LIPS Explains Why ANVIL Documentary Was Better Received In Some Countries Than Others
June 6, 2021
In a new interview with Angels Live In My Town, ANVIL frontman Steve "Lips" Kudlow spoke about why the band's 2008 documentary, "Anvil! The Story Of Anvil" — which followed the aging Canadian metal act on an increasingly ill-fated tour — seemed to be received more favorably in some parts of the world than in others. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I've taken a lot of notice of where the movie took hold and where we have the most respect and why. It's actually quite interesting. And it really is reflective more of a societal view rather than what the band was doing. It's, like, what are the ethics of a specific society? What are the things that motivate them? What are the things that they like, or what are the things that they don't like? And it's actually quite fascinating. In places like Sweden or England, they have a very tenacious [unintelligible] there. They grab on to something [when] they wanna do it, and they don't let go. And even if it's not successful, they'll go down with the ship. I mean, that's the same thing with many European countries. But when we talk about North America, particularly Canada or [United States Of] America, when people get sort of turned down or they didn't get the success, they quit — just quit and go try and do something else… What I'm talking about is generally the attitude is I'm not getting what I want so I'm gonna quit and I'll try something else."
Lips previously touched upon the same subject in a February 2018 interview with Belfast Metal. Speaking about the reception to the ANVIL movie, Lips said: "What's a really fascinating aspect [is that] in countries where the work ethic is really, really tough, where people really have a good, good, good work ethic, it doesn't matter how hard you have to work, you just go work. [And] those countries seemed to embrace the ANVIL story more than others… From my personal experience, in America, it's pretty much taken for granted and people kind of look at it like, 'So what?' Because people in that country, generally speaking, are lazy, and if they can go on welfare, they will. They don't have work ethics. So how could they relate to a story about somebody who keeps trying and being faced with adversities and failures? That's not the American way. The American way [is]: if I don't succeed right away, quit and go on to something else. And that's where the difference lies. I really noticed that in particular the movie really struck hard in the U.K. and in Ireland and in Sweden and in Germany. These are places that have very, very, very heavy-duty work ethics. People work because they want to, not because they have to."
Following the inevitable backlash to his comments, which were published on BLABBERMOUTH.NET, Lips took to his personal and the band's Facebook pages to clarify his words, insisting that his "statements [were] taken out of context to cause as much attention as possible."
Lips's full statement — which has since been deleted from ANVIL's social media — read as follows: "To my U.S. friends, the post from Blabbermouth was a misinterpreted statement. It was meant to be in reference to ANVIL's business dealings in the country. When attempting to find people to help us out and do business with, we found that no one was willing unless immediate money was to be made. As a prime example, record labels wanted our first three albums for free which automatically meant they made money instantly off the hard work and investment of the Canadian label that paid and produced these recordings. As a result, those recordings are still not released domestically to this day. The labels were unwilling to work towards a goal... whether it's laziness or greediness makes little or no difference, the end result is the same. There are many such instances throughout our time in the music business. As with most of humanity, people want as much as possible for as little as possible. Money for nothing. It was meant as a generalized statement. Unfortunately, and as usual, statements [get] taken out of context to cause as much attention as possible. I apologize to any and all for this. Truly a sad representation of intentions. I'm hoping people can see past this and forgive me if you've been insulted."
"Anvil! The Story of Anvil" was named one of 2009's best documentaries by a slew of film critics associations across the continent, including critics in Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, and Las Vegas, as well as the International Documentary Association, the Online Film Critics Society, and the National Society of Film Critics. It also made the year-end Top 10 lists in publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and Village Voice.
"Anvil! The Story of Anvil" was the directorial debut of screenwriter Sacha Gervasi ("The Terminal") and was produced by Rebecca Yeldham ("The Kite Runner" and "The Motorcycle Diaries"). The film follows Kudlow and Reiner and their band, ANVIL, which released one of the heaviest albums in metal history, 1982's "Metal on Metal". The album influenced an entire musical generation of rock bands, including METALLICA, SLAYER, and ANTHRAX, who all went on to sell millions of records. ANVIL, on the other hand, took a different path — straight to obscurity. The film was both entertaining and touching as it followed their last-ditch quest for the fame and fortune that has been so elusive to them.