Is it myth or metal, or both? That’s the big question posed by Anvil! The Story of Anvil, a music documentary chronicling the rise and fall and rise of the titular Canuck speed-metal legends.
The story goes that Anvil bandmates Steve (Lips) Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner met as teenagers during the 1970s and vowed to rock together forever.
By the early ’80s, Anvil was a force to be reckoned with in the world of heavy metal — as documentary testimonials by the likes of Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and Slash (formerly of Guns ’N Roses) attest to.
However, not long after their peak, label problems and band-related strife relegated Anvil to the annals of rock ’n’ roll obscurity. Today, Kudlow and Reiner are mere labourers in the Big Smoke, but they still get their band on every weekend and continue to dream about landing their big break.
Director Sacha Gervasi first befriended the duo when he was a teenager living in England during the ’80s and has stuck with the band ever since.
While his documentary is already being called Canada’s answer to Spinal Tap, the hard-luck story of Anvil seems a bit like The Blair Witch Project — like, can this movie possibly be real?
“I get that a lot. I directed the movie and there are still parts of it I don’t believe myself,” Gervasi laughs.
“It’s admittedly been a challenge convincing people that the movie isn’t an elaborate ruse. Keep in mind that many people thought Spinal Tap was a real band when that movie came out. And Anvil’s drummer has the same name as Spinal Tap’s director — you can’t make this stuff up.”
“Anvil was actually featured in a recent issue of Spin Magazine,” Gervasi says. “The way people have embraced this story is absolutely surreal.”