The demigods of Canadian Metal ANVIL return to Australia this November to celebrate their 40th Anniversary! With sixteen albums under their belt and their seventeenth one on the way, ANVIL pride themselves as being one of the most hardworking bands on the plane. The 2009 rockumentary Anvil – The Story of Anvil detailed the story of band that somehow fell into obscurity. However this award winning feature gave them a second wave of popularity, and resulted in the band playing the infamous Download Festival plus supported our very own AC/DC on tour! This is a band that had everything, lost it all but never gave up.
Original members Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow on vocals/guitar and Robb ‘Robbo’ Reiner on drums once again bring the madness to Australia alongside Chris Robertson on bass. This is your chance to rock on to all your favourite ANVIL classics – Metal on Metal, March of the Crabs, Forged In Fire, Mothra plus more! Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow about the upcoming tour.
It is awesome that Anvil are heading back to Australia for their own headline tour?
Yeah! It is awesome, it is cool and I feel like I have worked an entire lifetime to make things like this come true. It is like wow! Awesome!
How important has the documentary been for keeping the Anvil spirit going?
That is an interesting question because it is ten years on and eleven years since the filming. I don’t know? Do you still think it has an effect? We’re still touring all over the world and I have recorded four more albums since the movie. I would say that it had a huge effect in the sense that I am making a living. This is what I do for a living, this is it! No more doing deliveries, no more being the downtrodden individual in the movie, I am a full on musician making a life doing that, making ends meet to pay the bills just like everyone else at their job.
Have you noticed the generational change in the band’s fan base and you must take great heart from the younger fans coming through?
It is an amazing answer to a life time of work in a certain sense. If you make it when you are young, what’s going to happen? You’ll probably make a couple of albums and then your band is going to break up, so you would have a total of four or five albums. If you don’t make it in the first bunch of years and here you are putting out your seventeenth album, people are still listening to your music I think that is better than one hit when you way back young. I had the hardships of the middle years, no question about it but having said that it kept me in physical condition so when everyone else is retiring from their rock star life I’m just beginning mine and retiring from my horrible jobs. In a sense I have retired in to what I love and it is the best place I can be because you can do this until you die. Certainly big brother Lemmy, he did! He did do it until he died.
Forty years and still going strong, surely retirement is not an option?
There are no options now, it’s the home stretch man, everything that I have wanted I have finally gotten to, it is like keep pumping out the music and it comes from the fuel. The fuel comes from the momentum, ultimately it is about momentum, we started that momentum when we began doing this at thirteen and have not let up for a second. There has been recording after recording coming out and tour after tour after tour, we keep working and making a living out of it. It really worked out amazing, couldn’t be better!
Is that the secret to longevity by keeping the records coming out and being creatively satisfied?
This is the epitome of doing the way you want when you want, I have never had anyone directing me or telling me what to do. I have had an entire career, not just one album, and there is a lot to be said about that to by getting some place on your own terms and the way you want to do it.
How is album number seventeen going?
It is all done, it is going to be called Pounding The Pavement which is basically fundamentally what I have been doing for forty years in the terms of trying to rustle up work, sales and everything that it means to be in business. It is doing business for forty years, it is a long time man!
Does it frustrate you at the moment where the industry is at the moment and where it is going?
Absolutely, the whole entire business has completely changed from top to bottom. What it has turned in to is merchandising and finding other revenue streams other than music. It has everything to do with what comes off the music itself not the music. The music is fundamentally and ultimately an advertisement to get people to your shows so you can sell merchandise. This is what the business has turned in to and it’s a result of the digital age, this is the way it is, you cannot change it or do something about it. The cat is already out of the bag, the horse is racing out of the barn, closing the doors won’t help. The digital age has made music virtually worthless and along with what comes with that unfortunately when you don’t pay for something you don’t value it in the same way.
It is not like when I was a kid and used to save up my allowance to go and buy my favourite albums. It is not that way anymore. It is to a certain audience and to people who want to have the hard copy but let’s face it when you have your computer hooked up to the internet and you go to the torrent site, punch in your favouorite band in to the search bar up comes their entire catalogue. Within five minutes you have got everything that you ever wanted. It’s human nature, if it is free I will take it, I can take anything, I can get anything from anywhere. So what is the competition, the competition is absolutely astronomical, the chances of someone picking up your song if you are a newcomer what are the chances of someone even finding you. You might be on YouTube but how will they know you are there?
It is an extremely difficult time because the infrastructure in which bands depended on to become publicised and get known has disappeared in the sense that record companies, how can record companies contend with the last of the last people who want the hard copies? These are the people they are depending on to actually exist! Exist! Not necessarily make a whole lot of money but just to exist because it is so hard to sell.
That hasn’t put you off making new material?
No, no, no! You have understand for a band like Anvil the sheer luck and karma in the sense that the kid we were nice to thirty five years ago in the change room of the Marquee Club in London turns out to be a screen writer in Los Angeles and makes the movie about us. Then the band has a story to be told, he didn’t come in way early but after twelve albums!
What are your best tour memories of Australia?
I love your country and one of those places that you look at from my perspective as being a trophy to be able to say you’ve gone to Australia is a big deal from someone coming from Canada to play music. That is a massive big deal!
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch ANVIL on the following dates…