Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Cast: Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Lemmy (Motorhead), Scott Ian (Anthrax), Slash (Guns N' Roses/Velvet Revolver), Tom Araya (Slayer) and Anvil
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Genre: Music
Rated: M
Running Time: 80 minutes

Synopsis: At fourteen, they made a pact to rock together forever.
They meant it.

At 14, Toronto school friends Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock together forever. They meant it. Their band, Anvil, went on to become the "demigods of Canadian metal," releasing one of the heaviest albums in metal history, 1982's Metal on Metal. The album influenced a musical generation, including Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, that went on to sell millions of records. But Anvil's career took a different path - straight to obscurity.

At its core, Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a timeless tale of survival and the unadulterated passion it takes to follow your dream, year after year. Anvil rocks - it has no other choice

Release Date: September 10th, 2009

Filmmakers Notes
I grew up in London in the early 80s. The other kids at my school were into cool bands like The Pistols and The Clash but I was into metal. I'd get teased mercilessly about it but I really didn't care. I'll never forget the night I saw the Clash at the Lyceum ballroom. I was beaten up outside by a skinhead called Terry for wearing a Motorhead T-shirt. I thought it was pretty funny. Punk was all about being different and not conforming and here they were attacking me for not wearing bondage trousers and safety pins like everyone else! Ridiculous.

I used to hang out at the Marquee club on Wardour street. It was a far cry from the days when the Who and Hendrix had played there. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal was taking over and bands like Iron Maiden would play there on a regular basis. We started hearing about this band from Toronto called Anvil. No one knew who they were exactly. Then out of nowhere the band's lead singer Lips appeared on the front cover of Sounds magazine brandishing a chainsaw and clenching a dildo between his teeth. Me and my friends thought this was pretty wild and very cool but it was nothing compared to how we felt after we heard the band's record "Metal on Metal." It was unbelievably good. By the time they arrived to play the Marquee in late 1982 Anvil were already legends.

I was at that very first show. Everyone was there including Lemmy from Motorhead. Anvil blew the roof off the place. They played faster, heavier and more intensely than any band I'd ever seen. And they were hilarious. Lips cavorted around with his dildo like an adrenalized harpee on meth-amphetamines. He even frothed up Lemmy's beer with the thing. You were laughing as hard as you were banging your head. Certainly the music was amazing, fresh and different but you really got the sense the band had no idea how good they were. They were just having the time of their lives.

After the show I tricked my way backstage and managed to meet my new idols. I was nervous as shit and only expected to say a brief hello with all the people swarming around but Lips and Robb really wanted to hear what one of their young English fans thought of the show. They spent as much time talking to me as they did members of famous bands coming up to congratulate them. You could tell they weren't like the same old asshole rockstars you'd meet at the Marquee around that time. The fans were more important to them than anyone.

At the end of the night they told me they'd never been to London before and would I be willing to show them around? I couldn't believe it! I was going to be Anvil's tour guide! I met up with the band the next day and took them everywhere: Carnaby Street, Abbey Road, Westiminster. By the end of the afternoon they decided to give me an Anvil nickname. Every friend of the band got one. I was christened 'Teabag.' I was English after all. They were laughing about it. They still call me that to this day.

I saw the band a few months later at the Donnington festival. They weren't surprised to see me. They asked me if I'd be interested in joining them as a roadie for their North American tour the following summer. They said if I could get myself to Toronto they'd take me out on the whole tour with them. I told them I didn't know anything about being a roadie, that I was only a fan. They told me ALL their roadies were fans. I'd fit in just fine. How could I say no?

What on earth was I going to say to my mother? There was no way in a million years she would allow her sixteen year old son to go out on the road with a rock band. I came up with a scheme. I told her that I wanted to spend the summer with my dad in New York where he had lived since my parents divorced. That summer I left London for New York. I jumped on a train to Toronto two days later!

That tour was one of the greatest experiences of my life. We traveled thousands of miles across the U.S. and Canada. I saw places and things I'd only ever dreamed about. The parties were pretty insane at times - it was the 80s -- but the band were always very protective over me, locking me out of the tour bus if things got too out of hand.

My jobs on the road ranged from setting up the backline to selling t-shirts and tapes after the show. But the best part of it was being able to sit right next to Robb Reiner's drums every night. He'd just been offered the job playing for Ozzy but had turned him down because he wouldn't turn his back on Anvil. I remember standing there watching him night after night thinking this is the best guy in the world at doing what he does. It was inspiring.

I learned so much watching him over those two months. By the end of the tour Robb would let me sound check with the band and even let me join the band for an encore of "School Love" after he'd taught me how to play it. It was like I'd died and gone to heaven!

I'll never forget those days. I lived a dream most of my friends could only imagine. But over time something began to happen. I started to develop a fondness for David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Suddenly metal didn't seem as cool as it had been when I was fifteen. I was growing up!

By the mid eighties I had lost touch with Anvil and they had lost touch with me. All the promise they had shown in the early days hadn't seemed to amount to much. Bands far worse than them ended up making it big but Anvil didn't. They just seemed to fade into obscurity. I remember thinking they must have broken up or something. In the back of my mind I wondered how Lips and Robb were and what had become of their lives. But by then I was distracted with my own life.

It wasn't until twenty years later that I decided to try and find my old buddies Lips and Robb again. I didn't know whether they were still friends or if they were even still alive.
- Sacha Gervasi


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