STEVE 'LIPS' KUDLOW Says 'Legal At Last' Is 'Probably The Best Album' ANVIL Has Ever Made
February 23, 2020
Clint Switzer of the "Music Mania" podcast 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 ANVIL would be in the position they are currently in without the 2008 documentary "Anvil! The Story Of Anvil":
Lips: "No. The movie would never have happened without the band having a history. We needed to have that history in order for that whole thing to work. Once, of course, the movie happened, it was really up to us to make sure that we were writing songs, getting on tour and get seen and be relevant and make music and be creative in this day and age and not live off our past. It was about making a new future. And that's what we've done. A lot of bands might have gotten a resurgence from a movie and you would have fallen flat on your face because you're just not ready for it or were never good enough to begin with. That's not the case with ANVIL. We got screwed in our earlier years and we had to persevere a hell of a lot of shit until we could get back up on our feet, start working with real producers and doing real albums like you're supposed to do, which should have been happening all along, but because a lot of the infrastructure and stuff that happened to us on a business level disappeared, we had to take on the whole thing by ourselves until we could grab a hold again. You got to understand we're talking about all the years through the '90s when metal was not the thing."
On his four-decade-plus relationship with ANVIL drummer Robb Reiner:
Lips: "It's actually more closer to 50 years, really. [Laughs] Most people don't realize that there was a long history even before it was called ANVIL. I started playing with Robb in 1973. We were teenagers, kids, literally kids. He was 15 and I was 17, so here we are, 47 years later still doing this. How do you keep it working? We grew up together. How hard is it to keep it going when you grew up together? You just do. To us, it's just natural. It's not something that you sit there and contemplate. It's just something that is. We're lucky. You don't think about other people who don't have that in their lives, where they have a lifelong friend. We do. That's just the way it is. You don't take it for granted, but you also cherish it and you hold onto it and you make sure that you have respect between the two of you. That's really ultimately what it comes down to. Codependence. [Laughs] We took on the world together. It wasn't like we had to do it alone. It was a decision that two teenagers made: 'We're going to do this.' And when I say we really meant it, we really meant it. It's music. We love the same music and grew up with the same music and create music together and that's what we do. It's just really very, very simple when it comes down to it."
On the band's latest studio album, "Legal At Last":
Lips: "Some people feel that it's the best record we've ever done. To tell you the truth, that's what's actually going on out there. I'm not surprised in a certain way, because it's the momentum like I was talking about has never been this intense. I think there's a certain truth to it. Probably the best album we've ever done."
On trying to gain a following in America:
Lips: "America is the most difficult market in the world. Part of the reason is because it's so bureaucratic. And what do I mean by that? There are so many people that are involved in getting you the publicity that it's almost impossible to do it. There's so much stuff that has to be done for something to get big in America. It's just unbelievable. Unbelievable amount of hoops to jump and hurdles to get over and people to meet and all the different bureaucratic aspects. This person has to know that person, that person has to know this person, this favor has to be done for this person. It's just a million contingencies for it to work and a very, very greedy and selfish business structure. Everybody's out for themselves. That's been my experience for the last 40 years. I'm not saying it in bitterness. I'm just saying that it's just a natural fact. It's very, very difficult. And it's not because I'm a Canadian or an outsider. It's really difficult, even for the American bands themselves. The bands themselves are not nice to each other. There's a level of such heavy competitiveness that they don't help each other either. And those are not good things at the end of the day because it actually stifles itself. These are different aspects that I observe and it's not a bad thing. It's just the way that life is. When it's so hard to attain, you don't want to give anything away for free, right? You work so hard to get someplace, why are you going to help another band when it took you so much and it was so difficult to get to that position? Why are you going to help somebody out? You want their help. That's where buy-ons and all that kind of stuff comes into play in the sense if you want to get on METALLICA's tour, either you are selling or are worth 20,000 tickets, extra tickets that they don't sell, or, your record company or whoever you're involved with gives them a buy-on of hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's a way to offset their expenses. And that's how the whole business works. It's not, like, 'Okay, I'm going to pick and choose who I'm going to put on my tour and I'm going to make them big.' No. They're going to pick and choose who they're going to put on their tour depending on what they're bringing to the table. What are you giving me? Not what I'm going to give you. It's all about what are you giving me. These are the things that make it extremely difficult for bands to succeed in the United States. Not only that — there is no real infrastructure anymore. The record companies have all but disappeared, so there's no money and there's no money in sales because no one is buying records anymore because everybody is streaming and because everybody is streaming there's no physical product to buy, so therefore, it's paying virtually fractional pennies to a play to listen to it. Therefore, the bands are not making money from their music. So, what does that turn into? Then it's how many t-shirts you sell. But how many t-shirts you sell is completely dependent on how many people came to your show, how many people know who you are, so, how do you get big?"
"Legal At Last" was released on February 14 via AFM Records as a digipak, on digital, black vinyl and some limited colored vinyl.