Anvil are not just your typical rock band, there is something about this band which isn’t the big stages, the fireworks, the rock star attitude. Anvil were one of the most successful bands of the 80s metal era but in the height of their rise, suddenly Anvil’s fame just dissipated. Over the last 40 years we have seen the hardships and struggles of the hardest working band in the scene.
Thanks to our friend John Howarth from Metropolis Touring, we were lucky enough to get to chat to founder and front man Steve “Lips” Kudlow about their upcoming Anniversary tour in this wise and insightful interview.
SR: You’re gracing our shores for a string of shows next month to celebrate Anvil’s 40th anniversary, how are you and the rest of the band feeling about the tour?
Obviously very excited. It’s a huge, big deal to us! I mean, you really can’t get further away! [Laughs] I mean it’s a big deal in the sense where you need to understand that 90% of the shows I play don’t speak English and look at how far we have to go to get there [laughs]
SR: You’re known to have amazing live shows with you all being like little bundles of energy, interacting with the crowd, having your theatrics- will we expect nothing less this time around?
Absolutely. Every minute counts- that’s what it’s really about. And when you’re having a good time, you’ve got to love it- honestly. I feel so fortunate to be able to do what I do and particularly in distant, distant places like that is what it was all about! It was what you dreamt of when you were a kid! Well… at least for me; that one day I’d be able to go to all these places and go there. Bu I mean, only if you’re really lucky, do you ever get that.
You can have talent, but that doesn’t mean that you’re coming to Australia.
As an example, we’re really good friends with a band called April Wine. I don’t even know if you’ve heard about them but April Wine is what AC/DC is to Australia but here for Canada and there on every radio station every day. Its apart of the fabric of our country; their music, and they’ve never been to Australia.
It’s a very special and huge opportunity and it’s a phenomenal thing to get happening in your career as a musician to get to go to places like Australia.
SR: What a career you have had. You’ve had 16 studio albums with your 17th coming out soon, can you tell us a little bit about that?
Well we have been very, very hard at work and a lot of people don’t realise that Anvil has been working diligently and steadily since the movie in 2008. Nonstop touring, and recording so we’re about to put out our fourth album since then and that’s going to happen in January. As right now as we speak I have two weeks off and I was just in South America and previous to that I was recording the album. My schedule is packed and it is the greatest and most wonderful thing that could ever happen to somebody who has wanted it to be that way for so long [laughs]
SR: Thinking back to when you were recording your first album. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
Not to worry as much. [Laughs] yeah probably that is the biggest piece of advice I’ve got. All the worrying isn’t going to change anything, just don’t worry so much.
SR: as you get older how have you found the way you write, perform and recover has changed?
It’s interesting, the writing hasn’t changed, and neither has the attitudes in the way that you go about playing live- that stays consistent. It’s everything else that changes in and around it. That’s the thing and being able to adapt to those changes with the business, with record companies, with management, with club owners, promoters, everything that there is and the people that you work with. It’s about being able to persevere it all and deal with things as you can and get to the next level, and get to tomorrow.
Ultimately living in the present and living for tomorrow; that’s about the best you can do and everything matters at the moment and what’s going to happen tomorrow so worry about that. What already happened, no point going along with it?
Just because it’s bad today doesn’t mean that it will be bad tomorrow. We’ll find a way and we will fix it. Along as you have that attitude, you’re never going to get anywhere giving up.
SR: Anvil is a perfect example of this. I’ve always wanted to talk to you about your 2008 documentary Anvil, The Story of Anvil and the way it affected me. The doco as a whole was so raw and relatable. There are so many music docos that portray the band how they want to be seen but you guys just let everything on the table to show the hardships and that failures but also when that last show comes up, and the relief that we all felt for you. We were all rooting for you.
It’s actually just magic, what that created there and how it all came together. It’s not lie the story was written or the screen play was written before we started, it was like it went like that [laughs] it was crazy crazy raw, honestly.
SR:In the doco you have so many stars trying to pin point what happened and Lemmy actually says that the reason for your decline was just “the wrong place, wrong time”. What do you think happened and were you almost hesitant to try and pursue Anvil in the event of another downfall?
And that is correct! I think out of everybody and every ones statement is as correct as you can possibly get. Because being at the right place as the right time also encompasses the right people. That’s the right place; when you’re with the right people. If you’re not with the right people, the connection will never happen. That stands true to this day and to every day that I live that those are the hurdles or the block points. As an example we would never have had this opportunity without chance and luck to be able to come to Australia again. You make your own luck and you make your own luck by you keep on existing and you keep looking for opportunities but you have to participate in that actual process, if you don’t then nothing will happen.
SR: from this you got to tour with AC/DC, playing download festival and touring the world again, what haven’t you done yet that’s on the bucket list?
It’s going to places you’ve never been. Previously to coming to Australia we’re going to China and I know that might sound a bit like “whaaaat?!” but we’ve got 5 shows in major cities over there and I’m going to see what society looks like there [laughs] and learn what that’s all about.
SR: if you could choose one of your songs to name your biography what would it be?
Jeez… [Laughs]. Maybe something from the new album that somewhat capsulates what I’ve done which would probably be Pounding the Pavement, which is going to be in instrumental by the way. That sort of says it musically speaking. It took a long time to get to the point where I wrote that. It’s an interesting piece, so I guess you won’t get a chance to hear it to next January [laughs]
SR: Any song you wished you’d written?
Ooh! Into The Void- Black Sabbath.
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