Anvil’s ‘Lips’ Pounds the Pavement, Remembers Lemmy + Doesn’t Want Fake News
For nearly 40 years, Canada's Anvil have served as an unrepentantly enduring act, steadily releasing albums since 1981. Whether anyone was listening to them was another story, one which was painfully chronicled in one of rock's greatest and most revealing documentaries, Anvil! The Story of Anvil. It's a testament to the ironclad bond between frontman Steve 'Lips' Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner as they fearlessly kept their foot on the pedal, staying true to their vow to rock together forever.
Their career has yielded 17 studio albums, the latest being Pounding the Pavement, a diverse collection of songs that range from speed metal ragers like "Black Smoke" and the instrumental title track to boogie-woogie party rock cuts in the unfiltered, unabashed "Rock That Shit" and "Warming Up," to bruising riffing might found on "Smash Your Face" and the slightly cheeky "Nanook of the North."
It's classic Anvil, taking face-value themes like following the directions of a GPS, bluntly channeling it into the album's opener, "Bitch in the Box." Throughout the decades, the band has never wavered, staying true to finding lyrical influence from everyday life and there's something to be said for favoring simplicity above all else. In the documentary, Lips' rock 'n' roll tunnel vision is heartwarming and his dedication is both admirable and distressing — you feel for the guy.
We caught up with Anvil's leader to dive into Pounding the Pavement and just like the band's attitude, he doesn't overthink things and is succinct and to the point. Check it out below and don't forget to snag your copy of the album at Amazon or iTunes.
"Bitch in the Box" opens the album and makes it no secret the song is about using a GPS. What's your relationship with GPS systems? They're certainly helpful, but come with their own set of frustrations if the title is any evidence.
Considering the amount of traveling we do, we are GPS experts!! The idea came from my wife when she called the GPS a bitch in the box. I thought it was a great title and used it.
"Bitch in the Box" and "Rock That Shit" have some real old rock sounds with the doo-wop backing vocals, boogie riffage and singing about going to the hop. Have you been revisiting rock's roots a bit more lately?
It's part of the earliest influences. Being born in the '50s gives me the insight and influence.
"Doing What I Want" conveys a message everyone can get behind and speaks to Anvil's mentality for the last 40 years. Now in your 60s, retirement in some capacity must start to enter your mind, but you don't seem like a guy who could ever give this up. Have you discussed this at all with Rob?
Retirement?? I am retired from doing deliveries for the catering company. I haven't done it for 10 years now. Death is the only way out.
"Don't Tell Me" hits on fake news and the increasing level of distrust citizens have for the news media. How has the political tension in the U.S. affected Canada?
The effect of politics and religion is worldwide. Fake news is not a new concept. Humanity has built the foundation of society on fake news. Religion!!
2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the debut of the Anvil documentary at Sundance. Your family was supportive but also critical of your dedication to metal. Did the success of the documentary change their opinions of you and Anvil?
The main critic was my mother ... she's now gone. I don't think she understood what the outcome of the movie did. She only knew that she saw a lot less of me in the last couple years she had left. Ultimately it made no difference ... she still believed it would have been better if I had become a doctor or a lawyer or accountant!! ... anything but a musician.
Lemmy had tremendous respect for Anvil. What was your first encounter with him like?
Anvil opened for Motorhead in 1981 on the release of Hard and Heavy. He thought we were great but said we've got too many hard parts in our songs!!
You wrote “Pro Wrestling” on Plenty of Power. Do you still follow wrestling and who are your favorites?
No, I don't follow this kind of entertainment. It was only a song that I happened to write.
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