The Story of Anvil  

Posted by Praveen in , ,


We all have heard the stories of metal bands which make it big. Those make for compelling viewing. We love to see their God-like lifestyle, their constant touring, petty fights. There were many documentaries made on the rich and the famous bands, the Metallicas, Maidens, Megadeths. Amidst all this is a great metal band which most of us never ever heard of. A band which inspired iconic bands like Metallica and Motorhead. A band which used to play along with Scorpions, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and the like at the start of the 80s. A band which faded out 2 years before Metallica and Slayer made their big impact. The band is Anvil.

The movie directed by a long time 'Anvil' fan Sacha Gervasi, is more of a human story than a rock documentary. It starts off with that super rock concert in Japan in 1984 where Anvil played along with Scorpions, ACDC and a host of other big bands to some big crowds. From there, it cuts back to present day Canada, the home of the band. The band's frontman Steve 'Lips' Kudlow is working for a catering service and drummer Robb Reiner is hard at work in breaking concrete. Hardly the kind of work rock stars are expected to do. Alas, they never made it to rock stardom. Somewhere along the way, they started a downward spiral with bad management(They didn't even have a manager) and cheating by record labels. But Lips and Reiner stuck it together as buddies and kept their hopes alive. They still played at small shows along with the 2 new band members who joined 10 years back. And, as a ray of hope, they receive a mail from a fan who has fixed up concerts for them in Europe. But, the hope soon dies down as they end up playing in
small pubs with 5 to 10 people. They travel in buses, trains. They wait on empty roadsides. Its nothing like the typical world tour that you associate with a band. Many of the pub owners refuse to pay them. The fan(now also the manager) doesn't help things with her inability to communicate properly in english. Its back to the same old boring dayjob for Lips and Reiner again.

Even after so much of disappointments and rejections, they never lose hope. As Lips says after returning from that bad European tour, 'I enjoyed every bit of it although things didn't go well'. Its their passion to make it big atleast once before they die that make them carry on even at that old age. Their families stand by them all through. They decide to record their 13th album 'This is 13' and contact music producer Chris Tsangarides who has worked with Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and also on one of Anvil's previous albums. He agrees to do it for them but money becomes a problem. Lips tries a job as a telemarketeer at one of his fan's firms. But he couldn't adjust to it. Atlast, the family man gets rewarded for being loyal to his family all through. His elder sister pays for the recording. After stormy recording sessions which included fights between Lips and Reiner, they make the record. But the record companies refuse to take it. And in the end, they themselves release it.

And then it comes. History repeating itself after almost 30 years. An invitation to play in a big rockfest in Japan. They are upbeat as they come out of Tokyo airport. As a last twist of fate, they find their concert time to be 11.30 AM. They are shattered thinking that no one's gonna turn up at that time. As they walk from their room to the venue, you also will start praying for the venue to have atleast a 1000 people. Much to the band's surprise, they see a full house waiting in anticipation for Anvil's return. They give it their best. Their hardwork and the long wait for 30 years has found its results. Though they may never reach the league of Metallica or Slayer, their touching story of determination amidst a hell lot of failures will forever inspire us.

Its not about how many records you sell. Its about doing what makes you happy even if it doesn't pay you the dividends that you expect. Its about sticking on with your buddy and with your family even when the times are not that good. Its about giving it your best even if you are playing to a one man audience. Its about the love for Rock N Roll.

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 18, 2009 at Thursday, June 18, 2009 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

12 comments

Have heard of these guys! Its good to know that they got some good reception far away from the conventional rock ground!

10:31 AM

hmmm !! interesting !!
good read and inspiring story

6:50 PM

That was an interesting read, bro'. THanks for the share...

How have you been? Yep, I guess I am back - at long last! Took a cue from what you'd said - blogging from office. ;)

Trust things are fine with you.

Peace.

5:20 PM

I haven't watched any movies based on real-life bands as yet but Anvil sounds good enough to give it a try. I've heard good things about it.

I did watch U2-3D at theatres some months ago, but that was only a 'concert film'. Watch it if you are a U2 fan!

5:35 PM

can see that u r completely living for music

9:38 PM

beautifully written... loved the ending particularly! :-)

12:10 AM

I have listened to only one album of Anvil.Worth the Weight.I sort of liked the sound then.I still have the audio tape of that album.I bought it from a shop in Trivandrum, near Overbridge, who were also an authorized dealer for Philips in those days.early 90's :) That shop is not there anymore i guess.

By the way,have anyone listened to a band named "Faster Pussycat"?

12:07 PM

@rakesh
yea..this movie's taking them places..atlast

@Preeti
thanks :D

@Kartz
good to see u back...
hahhaa..blogging from office..blogger not blocked in office?

@Bhargav
yea..am a U2 fan for sure..will chk it out..thnks for the reco..and do write ur review on anvil

@Chriz
YEAH!!!!

@Ashwathy
thanks

@esvee
Good to see an old-time rocker, that too from my hometown, in my blog. Will surely chkout 'faster pussycat'..haven't heard it before.
chked out some of your old blogs and good to see mentions on roger waters and megadeth..Do keep coming back

12:31 PM

I hav seen my bro listening to their tunes, its pretty bad that they couldnt make that big league like they shud hav..

5:21 PM

I hav seen my bro listening to their tunes, its pretty bad that they couldnt make that big league like they shud hav..

5:21 PM

You seem to be a universal writer Nice blog. Very impressive work....

3:02 PM

Hey Praveen!Stumbled onto your external blog somehow.. remember me frrm Infyblogs??Nice to see this other blog of yours.. :-)

11:47 PM

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