At the Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles on March 5, 2010. l-r former bassist Glenn Five, Steve "Lips" Kudlow, Robb Reiner
|Also known as||Lips (1978–1981)|
|Origin||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||Heavy metal, speed metal|
|Labels||Attic, Maximum, Massacre, Hypnotic, Metal Blade, The End, Roadrunner|
|Members||Steve "Lips" Kudlow|
|Past members||Ivan Hurd|
Anvil are a Canadian heavy metal band from Toronto, Ontario, formed in 1978. The band consists of Steve "Lips" Kudlow (vocals, guitar), Robb Reiner (drums) and Chris Robertson (bass). As of early 2019, the band has released seventeen studio albums, and has been cited as having influenced many notable heavy metal groups, including Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica.
The band, in particular Kudlow and Reiner, was the subject of the 2008 documentary film, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, directed by the screenwriter and former Anvil roadie, Sacha Gervasi. Upon its release, the film garnered critical acclaim from many major publications, and has since brought the band renewed recognition, including opening slots with AC/DC and Saxon. Appearances at major heavy metal festivals, including Download, Loud Park and Hellfest, and independent music festivals like Bumbershoot and SXSW, also followed the release of the film. Reviewers described Anvil as a pioneering heavy metal band that was popular in the 1980s but then faded into obscurity in the 1990s, while refusing to stop playing, recording and gigging. Anvil's antics on and off stage, the setbacks they suffered, and their determination to keep going have been compared to the fictional band Spinal Tap.
The roots of Anvil began in April 1973 in Toronto, when high school friends Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner began playing music together. They met through friend, guitarist and neighbour Marty Hoffman, but "musical differences" caused his departure after their first show. By 1978, the first full line-up of the band included Kudlow (lead vocals, lead guitar), Reiner (drums), Dave "Squirrely" Allison (rhythm guitar), backing vocals) and Ian "Dix" Dickson (bass). At this point, the band was called Lips.
Success in the 1980s (1981–1989)
In 1981, the band released an independent album called Hard 'N' Heavy. Shortly after they were signed by Attic Records, they changed their name to Anvil and the independent album was released by Attic as their debut album. Following its release, Lemmy asked Kudlow to play guitar for Motörhead to replace "Fast" Eddie Clarke, but he declined. By 1983, Aerosmith manager David Krebs and assistant Paul O'Neill signed Anvil and convinced Attic to release the band from their contract so the band could sign with a major label. However, after initial interest, Krebs eventually stopped returning phone calls and did not get the band a major label recording contract, but eventually released the band from the managing contract allowing the band to find their own record deal in mid-1986. In 2012, during an exclusive interview with Metal Shock Finland's Chief Editor, Mohsen Fayyazi, Kudlow stated the following when he was asked about David Krebs:
|“||...David had little or no knowledge of metal music. He managed Aerosmith and thought we were a great opener, but beyond that he couldn't find us a deal without including our first three albums in a deal. The company Attic refused to license or release those recordings in the USA. This made it impossible for David to go forward with us. He pulled us out of the contract with Attic and left us to die or what ever !! We wrote Strength of Steel [the band's fourth album, released in 1987] and recorded it on our own and released it through Metal Blade. Unfortunately this was 4 years after Forged in Fire which made the album 3 years too late...||”|
Free to pursue a recording contract, they were signed by American label Metal Blade Records in 1987, by William Howell (a fan who is now a DJ with KNAC radio). They released three records with Metal Blade, starting with Strength of Steel, which was the group's most commercially successful record in the United States, peaking at No. 191 on the Billboard 200.
In the early 1990s, Anvil were picked up by Maximum Records, an independent Canadian label that was formed by Helix's manager-at-the-time William Seip. From 1996, they were signed by Hypnotic Records in Canada and Massacre Records in Germany. According to Lips, Anvil would have not continued had it not been for the German fans and the German contract. Germany was the only market for reasonable sales in that period, so the country kept the band running and gave them the opportunity to do more records. In 2001, the band recorded Plenty of Power and continued touring. Lips remarked "We'll play gigs sometimes where there's no one there".
