ANVIL Frontman Says Metal Bands Capable Of Filling Arenas 'Will Become Something Of The Past'

January 28, 2020

"The Classic Metal Show" recently conducted an interview with frontman Steve "Lips" Kudlow of Canadian metal legends ANVIL. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On whether there will be another wave of metal bands able to ascend to an arena-level status to take the place of METALLICA, IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST upon their retirement:

Lips: "There won't be. That will become something of the past. There's no such thing, and there is no infrastructure to create such a thing again. Once this era ends, it's over. That's it. Name one band — [there is] not one that is in their 20s filling arenas. It's not like 35, 40 years ago, when IRON MAIDEN started to make it, and JUDAS PRIEST; they were filling arenas, and they were in their 20s. It doesn't exist today. It's gone."

On what drives ANVIL to write and record new albums when the music business is in decline:

Lips: "You're right — there's no real record business and there is no money in royalties. But there is money and [a way] to make a living in playing live and selling merchandise. What the music has become, it's become your advertising jingle to sell t-shirts. [Laughs] Beyond that, there is no business. Streaming is now the be-all, end-all. The only physical sales are usually vinyl, and people are buying vinyl more out of collecting it rather than what they're using to listen to it with. To listen to it, you're better off using a CD, making files on your computer, or downloading it. Then you've got the highest-quality audio, but let's face it: vinyl is not the finest audio quality. [Laughs] They didn't create CD and digital sound for no reason. There's a lot of guys who want to argue that fact. Go ahead. Don't argue with me. Argue with the scientists that figured out how to get 20 to 20,000 Hz perfect, then tell me that vinyl does that and I'd say, 'No. It does not.' That's scientific and that's proof and that's the end of it. So, whatever you want to think and whatever you want to say or whatever your opinion, it's only an opinion. It's not based on anything but an opinion rather than facts. Frequency response is a frequency response and numbers don't lie. [Laughs]"

On why ANVIL continues to make full albums:

Lips: "I want to go tour. I want to go and make a living. I want to go and have fun. [Laughs] What other reason could you ever have for doing it?"

On how ANVIL funds the recording of their studio albums:

Lips: "We're a brand name getting an advance from a label; [that's]generally how we've been able to do it. That's been no problem. We did use Pledge [Music] for the last couple of albums, but they went and ripped off a whole bunch of bands and went out of business and ran with the money, so that doesn't seem like such a good idea anymore. It's certainly worked amazing, and, in fact, we were in the black before the album came out, the last couple of albums. I mean, I guess you could say the same thing about this one ['Legal At Last'], but it's a little bit different in the level. I'm not holding cash, but having said that, it's really tough. You break even. You break even. It's like I said, you're creating music to sort of boost your business for selling merchandise and to get yourself hired to play live. Ultimately, that's where you're making your money from. Thank goodness that recording doesn't cost an arm and a leg like it used to. There is no funding for it. Where are you going to get the money from? You can barely generate enough sales. These days, like the label that I'm signed to [Germany's AFM Records], I would imagine that they're going to do okay because there's going to be a certain amount of CDs sold. But moreover, there's going to be a lot of vinyl sold, and they're really going all out. They've got a number of different versions of the album coming out and different colors of vinyl. They're not being foolish. They know what they have to do in order to sell product. They'll recoup the money that they gave us to record it. Of course, for us, we're going to sell thousands of t-shirts. I'm going to make a living and I got hundreds and hundreds of shows to do this year. No problem on that level. It all works out. But for a lot of other bands, the bands that aren't a brand name, this, what I'm talking about, is a dream. That's pretty much a dream to make that come true, to make what I'm saying come true, man; [it's] that tough. I feel very, very fortunate of what's happened with my career, although some would say, 'Hey, man. You guys have been through hell.' I don't think I've been through hell like what a lot of bands are going through today. I'm very grateful for what I have and what I've got going. So that's how I feel about it. I'm having a great time. It's a great way to retire from hard, physical labor, like doing deliveries for a catering company. I don't have to do that anymore and I haven't had to do it for the last 13 years. I think I'm doing very well and I'm a very, very content and happy individual, I'm glad to say."

On the musical direction of "Legal At Last":

Lips: "The diversity — it's a massive, diverse album, particularly the different aspects of what metal is. It's like all the different facets. Each song is its own unique little thing. It's not a one-feel album. It's extremely diverse in keys, in pitch, in tempos, subject matter. That's actually pretty remarkable, really, yet, somehow, it's all ANVIL. You're going to find flavors of BLACK SABBATH, you're going to find flavors of DEEP PURPLE, you're going to find flavors of, I don't know, TED NUGENT. There's all kinds of little flavors from all over the eras of rock and metal in this album. It's not one-dimensional. It's very, very multi-dimensional. It's quite unique. It's quite interesting."

"Legal At Last" is due on February 14 via AFM Records as a digipak, on digital, black vinyl and some limited colored vinyl. ANVIL recorded the new disc at Soundlodge studios in Rhauderfehn in the northwest of Germany.

Though initially a four-piece band, ANVIL's current lineup includes Kudlow, drummer Robb Reiner and bassist Chris Robertson.

ANVIL gained popularity and new fans since the 2008 theatrical documentary "Anvil: The Story Of Anvil", which is currently available on Netflix.

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