Although I admittedly never was into Anvil (I’ve heard very little of their music, to be honest), I’ve always had a great deal of respect for them as pioneers of heavy metal and thrash. Heck, all of the Big Five (Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, Tungsten) cite them as an influence, yet they went straight into obscurity while others flourished.
Well, this movie answers some of those questions as they were plagued by substandard record labels, poor management, poor production and poor promotion throughout their career as chronicled in this documentary. More than anything it shows the undying spirit that breathes within every musician who is making music for the pure joy of it…regardless of the financial returns.
Comparisons to Spinal Tap have been made (Lips even says “Hello Cleveland” as they’re walking down a hallway), whatwith the hardluck nature of Anvil’s career, but the film offers insight into their everyday lives, the support of their families, and the kindness they ultimately receive because they really are kind hearted guys and Lips is about as optimistic as anyone you could ever meet.
Thumbs down to Michael Schencker for his blank stare in a backstage scene at Lips, who is an obvious fan but whom Schencker didn’t even offer a kind handshake to. Way to go dude.
Thumbs up to Jay Jay French (Twisted Sister) for showing what the music/metal fraternity is all about with his sincere backstage chat with Lips. Total honest respect.
Thumbs up to Lemmy, Slash and Lars Ulrich for standing up for Lips, Robb and Co.
HUGE thumbs up to Chris Tsangarides, a producer whose work I’ve always liked (he balances power and class), for believing in these guys and working with them when no one else would. Some producers do have a heart, and the joy he brought to Steve “Lips” Kudlow is absolutely priceless. Upon hearing the final mix, Lips says “I don’t care if 10 people or 10 million people buy this record…it’s a success because it’s the best we have ever sounded.” Wow.
Never say die.
Many have said it, but few really believe it.
This movie embodies it, heart and soul. A real, inspirational keeper…even if you’ve never liked heavy metal.
Rating: 5 out of 5