What is your favorite Anvil song? Why?
Lips: My personal favorite is Swing Thing on the newest CD, Juggernaut of Justice. This is because this song has broken musical barriers and is extraordinarily unique. Speed metal crossed with big band swing. This is something I had never heard before and had the will, desire and drummer to make it really come to life.
TT: You and Anvil co-founder, drummer Robb Reiner, have been through the highs and the lows of Anvil. Was there ever a time when you thought that you two would never be friends again? What happened? How did you make up?
Lips: For whatever reason, we have never been faced with this type of breakdown. We certainly can have arguments and even sometimes push each other around but never to the point that would cause permanent damage physically or emotionally. There is a true honest friendship between us and even at the worst of times we have been able to resolve our differences.
After the heavy metal boom fizzled out in the late-1980s, Anvil still made albums but toiled in obscurity until a former roadie nicknamed “Teabag”, Sacha Gervasi, decided in 2005 to film a documentary about the band going on tour in Europe and recording their 13th studio album, This is Thirteen. Anvil! The Story of Anvil premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2008 and ended up winning a slew of global awards. More importantly, the members of Anvil got to ride another wave of popularity and could finally quit their day jobs.
TT: What kind of credit do you give Sacha Gervasi for putting you guys back on the map and into people’s consciousness?
Lips: It isn’t easy to quantify how much gratitude I feel toward Sacha. He is a dear friend, and even more like my little brother. We help each other and have enormous respect for each other. We shared success with each other and this is a very powerful bond. We continue to be very close friends and probably will be for the rest of our lives.