Lips/Robb - Anvil
The Anvil: Story Of Anvil Movie is universally being praised by the media, and rightfully so. I was so grateful when it came to my town, and Anvil played live immediately following the feature. I was also very appreciative when the two Metal On Metal Masterminds - Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner - took time out of their hectic schedule to conduct a back to basics interview with me.
I must have foreseen the night to be most fortuitous, when Wendy parked in space # 13, and cried out, "This Is Thirteen!" Indeed the evening would be one to remember; marked by plenty of powerful engagements, well worth the wait. With old, and new friends alike, united by hard 'n heavy mettle hearts, we truly and thankfully did celebrate with even more abundance than ever imagined. Our local newspaper even documented the event, and photographed me speaking with the brothers beneath the skin.
MettleAngel: Well guys, I must say that this is quite an honour to finally interview you, given your recent success. Have you seen the Wheaties: Metal On Metal cereal box mock up by Dalila K of Rockstar pix. That is hysterical! Actually, I know that it is really a 30 year overnight success story; but nevertheless, I've been wanting to do an interview with the both of you for quite sometime.
MettleAngel: They will always just be Piledriver
to me. Actually, Wendy was speaking with him and his wife. I was entranced
by the conversation you were having with Mark and John Gallagher from
Raven. Mark was reminiscing about the early '80s, and your lustful exploits.
He alluded to you jackhammering his would be girlfriend, but you had no
recollection of the event.
MettleAngel: Back in those days, bands like yourself, Raven, and Exciter set the precedent for what would become Speed Metal. You all seemed primed for success, and yet it really never happened for you, or any of the other truly worthy bands.
MettleAngel: I can see that, and congratulations on all your success. That show you were playing in Cleveland was Bill Peter's - Metal On Metal 25th Anniversary Party. Lips, do you remember when we all had breakfast together in Kalamazoo, in 2001 for the very first Classic Metal Fest?
MettleAngel: Yes, he is, and that show was stellar. In some respects, he indirectly set the standard for what would become the KIT festivals. I know an American dude who now lives in Norway. He was in attendance at that show. He is a key promoter now for Keep It True. Many of our friends gave Brad money, just so he could fairly pay the bands for their travel expenses. We fronted him some cash, to alleviate and allay his worries. What an amazing gathering of talent: Manilla Road, Omen, Exciter, Abbatoir, Hades, Halloween, Cage, Destiny's End, New Eden, Vicious Rumours, Agent Steel, Premonition, and so many others, all played and kicked ass!
MettleAngel: Yes, the school love of metal on metal minded appreciation had not quite struck back! The internet was just beginning to burgeon and blossom. Webzines were still in their infancy. Do you recall the very first time I met you? It was when you toured in 1999 for the Speed Of Sound album. You were opening for Jag Panzer and Iced Earth.
MettleAngel: Indeed I did. Do you recall how I I pestered you to add - Blood On The Ice to your live set, and once you finally did, you chose to dedicate it to me? My first Anvil cassette was - Pound For Pound. After hearing this, I did my best to secure the past material. I have bought every CD you put out, so far.
MettleAngel: It was worth it, because he gave me a free 20th Anniversary T-shirt. Speaking of Tour Shirts, Wendy and I are so glad we showed up early. We received your E-mail about this event, which was a last minute surprise. We were supposed to see Gwar this evening. I'm glad we got here when we did. Glen only had three Metal On Metal large T-shirts remaining, and a handful of patches. So I bought those right away.
MettleAngel: You mean you have not remunerated her for the cost of - This Is Thirteen?
MettleAngel: Wow, that is so surreal. I don't even think Maiden or Priest have played the late night talk show circuit, as of yet. I think Heaven & Hell should do this.
MettleAngel: That would be awesome. Does this mean that you will finally re-issue some of those classic albums from the Attic years? That Molten Masterpieces 2 on 1 bootleg is a joke. It is difficult to find Hard 'N' Heavy on CD. I would not mind the Metal Blade material being remastered, as well.
MettleAngel: I am very excited about this...
MettleAngel: I'm glad to hear this. I know you have been royally screwed over in the past. Will you explain to me the rumour about you opening for the summer Judas Priest & Whitesnake Tour? I heard this announced on the radio, so I believed it to be true. When I contacted you, you informed me that it was just a perpetrated rumour.
MettleAngel: We had already purchased our Priest tickets, but we were excited about seeing you again. Now here we are, so I suppose that is serendipitous. Rob, do you recall that at the 25th Anniversary Cleveland show I bought the original band released edition of - This Is Thirteen - for $12?
