Anvil! The Story of Anvil
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‘Anvil! The Story of Anvil’, the documentary film oozes optimism in every sense of the word! You see everything that can possibly go wrong on a music tour, actually going wrong. Nevertheless, Steve Lips Kudlow is contended with the fact that at least there was a tour that things could go wrong on. Kudlow is the lead guitarist and vocalist of the band Anvil that you probably haven’t heard of! He met and became friends with Robb Reiner in Toronto, Canada in 1973. Rob was a budding drummer, and both of them made a vow to create rock ‘n’ roll music until they grew old. Now that they’re actually old, both Kudlow and Reiner are still creating rock ‘n’ roll music! Exactly as they had promised!

‘Anvil! The Story of Anvil’ is a rockumentary about the reasonable success and major downfall of the band Anvil, in the context of other musicians who came around, formed bands, played and then went separate ways, but Kudlow and Reiner kept rocking. There are hardly any bands out there who have stuck with each other for 30 long years! Slash, the ex-guitarist of Guns n Roses talks about Anvil during a backstage interview. He says that there are only a handful of them - The Who, U2, Rolling Stones and Anvil who’ve stayed united for that long.

‘Metal on Metal’ was the only Anvil album that achieved any sort of success. Regardless, many heavy metal bands continue to credit Anvil as a major influence on their music. Some of the factors that are believed to have contributed to Anvil’s downfall were lousy record labels, poor management and the fact that they were from Canada (no one had ever read Canada and heavy metal music in the same sentence until then!). No one used to associate Canadians with the sort of angst that heavy metal music stands for! Drummer Robb Reiner can be heard saying that he was raised to be polite, when he’s unable to hard-sell something in a telemarketing job. You can also see him working on a demolition project. Kudlow can be seen driving a delivery truck full of meals for school children and explaining the menu.

No matter how badly the band has fared in the past few decades, they still have their loyal fans. One of them is Tiziana Arrigoni from Sweden, who organizes a Europe tour for the band. Everything goes terribly wrong on this tour. You see the duo missing trains, not being able to locate a club in Prague and not getting paid for gigs. They’re invited to play at a heavy metal music event - The Monsters of Transylvania, and seem pretty excited at the 10,000 seating capacity of the venue. Even the mayor of Transylvania is expected! However, the final turn-out is a meagre 178!

The documentary is directed by a hard-core Anvil fan Sacha Gervasi. He had been following the band since their heydays in the 80s. Sacha visits Anvil in Toronto, Canada and even meets their children, siblings and spouses. Although the wives seem loyal, but they’re not too optimistic. Both Reiner and Kudlow seem like good family men now, saved from the trap of heavy drugs which took down a good number of rock musicians of those times. You can see some weed in one of the shots though!

Despite being down and out, Anvil gets Chris Tsangarides, the veteran producer to cut their 13th album, which Kudlow believes to be their best work till date. It doesn’t find any takers and the band is forced to release it on the Internet and depend on concert sales. One copy find its way to Japan and they’re invited to play in another 10,000 capacity venue in Tokyo. Life comes full-circle for Anvil, and they have yet another rocking event in Japan, despite going on stage as early as 11:35am in the morning!