Michael Dunaway of PasteMagazine.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner of Canadian heavy metal legends ANVIL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
PasteMagazine.com: The movie has gotten an incredible reception, at Sundance and at several other festivals.
Steve "Lips" Kudlow: We debuted the movie at Sundance and it basically blew the roof off. But Sacha [Gervasi, director] is very clever. He didn't want to sell the movie cheap, and he didn't want to sell it alone. He wanted to keep the movie and the band intact together, as a unit. He wouldn't move on any deals unless the two were hand in hand. It took a year and a half of winning awards at all these film festivals, and eventually, VH1 heard about it.
Robb Reiner: And we found our right man.
Kudlow: And we found our right man. Rick Krim is one of the nicest people we've ever met, and he put the whole weight of VH1 behind us. And now we're off.
Reiner: Sacha could have sold out to someone like Miramax or Universal or whomever. He had those chances.
Kudlow: But then the band and the movie would have been separate, and it wouldn't have had the longevity. This is a slow burn; it's not a flash in the pan. We are utilizing the actual audience to spread the word rather than soaking the media with paid advertising.
Reiner: It's word of mouth. It's organic.
Kudlow: And what's beautiful and unique about it is that the epilogue is being written by the audience. It's a beautiful thing.
PasteMagazine.com: You've been on stage your whole life, and now Sacha is following you around with a camera the whole time. What was that like?
Kudlow: It was amazing, actually, the circumstances that led up to it. I mean, let's start from the beginning. We met this kid when he was 15 years old at the Marquee club in London, just this English headbanger, and he became our drum roadie. So we took him on the road, took him on the joyride of his life, he had all of his first sexual encounters, we really corrupted him well! We called him Teabag. And we gave him a life experience he would never forget. Eventually, of course, he had to finish school and he disappeared out of our lives. We never forgot about him, and we always wondered whatever happened to him. Then, in the summer of 2005, I got an e-mail from him, and it was like, "Holy shit! Teabag has returned! And he's this Hollywood bigshot now, working with Spielberg!" So we go down to his place in L.A., and he has a stack of every one of our albums. He says, "I was sitting down listening to an album by METALLICA, and I said, 'This sounds just like my friends ANVIL. I wonder what happened to them?'" And about a week later he comes to Toronto and says, "I want to make a film about you." I started bawling my eyes out. It was like we both went on our journeys, and now we've come back together to make this movie. It was like perfect kismet, everything we had both been through was focused to make this movie. And I thought, this is it! The moment has arrived!
PasteMagazine.com: That enthusiasm for what you do really comes through in this film, and it's really inspiring. It reminds me of that great Bill Mallonee line about the minor-league ballplayer, "We may not make it out of the bush leagues, but that's not why we're here." I watched this film thinking, "Even if these guys never make it back up to the top, they're going to rock it out every night because they love it so much." It's beautiful.
Reiner: That's really the truth.
Kudlow: It's like I always say, you don't have to win the race to enjoy the race. I think we all have a responsibility to make the best of our lives. And to enjoy our lives. And we get so much enjoyment and fun out of being in the band and creating this music. How could you ever stop that? It's like saying "I've already had kids, why would I keep having sex?" Well, no! When I'm up on stage playing and singing, that is the almighty orgasm for me. And I'm not going to give it up!
PasteMagazine.com: Tell me about the new album you're working on. It'll be your fourteenth album, right?
Reiner: That's right. It's called "Juggernaut of Justice". All of the songs are now written. We'll hopefully record it at the beginning of next year. We've also recorded the song "Thumb Hang", which is mentioned in the movie. It'll be on the soundtrack.
Kudlow: You know, we wrote that thing when we were about 14 and we had had a school lesson on the Spanish Inquisition. And we just put it away and never bothered with it. But after the movie, that's what everybody wants to hear. So Sacha put in the credits that we're going to finally record it and we said, "What? We are?"
Reiner: And it actually turns out to be a really good song.
Read the entire interview from PasteMagazine.com.