Anvil is a Canadian heavy metal band comprising Steve "Lips" Kudlow (lead vocals, lead guitar), Robb Reiner (drums), and Glenn Five (bass, backing vocals). To date, the band has released fourteen studio albums, and has been cited as having influenced many notable heavy metal groups, including Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, and Metallica.
The band, in particular Kudlow and Reiner, was the subject of the 2008 documentary film Anvil! The Story of Anvil, directed by the screenwriter and former Anvil roadie Sacha Gervasi.
Upon its release, the film garnered critical acclaim from many major
publications, and has since brought the band renewed recognition,
including opening slots with AC/DC and Saxon. Appearances at major heavy metal festivals, including Download, Bumbershoot and Loud Park, also followed the release of the film.
The roots of Anvil began in April 1973 in Toronto, when high school friends Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner began playing music together. They met through friend, guitarist and neighbour Marty Hoffman, but “musical differences” caused his departure after their first show. By 1978, the first full line-up of the band included Kudlow (lead vocals, lead guitar), Reiner (drums), Dave "Squirrely" Allison (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Ian "Dix" Dickson (bass). At this point, the band was called Lips.
In 1981, the band released an independent album called Hard 'N' Heavy. Shortly after they were signed by Attic Records, changed their name to Anvil and the independent album was released by Attic as their debut album. Following its release, Lemmy Kilmister asked Lips to play guitar for Motörhead to replace "Fast" Eddie Clarke, but Lips declined. By 1983, Aerosmith manager David Krebs and assistant Paul O'Neill signed Anvil and convinced Attic to release the band from their contract so the band could sign with a major label. However after initial interest, Krebs eventually stopped returning phone calls and did not get the band a major label recording contract, but eventually released the band from the managing contract allowing the band to find their own record deal in mid-1986.
Free to pursue a recording contract, they were signed by American label Metal Blade Records in 1987, by William Howell (a fan who is now a DJ with KNAC radio). They released three records with Metal Blade, starting with Strength of Steel, which was the group's most commercially successful record in the United States, peaking at #191 on the Billboard 200. Anvil were then picked up by Maximum Records, an independent Canadian label that was formed by Helix's manager-at-the-time William Seip. From 1996 they were signed by Hypnotic Records in Canada and Massacre Records in Germany. In 2001, the band recorded Plenty of Power and continued touring in which Kudlow remarked "We'll play gigs sometimes where there's no one there"
In 2006, the band recorded with Chris Tsangarides, who previously produced their acclaimed 1982 album Metal on Metal. The CD was self-released as This Is Thirteen in 2007, and was available exclusively from the band's official website.
The band's history has been documented in the documentary film Anvil! The Story of Anvil released in 2008. The film has received high praise which has put Anvil back into the public consciousness, propelling them to play several festivals including the Download Festival in 2009 at which they headlined the Tuborg stage. Rolling Stone called the movie "the year’s most praised rock doc." The band played “Cat Scratch Fever” with Slash and Anthrax’s Scott Ian at the Sundance Film Festival where the movie premiered.
Regarding the movie, Kudlow states:
|“||It stands as a prime example of what an industry—particularly the music industry—can put an artist through. At the same time, I take responsibility for our actions in the past. We were just sustaining who we are. Now someone's come along and brought it to a new level. Now we're getting praise for never selling out and sticking to our guns. It's a celebration. We got our notoriety on our own terms. We've done what we want. Not what someone told us to do.||”|
Following the success of the Anvil documentary, VH1 Classic Records re-released This Is Thirteen on CD and vinyl on September 15, 2009 with a newly recorded song, "Thumb Hang". Guitarist Ivan Hurd left the band at this stage to settle down with his new wife. The double-vinyl LP contains re-recorded versions of Anvil classics "Metal on Metal" and "666."
In 2009, Bantam Press released the book Anvil: The Story of Anvil authored by Kudlow and Reiner with a foreword by Slash. On March 28, 2009 Kudlow and Reiner were the featured guests on VH1 Classic's That Metal Show. Anvil played the Rocklahoma festival in Pryor, Oklahoma in 2009, and opened for AC/DC at their first few summer Black Ice World Tour shows (North American leg II). They also supported Saxon on a leg of UK shows in November.
Anvil appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien Tuesday Oct 6, 2009, the first network television appearance of their career, to coincide with the release of Anvil! The Story Of Anvil on DVD in North America, and performed "Metal on Metal".
From June to July 2010 the band went on a headline tour of Europe selling out venues in the UK, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands as well as playing festivals in Finland, Sweden, France, Italy and Germany. Lips confirmed on this tour that he had in fact paid back his sister the loan to pay for the production of This is Thirteen.
Following the release of the album the band completed yet more tours in Europe and North America often playing alongside legends Alice Cooper & Saxon. The band released a new greatest hits album Monument of Metal: The Very Best of Anvil. Anvil also started re-releasing their old material starting with Strength of Steel, Pound For Pound and Worth the Weight later that same year.