In a throwaway society, it is extremely refreshing to see that there are some bands that are still kicking it after 'x' amount of years, and still producing the goods. We have been inundated with reunion tours and album anniversary tours lately, but none that have quite hit the longevity of ANVIL.
Yup, you read that right. 40 fucking years. Absolutely amazing. Our resident vocalist from the gods KAZZY KAGE caught up with the legendary Steve 'Lips' Kudlow for episode III of 'Frontman to Frontman'
This is actually really exciting for me man because my band Tesnsions Arise is actually playing with you in Sydney.. It's gonna be awesome!
Yeah man, very cool! Congratulations on 40 years with the band, that’s pretty amazing!
Yeah! It’s been a while haha
Obviously you guys get heaps of questions about the documentary that you guys made a few years back. It is actually one of my favourite documentaries. I wanna know what inspired you guys to do the documentary and did you think it would be as well received as it was?
Well it's actually interesting! The whole thing is interesting. It has to do with meeting somebody way before it even happened. We met the Director when he was a teenager at the Marquee in London, England. The first time we came to England. So we let this 15 year old kid into the change room and we had a two night gig there along with playing The Monsters of Rock. The original Donnington Park Festival along with the two Marquee shows and he turned up before soundcheck on the first night at the Marquee and of course we got into a long chat about all kinds of bands and stuff like that. He was just a very cool young kid. For us, because it was our first time to England we were really fascinated that here we are in England and wow some kid knows who we are hahaha! We make music from Toronto Canada and here is this kid in England and he knows who we are!! We were freaking out! So he starts showing us around London. We find out he has family in Canada and he comes and visits us, we then ask if he wants to come on the road with us and he does. He was being the roadie for Robbo (Robb Reiner - Drums), setting up his drums and stuff coz he is a Drummer himself right? Of course! Haha. But we lost a lot of touch you know? By the time he was 17 a lot of things had changed in his life, he was off doing crazy stuff in his life, and we just kept on doing Anvil like we usually do.
It wasn’t until about 2005 so we are talking a lapse of you know 22 years at least, so from 1987 until 2005. All of a sudden this guy emails me! It was like “Wow..whatever happened to you? Whats going on?” he goes “Well, I want you to come visit me in LA” I was all “oh yeah right, like I'm going to go buy a ticket to go to LA!” he was all “no no no! don’t worry about it, give me your address and I’ll send you a ticket!” I was thinking “Yeah right, send me your address I’ll send you a ticket! Okay, I’ll play the bluff, I will go along with this, okay sure you get me a ticket and I’ll come” he goes “okay great!” I get off the phone and about 4 hours later there is a knock on the door it’s the Rush Delivery and there's a plane ticket for me! I'm going to LA this weekend? What the fuck!
So I get down there and I'm standing on the platform at LAX and I see this little blue sports car coming towards me and I'm looking at the guy driving and I'm thinking that looks like the kid I used to know but he’s got a beard! He’s a man?! [Laughs] It was like wow okay!! We instantly started the same conversation we had 20 years ago, it was still the same guy. As the weekend went along things got interesting and he took me to his friends place in Malibu somewhere there a fancy place as it turns out its this guy Steve Zallian who was part of the production and direction of Schindlers List, so unknown to me I really don’t know where I am or whose place I'm at or whose company am I in? [Laughs] How the hell am I supposed to know?
So the guy takes Sascha (Gervasi - Director) aside the director and he goes “whose the guy with the long hair?” and Sascha goes “Oh, that’s my friend Lips he’s in the band called Anvil from you know 35 to 40 years ago! I used to love that music, I still do and this guy has kept going. He’s got all these albums”
He looks Sascha in the eye and he goes “If you don’t see the opportunity here, someone else will! You should make a movie about this! Someone whose turning 50 and they are still at it? Are you kidding me? No one knows about this, WHAT?” Then it turned into what it did.
For the next part of your question, Did I think it was going to work? Honestly, the first shock of him telling me it came about a week after what I'm telling you. So I get a call and he goes “I'm coming up to Toronto, come and get me at the airport and take me to my Uncles place” I was all “okay…” So I take him and he sits me down and goes “Listen, I'm going to make a movie about your band!” So I'm flipping out, because you have to understand i'ts not some guy who owns a video camera and hes gonna start filming you, it’s a Hollywood guy! He has been involved in some of the biggest names and people in the business and he decided he is going to take this on as a project, and that’s how it all came to pass.
That’s Amazing, It is seriously such an amazing movie man. My friends and I watch it all the time and when we saw that you guys where coming out for this we were unbelievably excited, it just shows how really humble both you and Robbo are and that’s amazing especially with all the stuff you guys have done. Like I said its one of my favourite documentaries it was really well done, but with that, you guys were doing this at the time for what 30 to 35 years which is what brings me to my next question, A lot of bands cant even last being a band for a week, let along 40 years, I know you have been doing it even longer with other bands but, you and Rob you guys have been together longer than a lot of marriages! So what would you say is a strong point that keeps that relationship going? Because that’s such a long time to be stuck with somebody right? Haha
[Laughs] Yeah you don’t really think about it. You actually take that aspect for granted for the most part, which is the way it always is you know? When its easy you don’t think about it but truth be told there are some hard bits and we butt heads which Is more about the approach rather than result, we both want the same result but we have a different approach. Rob is an extraordinarily stubborn individual so talking him into things is not to easy [Laughs] For someone who puts on a big huge front as being confident ,he is actually really soft hearted and sensitive.
