Mark Morton of Heavy Metal Examiner recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Steve "Lips" Kudlow of Canadian heavy metal legends ANVIL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Heavy Metal Examiner: It has to feel good that America has finally awoken and is taking notice of you.
Lips: I am extremely grateful for what has happened. It's a very pure story; a miraculous story, there's no doubt about that! But in many regards, it has to do with karma — what you put in is what you get out. You know, I met a kid who was fifteen years old during our first trip to England. We made friends with him, later learning that he had relatives in Toronto, and before we knew it, he was coming to visit us here in Canada. We asked him to come out on the road as our drum roadie. We knew the kid had an amazing intellect and knew that he would grow up to do great things. Well, as it turned out, he grew up to be a screenwriter and even worked with Steven Spielberg. I hadn't heard from him in 20 years; he gets in touch with me and takes a look at our career, having been an avid ANVIL fan and flipped right out! Imagine going through life figuring that the band you grew up loving had broken up years ago, because you couldn't find their records. And then you find out 20 years later that they put out 10 more albums since you last saw them! And that's exactly what happened. And my attitude has always been, "One day, it's going to happen for me." I've always felt that way, because history was adding up; like a dam ready to break. We basically went on an integrity hunt. We wrote music that we felt we wanted to play, and we had no other intention than that. So, at the end of the day, here's this underground band that has managed to continue to function for 30 years, and they made a movie about it. And now it's not underground.
Heavy Metal Examiner: And when it happened, it completely boggled my mind how the floodgates opened for you, from the television appearances to the arena concerts.
Lips: It's because the story was compelling! It's unusual! Just the fact alone that I have been playing together with Robb [Reiner, drums] since 1973 is extraordinarily unusual. The only other place you're going to find that kind of longevity is probably RAVEN, but in their situation, it's two brothers. I mean, they've been together their whole lives, but they're brothers! So we're a little outside the box, because we're not brothers; we've been friends for 37 years. That is extraordinary, as is the way the whole thing came to pass, and what the story had to say, as well as the emotions that it evoked from people. It's been completely incredible. Sacha [Gervasi, director] is a genius in that he knew exactly what to create. I also think people were tired of the illusions of the industry and wanted to see what really was going on. And it's like that everywhere, which I think is why reality TV is so successful. People are tired of the same old things. And again, this isn't something that came to pass in a year; it took 30 years to pull it all together. It might seem simple, but there were elements required to make this whole thing plausible. This is something that can never happen again, because the band had to have been around and had to have some influence on a span of generations of people for this to work in the first place.
Heavy Metal Examiner: So is the irony lost on you that all of these mainstream outlets that have been spreading the word of ANVIL in the past couple of years are the very same outlets that, by their silence (and ignorance) have kept you in the underground all that time?
Lips: Honestly, I'm really not bitter. I really don't spend time thinking about things in that way. I'm too busy celebrating the moment to stop and think about things like that. It's not a case of indignation; it really isn't. I'm not here to teach the naysayers a lesson. They won't learn anything anyway; they will still feel they are right. With regards to music and opinions, people stay with them. They won't change, even if the band's stature does. I'm not going to worry about things like that. It's not relevant to me. My job is to give joy to those who want it.
Read the entire interview from Heavy Metal Examiner.