Anvil! The Story of Anvil documentary, and This Is Thirteen (2006–2009)
In 2006, the band recorded with Chris Tsangarides, who previously produced their acclaimed 1982 album Metal on Metal. After failing to find a major label that was willing to distribute the band's new material, the album, titled This Is Thirteen, was self-released in 2007, and was available exclusively from the band's official website.
The band's history has been documented in the documentary film Anvil! The Story of Anvil released in 2008. The film has received high praise which has put Anvil back into the public consciousness, propelling them to play several festivals including the Download Festival in 2009 at which they headlined the Tuborg stage. Rolling Stone called the movie "the year's most praised rock doc." The band played "Cat Scratch Fever" with Slash and Anthrax's Scott Ian at the Sundance Film Festival, where the movie premiered.
Regarding the movie, Lips states:
|“||It stands as a prime example of what an industry—particularly the music industry—can put an artist through. At the same time, I take responsibility for our actions in the past. We were just sustaining who we are. Now someone's come along and brought it to a new level. Now we're getting praise for never selling out and sticking to our guns. It's a celebration. We got our notoriety on our own terms. We've done what we want. Not what someone told us to do.||”|
Following the success of the Anvil documentary, VH1 Classic Records re-released This Is Thirteen on CD and vinyl on September 15, 2009 with a newly recorded song, "Thumb Hang", although it had been written by the band during the 80s. Guitarist Ivan Hurd left the band at this stage to settle down with his new wife. The double-vinyl LP contains re-recorded versions of Anvil classics "Metal on Metal" and "666".
In 2009, Bantam Press released the book Anvil: The Story of Anvil authored by Lips and Reiner with a foreword by Slash. On March 28, 2009, Kudlow and Reiner were the featured guests on VH1 Classic's That Metal Show. Anvil played the Rocklahoma festival in Pryor, Oklahoma in 2009, and opened for AC/DC at their first few summer Black Ice World Tour shows (North American leg II). They also supported Saxon on a leg of UK shows in November.
Anvil appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on October 6, 2009, the first network television appearance of their career, to coincide with the release of Anvil! The Story Of Anvil on DVD in North America, and performed "Metal on Metal".
Continued career (2009–present)
From June to July 2010, the band went on a headline tour of Europe selling out venues in the UK, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands as well as festivals in Finland, Sweden, France, Italy and Germany. Lips confirmed on this tour that he had in fact paid back his sister the loan to pay for the production of This is Thirteen.
Following the release of the album the band completed yet more tours in Europe and North America often playing alongside artists such as Alice Cooper and Saxon. The band released a new greatest hits album Monument of Metal: The Very Best of Anvil. Anvil also started re-releasing their old material starting with Strength of Steel, Pound For Pound and Worth the Weight later that same year.
In January 2012, Glenn Gyorffy quit Anvil citing creative differences. Lips confirmed that another player had been found to fill in on the remainder of the their tour dates. Anvil embarked on their 2012 Winter Tour of the US with Sal Italiano on bass, formerly a bassist for an Iron Maiden tribute band. During Lips's interview with Metal Shock Finland, he stated:
|“||We hired an old friend to do the tour and are currently working with a new, improved bassist. There was no major issue in fixing this at all, and in fact, everything was sorted out within a few hours of Glenn departing. Glenn tried to make it difficult by leaving without proper notice, but we've been preparing for this for quite some time. This did end up for the better, as it is a huge improvement with our new guy, both musically as well as personally.||”|
May 2013 saw the release of Hope in Hell, a new Anvil studio recording again produced by Bob Marlette, who—according to Lips—contributed a lot to songwriting skills and arrangements. The whole album was written by Lips and Reiner alone. In some songs Lips was inspired by his love of heavy "rock'n'roll", which made him feel he "found his way home" to the time when they did their first record. In an interview with The Drummer's Journal, Lips outlined how the record was written "as if it was 1983 again." The band has been touring to promote that album—in fall 2013 they played Europe, and in summer of 2014 they played some European festival gigs.