'Metal on Metal'
Yeah you are right, he does really seem to have that tough man persona. Where as you, you are like me actually... you show a lot of emotion and let everyone see that, I think its amazing. You guys have been to Australia before and I didn’t know that until it happened which really upset me so I am so glad that we can be part of this one!
Well the truth be told, when we were there 4 years ago there was very limited amount of promotion done for it, so when people found out about it, it was generally “hey did you know Anvil was here?” haha This is the difference people are actually going to know that we are there! This time!
Well the company Metropolis the guys bringing you out, we have worked with them before and they are an amazing group and you guys are in really great hands.
Yeah! I realise that. I mean I have probably got another 9 interviews tonight never mind how many I did last night, that tells me somebody cares and somebody is doing their job! What a pleasure and honour, such great thing to be chosen, you know?
Absolutely, you guys will have an amazing time here, trust me I will make sure of it! I will see you at the bar most of the night haha.. But on that, Is there anything you guys wanna do this time that you didn’t get to last time? Like do you want me to take you to the zoo to pet a kangaroo or something?
[Laughs] Actually, we’ve done all that! This will bethe 3rd or 4th time coming to Australia for me. It's really cool. It's like another kind of Canada. You find things similar. There isn’t a lot of ancient history, you know? The buildings aren’t more than a few hundred years old right? Even the architecture is very similar. Basically you guys are driving on the opposite side of the street but the street cars and the streets look exactly like young street here! This is weird!
So you are bringing out a new record Pound The Pavement, you have a campaign for it?
Yeah we have got a campaign going with pledge music which is a fantastic thing. It gives the fans to buy the thing directly from us you get an extra track that you wont get on any other release, that makes it worth it. The actual packaging will be slightly different which makes it become a collectors item as there will only be about 1500 of them.
Oh awesome! So tell us a bit about the record itself? Whats it all about?
Its really following the last, I think it’s a step up, a huge diversity in the type of the songs which to some people Is detrimental because you might find your favourite song but someone else might say
“what are you crazy? What about this song!” [Laughs]
Each one of the songs is individual, it isn’t like we wrote 10 or 12 of the same song over and over again, every song is a different tempo and feel from the next, as well as the keys! Not all songs are in A, or A, you have a G, F sharp, B, E..... you know you move around the neck! It gives different tonal qualities so its very diverse, which generally speaking how most Anvil albums are [Laughs] A zebra doesn’t change his coat!
What is the writing process for you guys? Is there a set way you go about things?
Yeah well generally speaking I have a riff session in my little yellow room and I come up with a number of ideas and then I bring it to the rehearsal room and I present it to the guys and it usually takes 10 – 15 minutes and then we have a song, I already know the parts its just a question of how many and where do they go.
Now, this is probably the most important question out of the lot! Will you be bringing the Vibrator again?
Hahaha! That is a really important question, I’m not sure what you will do without the answer.....Of course!
This one is for kids or anyone starting out, do you have any advice for someone who is trying to start out in the music industry? Something you wish someone told you maybe?
Well it’s a rule that I followed, well a couple small rules. Don’t let your band be the centre of your financial kingdom, in other words don’t expect your band to make money. If you do you will be quickly disappointed and you will probably quit, so do it for the love of it. Which means you have got to be willing to support it while you set your life up in such a way that it makes it possible to do it. If that means having the right kind of throw away job, or right kind of drug dealing job [Laughs] or living on a girlfriends couch, finding a way to live a easily as possible to make it work financially.
The other aspect is individual and unique approach. You have to create music that no one else can do but you. Then keep a band together, if you do those 3 things long enough and hard enough you probably will get some place.
Yep, I think that’s a great thing to tell people. My band has almost been going for 10 years, SO I cant imagine what it would be like after 40 or so, So I think that’s probably the perfect advice to give people
I don’t know what else to say, but it is how I was able to do it.. so you know if it means I had to work at Choice Children's Catering then that’s what it meant, but I'm not giving up my music.
Favourite Alcoholic Drinks: Baileys
Favourite band a part from your own?: Black Sabbath
Favourite Movie? Ummmm... maybe Austin Powers hahaha Goldmember!
Celebrity Crush? No not really
Most Annoying Habit? Biting my nails!
Fuck/Mary/Kill : Katy Bates, Ellen DeGeneres & Madonna
Okay, well I don’t know who Kathy Bates is.. so no clue!
Um okay, lets say we will kill her then, lets get rid of her!
Okay lets get rid of her then [Laughs] I don’t know her so it doesn’t bother me [Laughs]
So who would you fuck and who would you marry?
Well, I don’t have any interest in Ellen DeGeneres, what are my choices on her?
Either fuck or marry.
Oh my god! Well [Laughs].....whose worse Ellen or Kathy Bates?
Well, looks alone I would probably keep Ellen!
Oh no! [Laughs] You haven’t given me a lot of leeway here! Ooookay, fuck Ellen and Marry Madonna
HAHAHA! Thanks man!!!
Haha.... There’s your entertainment man!
Thank dude, see you in Sydney and we will have a killer time
Okay dude See you in Sydney!
ANVIL AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
Wednesday 8th November – BRISBANE – Crowbar
Friday 10th November – SYDNEY – The Bald Faced Stag
Saturday 11th November – MELBOURNE – Prince Bandroom
Sunday 12th November – ADELAIDE – Fowlers Live
Tuesday 14th November – PERTH – Rosemount Hotel