When you’re talking metal, and when it comes to that art forms heyday, there are a handful of bands that you have to mention if you’re to be taken seriously. Priest. MotÖrhead. Metallica. Bon Jovi (LOL). The Scorpions. IRON F!@!ING MAIDEN.
They were all at the forefront of the movement in the early 80’s. They all went on to sell millions of albums. And sadly, and inexplicably, they all left a little band named Anvil in their dust.
For sure, Anvil, comprised of singer/guitarist Steve “Lips” Kudrow, drummer Robb Reiner, and a rotating cast of rhythm guitarists, was right out there with the heavy hitters. Early in their career MotÖrhead singer Lemmy actually tried to recruit “Lips” as their new guitar player, and the band toured the world on a Monsters of Rock tour along with many of the bands mentioned above. It seemed for a while that they two were on their way to fame and super-stardom, so what the hell happened?
They had all the chops. They had the moves. They had the HAIR for f@#@s sake. Good lord did they have the hair. They seemingly had it all, yet as their peers stars rose through the stratosphere and beyond, theirs simply fell back down to earth where it sputtered and fizzled until it finally was for all intents and purposes extinguished.
The whole ordeal is well chronicled in the 2008 documentary, Anvil: The Story of Anvil, which is making it an absolute must see for even the casual fan of music and/or metal. Funny and full of tremendous moments of humanity it paints the portrait of two guys who simply love rock and roll more than anything else in the world, and frustratingly can’t really do much with that love. More frustrating though than the duo’s inability to adequately capitalize on that love of music is the fact that at the end of the day, Anvil’s music sort of freaking rocks.
Metal On Metal, and album with a title that says it all, the band shreds through every guitar-god, leather wearing, head banging cliche you could ever think of and does so in a deadly serious, and deadly Kerrang-tastic way. This was metal folks. It was sexy, scary and perpetually juvenile, but it was meant to rock your face until it melted off in a puddle of sonic destruction. And Anvil could hold there own against the best of them.
Where other bands merely mentioned the number of the beast in a lyric, Anvil went all the way and closed their album with the track “666”. On songs like the “Tag Team”, “Stop Me” and “Jackhammer” (the hammer...is his penis, folks) the band explored the type of ridiculous sexuality of the time that only full grown dressed in leather and chains could pull of and still have their dignity intact. Huge riffs, screams straight from the halls of Valhalla, Satan looking over your shoulder...it was all there folks. Still is in fact as they've released 16, count-em, 16 albums since that 1982 masterpiece.
The thing about Metal on Metal is that at it’s heart it’s just about the purest distillation of whatever it is that metal is supposed to be. “Lips” and Robb took this shit serious as a virgin sacrifice on the blood moon, and they’re only hope was that you did too. In a perfect world that should have been enough, but the world isn’t perfect and neither were Anvil.
The upside to all of this is that not only does the world have a record to cherish that lays down all the fundametal laws of the metal land, but Anvil, thanks to the film, has found themselves with a second lease on life....
AND THEY ARE PLAYING
IN OUR NECK OF THE WOODS
So if you want to rock your face of tonight, meet Andre and I out at Jaxx in Springfield around 7pm.
“What’s a Jaxx?” you ask? I have no freaking clue. I just know that Anvil is gonna be there, which means it being ROCKTOBER we’re all obligated to be there too.
Btw..Metal On Metal isn’t actually available for streaming, but their greatest hits sure as hell is, so that should clue you in to the type of shredtastic awesomeness that your in for should you choose to join us on our quest for the truth about Anvil.
Choose wisely my friends. Choose wisely.
Or if you prefer