In 2014, Anvil parted ways with Sal Italiano and replaced him with Chris Robertson, who was already acting as the band's rehearsal bassist and a member of their road crew.
2016 saw the release of Anvil Is Anvil. The album was released on February 26.
- Hard 'n' Heavy (1981)
- Metal on Metal (1982)
- Forged in Fire (1983)
- Strength of Steel (1987)
- Pound for Pound (1988)
- Worth the Weight (1992)
- Plugged in Permanent (1996)
- Absolutely No Alternative (1997)
- Speed of Sound (1999)
- Plenty of Power (2001)
- Still Going Strong (2002)
- Back to Basics (2004)
- This Is Thirteen (2007)
- Juggernaut of Justice (2011)
- Hope in Hell (2013)
- Anvil Is Anvil (2016)
- Pounding the Pavement (2018)
- Current members
- Steve "Lips" Kudlow – lead vocals, guitars (1978–present)
- Robb "Robbo" Reiner – drums (1978–present)
- Chris Robertson – bass, backing vocals (2014–present)
- Former members
- Dave "Squirrely" Allison – guitars, backing vocals (1978–1989)
- Ian "Dix" Dickson – bass (1978–1993)
- Sebastian Marino – guitars (1989–1995)
- Mike Duncan – bass (1993–1996)
- Ivan Hurd – guitars (1995–2007)
- Glenn "Glenn Five" Gyorffy – bass, backing vocals (1996–2012)
- Sal Italiano – bass (2012–2014)
- Anvil: The Story of Anvil by Steve Kudlow and Robb Reiner (Foreword by Slash) Bantam Press (March 13, 2009) ISBN 0-593-06364-3
- Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers: beginning credits contain the Anvil song "Straight Between the Eyes" playing, and "Wild Eyes" is also heard (both from their Strength of Steel album).
- Anvil! The Story of Anvil, a documentary by Sacha Gervasi, filmed from late 2005 to 2007.
- The Green Hornet features Anvil performing at a club.
- The Final Destination, Anvil are heard playing "Burning Bridges".
- Fraktus – Das letzte Kapitel der Musikgeschichte, short cameo at the end of the movie.
- Brütal Legend, their songs "March of the Crabs" and "Tag Team" are featured in the game.
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, a dedicated radio station in the IOS/ANDROID/PSP version. (the radio station is a 28-minute track consisting purely of instrumentals)
- Rock Band 2, their songs "666", "This is Thirteen" and "Metal on Metal" are available as downloadable content.
- Pure Pwnage: in episode 4 of the television series, Steve Kudlow cameod as a rocker whom none of the characters knew and was referred to simply as "the rocker dude". He was portrayed as being really bad at playing "Rock Guitar Band Hero".
- Simpsons: A clip of "Metal on Metal" plays in the episode "Lisa Simpson, This Isn't Your Life".
- Sons of Anarchy: Steve Kudlow and Robb Reiner both appeared briefly in the episode "Small Tears" as extras who are seen carrying a bag of firearms each out of a kitchen, assisting Opie and Tig.
- Todd and the Book of Pure Evil: Their song "Metal on Metal" can be heard playing in the episode "B.Y.O.B.O.P.E.".
- Huey, Steve. "Review: Anvil – Metal on Metal". AllMusic. Archived from the original on January 10, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
- Rodman, Sarah (April 12, 2009). "Metal band Anvil lives!". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- Alter, Ethan (March 20, 2009). "Film Review: Anvil! The Story of Anvil". Film Journal International. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
- Yabroff, Jennie (April 10, 2009). "'Spinal Tap' and Its Influence". Newsweek. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
- Burns, Kenneth (September 18, 2009). "Anvil! is a touching documentary about a flailing band – Heavy-metal poignancy". Isthmus.