MettleAngel: Oh I know, it was just that I paid for the CD with a $10 and $2 bill. Obviously you had not seen a $2 bill, so you began to give me $20 as change. I instantly corrected you, as to not rip you off, or be unfair. I wanted to give you the $2 bill, because it was rare, and I wanted to give you something to commemorate that show.
MettleAngel: Then I suppose you recall how we assisted you with getting back to the hotel, where we were all staying. There was some frustration trying to secure your rooms, that night.
MettleAngel: The day after you played, there was a big Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals football game. The Cincinnati fans had driven up to give the Browns fans hell. Those football fans are as insane as us metalheads. I never let any football fan know that I too was from Cincy. I was there to celebrate Bill's 25th Metal Fest.
MettleAngel: Lips, I was surprised that in the movie, you referred to - This Is Thirteen - as your best metal release since the Attic years.
MettleAngel: Don't get me wrong, I love it, but you can not dismiss the Metal Blade, or Hypnotic albums. Chris Tsangarides did a phenomenal job, but you can not just give him all the credit. It is like with Priest and Painkiller, it just seems that everyone thinks that this is their best effort; sure it is awesome, but the Tom Allom albums kill too. I'm just grateful they will perform British Steel in its entirety this summer.
MettleAngel: Man, I love all your albums. I just played - Still Going Strong - that is a rippin' release. I also think Worth The Weight is underrated. Plugged in Permanent, Pound For Pound, Pleny Of Power, and Speed Of Sound are also amazing! I've always loved those tongue and cheek - Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'N' Roll type lyrics, which you write. For example, in the movie, when the talk show lady recites the lyrics to - Toe Jam.
MettleAngel: So whatever happened to the vibrator? This was always a killer gimmick, which made the live shows, even more exciting.
MettleAngel: This is another aspect about Anvil which I find so appealing. You all have such a wonderful sense of humour. I loved the Christmas gift giving scene in the movie, where you presented your son with a South Park DVD. When I initially introduced Wendy to your music, the first songs I played for her were - Hair Pie, Show Me Your Tits, and Five Knuckle Shuffle. I think thereafter, I played her - Butter-Bust Jerkey, Jackhammer, Mattress Mambo, and Man Over Broad. You got to love the line,..."Skin boat to tuna town!"
MettleAngel: Yes, the sweet triangle taco, I miss the bush years. I'm not a fan of camel toe, or fake tits. I prefer tits to be big, baggy, sagging, uneven, and all natural.
MettleAngel: I know, as we are all married, and our wives are so damn cool. I've always appreciated your honesty as concerns drug use, and marijuana. Songs like - Smoking Green, Sativa, and White Rhino - the ragin' instrumental you played tonight, all contribute to the band's character.
MettleAngel: You sounded fine to me. The set list was awesome, and the sound for this little, quaint theater was damn good. I'm sure if you had more time, you would have also played - Forged In Fire.
MettleAngel: Thank You, I had so much fun banging my fist on the seat cushion. Wendy was thrashin' too, and she has a really sore neck, from an injury incurred a week ago. I always appreciated that Anvil could mix Hard Rock elements with molten metal anthems.
MettleAngel: This is probably why Bill Peters named his radio show - Metal On Metal. He knows that true metal endures. For over 27 years, he has consistently begun every Friday night show on www.wjcu.org with - March Of The Crabs followed by - Metal On Metal. It has become his trademark.
MettleAngel: Cleveland Classic Metal rules. Bill is busting his ass to release some new material from his notable bands this summer on Auburn Records.
MettleAngel: I suppose I view it more as being a documentary. I admire the brutal, and visceral honesty of the movie, and its intent. There is an emotional component, with which all viewers can vicariously identify. The sincerity, and passion of the band bring the whole drama to life. Wendy and I related to you as being brothers bonded by an unconditional love. We also see Anvil as an everlasting marriage, which has weathered many storms. In our own relationship, I'm the one who is difficult, and almost impossible to live with; while Wendy is the whipping dog.
MettleAngel: To that extent I agree, but is in authentic and unrehearsed. It is not superficial fiction, riddled with multiple takes, and a pedestrian script. It is, in fact, your life, right up their on the big screen for all to react to, understand, and ultimately empathize with, as they reflect upon their own lives.
