Movie of the Day – Anvil! The Story of Anvil
August 26, 2011 Leave a comment
I am not much of a metal music fan. I don’t have the long hair, tattoos, and my head hurts sometimes if I try and head bang. I know it makes me seem fucking old but seriously, not much of a metal fan. So I was never familiar with the band that the documentary is about and frankly, so are a lot of people as well. Anvil has been rocking in obscurity for decades to most of the music loving public, but they have influenced some of the most well-known metal bands to date. Metallica and Slayer are successful in their own rights, each band admires the influence that Anvil has had on them. If a band has this much influence on our current music, why such obscurity? Why isn’t this band headlining major music and metal events across the world? A little thing like lack of fame might be enough to derail dedicated bands, but there is something special about a band that will go through hell and still come out rocking even when things look grim. That is the story of Anvil.
Anvil is a metal band from Canada, formed by two childhood friends Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner who have been rocking hard since the early 80s. While they have influenced many rock and roll acts over the years, they are currently working in construction and delivery service. The band never achieved the same fame as their counterparts, but they still have that rock and roll spirit. The documentary follows their first ever tour of Europe, set up by an ambitious fan and another shot at fame and success for Anvil. Well the tour doesn’t go as planned and was disastrous. Missed travel connections, constant lateness and infighting led the tour into doom and almost threatened to break up the band. After heading back to the Canada, the band take one last opportunity to record their 13th album and that also hits a lot of troubling times. Through it all though, Steve and Robb stick together to the very end, knowing that without one another, they would be lost.
For a music documentary, this is one of the most touching, honest documentaries out there. I first caught this on VOD and was just filled with this emotional conflict. The members of the band have been beset with so many maladies and infighting, but they still hold the torch of fame and glory in their eyes. They are miserable when they are working menial jobs and only feel alive on stage in front of a crowd. It takes a certain dedication and love for what you do in order to continue on when all the odds are against you. To do something out of the love you have for it is incredible. You want to see them succeed because of the heart that they put into their career. The disaster of the European tour is just hard to watch when you seem them play to a crowd of 12 people at times.
While the struggles of the band is always present, it is the relationship between the Steve and Robb that gives a hope in their darkest of times. Throughout the documentary, one of the members threatens to leaves several times, citing the futility of their efforts and just want to leave it all behind. But it is the fact that the two members have been friends since childhood and through the thick and thin of their metal lives, they each need one another in the end. If the band is going to end, they will both do it together. You have to admire this love that they have the music they created. Each help one another out through the tough times and its the music that has defined their relationship.
When you watch this, you feel moved to cheer for them and suffer the same anguish when you watch their tour and recording of their 13th album fall apart. Fear not though, through adversity they find success. The documentary has given them a second wind and are finding new fame in the midst of the release of the documentary. But watch the movie and learn about what it takes to be dedicated to a passion.