- Lane, Anthony (April 20, 2009). "Rock Solid". Archived from the original on November 28, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
- Spera, Keith (January 22, 2010). "For metal band Anvil, overnight success was just 32 years and one documentary away". The Times-Picayune. New Orleans. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
- "Anvil a hard act to follow". Jam!. March 15, 2001. Archived from the original on May 8, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- Anvil: The Story of Anvil by Steve Kudlow and Robb Reiner (Foreword by Slash) Bantam Press (March 13, 2009) ISBN 0-593-06364-3 page 12
- Anvil: The Story of Anvil by Steve Kudlow and Robb Reiner (Foreword by Slash) Bantam Press (March 13, 2009) ISBN 0-593-06364-3 page 151
- Anvil: The Story of Anvil by Steve Kudlow and Robb Reiner (Foreword by Slash) Bantam Press (March 13, 2009) ISBN 0-593-06364-3 page 187
- "Exclusive Interview With Legendary "LIPS", ANVIL: Glenn tried to make it difficult by leaving without proper notice but we've been preparing for this for quite sometime". Metal Shock Finland. Archived from the original on March 5, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "ANVIL Frontman: GLENN FIVE 'Tried To Make It Difficult By Leaving Without Proper Notice'". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- Charts, AllMusic
- "Anvil Massacre Releases". Massacre Records. 2009. Archived from the original on October 15, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- "Interview with Lips: Without Germany – NO ANVIL". entertaim.net. Archived from the original on September 11, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
- "ANVIL in London: Interview, Performance Footage Available". Blabbermouth.net. February 20, 2009.
- "This is Thirteen". anvilmetal.tk. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- "Movie Review: Sweetness and humor lighten load of 'Anvil'". Sacramento Bee. May 1, 2009. Archived from the original on July 6, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- "'Anvil': For Heavy-Metal Vets, It's A Hard-Rock Life". NPR. April 10, 2009. Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- Anderson, John (May 18, 2008). "Heavy Metal, Light on the Success". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 9, 2011. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- "Rock band Anvil on a roll as docu hits theaters". Reuters. April 2, 2009. Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- "Anvil Exposed: Canadian Metal Vets Rock With Slash, Talk Doc". Rolling Stone. January 2, 2008. Archived from the original on May 3, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- "'Anvil! The True Story of Anvil': The Year's Great Rock Movie?". Rolling Stone. May 1, 2009. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- Poseur, Nameless (October 21, 2010). "Anvil's Steve "Lips" Kudlow". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on April 21, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
- "News". Anvil band. 2009. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved July 22, 2009.
- ""Anvil! The True Story of Anvil" Book". anvilbook.co.uk. May 1, 2009. Archived from the original on April 14, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- "Tonight show". anvilmetal.tk. 2009. Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2009.
- "Anvil to Appear in Green Hornet,". News in Film. 2009. Archived from the original on October 16, 2009. Retrieved October 13, 2009.
- "AnvilMetal.com News". Archived from the original on March 30, 2019. Retrieved August 26, 2010.
- "This Is Anvil!". Slate. April 10, 2009. Archived from the original on May 14, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- bravewords.com. "ANVIL – 20 Songs Written For New Record". Bravewords.com. Archived from the original on January 26, 2010. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
- "ANVIL's Longtime Bassist GLENN FIVE Quits". BlabberMouth. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
- "Exclusive Interview With Legendary 'LIPS', ANVIL: Glenn tried to make it difficult by leaving without proper notice but we've been preparing for this for quite sometime". Metal Shock Finland. Archived from the original on March 5, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "ANVIL's Steve 'Lips' Kudlow On Departure Of Bassist Glenn Five – 'It Is A Huge Improvement With Our New Guy, Both Musically And Personally'". bravewords.com. January 17, 2012. Archived from the original on June 1, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "ANVIL Frontman: GLENN FIVE 'Tried To Make It Difficult By Leaving Without Proper Notice'". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- Hoare, Tom. "More Than Fun & Games Robb Reiner and Lips of Anvil" Archived June 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, The Drummer's Journal, New York, October 27, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
- "ANVIL To Release 'Pounding The Pavement' Album in January". Blabbermouth.net. Archived from the original on October 13, 2017. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
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