MettleAngel: It is candid, shocking, and revealing. I admire the scene in the studio where you two argue, fight, reconcile, and weep. Some may find this to be too "gay" for metal. I see it as being true mettle. The essence of family, and the elements of friendship are ideally expressed and conveyed. That whole integral, evocative scene is rooted in intimacy, love, compassion, and commitment.
MettleAngel: Well put, and I do agree. What do you think of all the Spinal Tap comparisons, in the various reviews of the movie? Many of the ones which I have read are divorced from the reality of the vibrant metal community. There are way too many Metallica allusions. They just don't know what goes on in the metal milieu.
MettleAngel: I just find it hard to fathom that Spinal Tap have returned, with a new album coming out soon called - Back From The Dead. They will be in Columbus next Sunday, Wendy and I really want to see them perform live.
MettleAngel: I can see this as being an inevitable tour that should happen, with both bands co-headlining! On your forthcoming album - Juggernaut Of Justice - you finally plan to record the song - Thumb Hang? I think Slaughter from Canada borrowed your idea for Strappado. Are there any plans to re-record some classic tracks, perhaps as bonus tracks?
MettleAngel: Rob, I learned a great deal about your personal life watching the movie. I was not aware that you were a painter. I especially enjoyed the "Mr. Hankey" scatological rendition. It is a shame the wife does not let you display that one, openly in the house. Wendy and I have the crass "Shit List" poster from Spencer's Gifts adorning our bathroom. I was also astonished to learn that Ivan Hurd, your former guitarist for so many albums, married Tatiana; who worked so hard to book you a tour.
MettleAngel: So, for the last few years, you have chosen to be a Canadian Power Trio like Rush and Triumph.
MettleAngel: He did lay down some leadwork on T.I.T. What about your work with Sebastian Marino who would later join Joe Comeau in Overkill?
MettleAngel: I've heard there is a book now out, available through Bantam Press, which even goes into more detail than the movie, itself. I'm planning to get that. Afterall, I purchased the Bruce Dickinson - Crowley novel, which goes into much more detail than the movie could, or even should.
MettleAngel: I assume because you are plugged
MettleAngel: I know, my fellow writer Mozzy covered that event for Metal Covenant. You'll have to read it. I'll have to link it to this interview.
MettleAngel: I will once I publish our interview.
MettleAngel: Chris, and several famous wrestlers are really into metal. Chris has his band Fozzy. So brother, do many of the fans know that Anvil was originally called - Lips? You actually initially released Hard 'N' Heavy under this moniker, before unfortunately being signed to Attic Records. I've heard the reason you changed the name from Lips to Anvil was to avoid confusion with the disco outfit - Lipps Inc.
MettleAngel: Oh I definitely agree! You can't get more metal than an anvil. I actually like Lipps Inc., as they wrote my favourite disco song - Funky Town. I have that one on vinyl. Do many of your fans actually realize that you have consistently included the anvil image in one form or another, on every single Anvil album?
MettleAngel: And let's not forget the anvil smashing the Hi-Fi stereo on - Absolutely No Alternative.
MettleAngel: Oh I know that! The first letter of the first word, always matches the first letter of the last word; case in point - Metal On Metal, Strength Of Steel, This Is Thirteen.
MettleAngel: That is hilarious! So I must ask you what motivated you to make this movie?
MettleAngel: I am aware of this, because he wrote - The Terminal - which starred Tom Hanks.
MettleAngel: I'm sure you had no idea that all this would escalate into what it now is?
MettleAngel: You mean like a kind of "Expect The Unexpected" type thing?
MettleAngel: I'm sure with the global economy and so-called recession, the movie is an inspiration to the underdogs, and all of those who struggle to make ends meet? Just like the song - Where Does All The Money Go? Some of us are living on a shoestring.
MettleAngel: This is why Anvil are the real deal - true mettle.
MettleAngel: I suppose you both share this underlying confidence, ever since you first formed your partnership as teenagers. I love the scene where Lips talks about his first experience of Robb and his drumming.
MettleAngel: I was surprised when you went on the rant about all the negative energy. I never took you as being a spiritual person.
MettleAngel: Well, you now I'm one of those freaks. I want to sincerely thank both of you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with me.
MettleAngel: Indeed I will. Thank You again for everything, always. I'm looking forward to when Wendy is out and about, wearing an Anvil shirt, and someone stops her, and says, "I loved that movie, and I'm not even into Heavy Metal!"
MettleAngel: Thank You again, I am ever pleased that Anvil are still going strong, and back to basics! Forever may you be forged in the fire of eternal blessings and joy.
See also: review of Anvil! The Story Of Anvil