Hollywood Heavy Metal


The Anvil Story

by Bill Delingat

If you lived in Toronto in the 60’s and 70’you would have been in the midst of a musical transition from the folksy peacenics and “Flower Power’ of Yorkville to the rock ‘n’ roll rebellion and well sprayed coifs of the “Hair Bands” of Yonge Street and finally the crash and burn of “Punk Rock” on Queen West. In the midst of the new ‘Metal Scene’ of music with hard rockers, like the Killer Dwarfs, Goddo, and Streetheart came a group of gnomish characters called “Anvil”.

It all started back in April 1973 when Steve the Lips Kudlow and Robb Reiner decided to start a band. Steve had been in the downtown Toronto circuit of bars as a lead guitar player but now it would be his turn. This formula worked out and around 1977 “Lipps” was formed with Steve now the front man of the quartet that included longtime friend Robb Reiner on drums, Dave Allison on vocals and rhythm and Ian Dickson on bass. In 1980 the gruesome foursome of metal music released their self produced indie LP “Lipps – Hard ‘N’ Heavy. If you happen to be one of the owners of one of the 1000 originally released by the band hang on to it as it is way up on the collectors radar, with its plain cover and LIPPS written on it.

Current line-up
Robb "Geza" Reiner - drums (1978-present)
Steve "Lips" Kudlow - lead vocals, lead guitar (1978-present)
Glenn Gyorffy* - bass, backing vocals (1995-present)
*Note: Glenn Gyorffy often goes as Glenn Five or simply G5 for short.

Former members
Dave "Squirrely" Allison - guitar (1978-1985)
Ian "Dix" Dickson - bass (1978-1995)
Sebastian Marino - guitar (1992-1994)
Ivan Hurd - guitar (1994-2006

A year later their first break came when Attic Records signed them and released the Album “ANVIL” which became their name in order to avoid a mix-up and possible dispute with an upstart disco group making waves called “Lipps Incorporated.” Well no one can dispute this change as being one for the better as now some three decades later Anvil is still grinding out the “Trash Metal” with a new CD in the works. The band is commonly acknowledged as “speed metal gods”, Fathers of Power Metal and even the ‘Godfathers of Trash Metal”. ANVIL has accomplished the next level to stardom “A Movie?”

Even though their music was copied and imitated world wide and influenced some of the giants of heavy metal music like Slayer, Anthrax and even Metallica, who all sold millions of records worldwide, ANVIL started to slide to the wayside even with new record deals. In 2001, the band recorded ‘Plenty of Power” and continued touring; Kudlow was quoted as saying "We'll play gigs sometimeswhere there's no one there." In 2007, the band recorded their 13th studio album; the CD was self-released as “This is Thirteen” in 2007, and was available exclusively from the band's official website. KNAC radio a supporter of the band in the early days reviewed the album saying that "despite its good intentions, is lacking something solid," and concluded it was a "shame because half of the album rocked solid balls of awesomeness when performed live.”

Then along came screenwriter and former ANVIL roadie Sacha Gervasi with a zany idea of making a film of the band’s last ditch effort for fame and fortune. Gervasi documented the band on a cross Canada tour of the “B” circuit of hockey arenas and brought an angle on the groups “eccentricities” during their day to day struggle to make ends meet. This leads to a misguided tour of Europe and life on the road, which is not always lined with fans.


Hard 'N' Heavy (Attic Records, 1981)
Metal on Metal (Attic Records, 1982)
Forged in Fire (Attic Records, 1983)
Backwaxed (Attic Records, 1985)
Strength of Steel (Metal Blade Records, 1987)
Pound for Pound (Metal Blade Records, 1988)
Angry and Acoustic at Carnegie Hall (1988, authorized bootleg)
Past and Present - Live in Concert (Metal Blade Records, 1989)
Worth the Weight (Mausoleum Records, 1992)
Anvil: Live (Metal Blade Records, 1994)
Plugged in Permanent (Massacre Records, 1996)
Absolutely no Alternative (Massacre Records, 1997)
Speed of Sound (Massacre Records, 1999)
Anthology (Metal Blade Records, 1999), (Best of Anvil)
Plenty of Power (Massacre Records, 2001)
Still Going Strong (Massacre Records, 2002)
Back to Basics (Massacre Records, 2004)
This Is Thirteen (Self-released, 2007) (Re-released by VH1 Classic Records on September 15, 2009 with bonus track, "Thumb Hang,")
Juggernaut of Justice (In-production)

Upon its release, the film garnered critical acclaim from many major publications, and has since brought the band renewed recognition, including opening slots with AC/DC and Saxon. They were booked on appearances at major heavy metal festivals, including Download and Loud Park.

Gervasi not only covers the antics of the road warriors’ day to day playtime but also adds in the ever supporting but long suffering family side which gives these “Metal Demons” a softer side that most fans would not get the chance to see. Not to fall into the realm of “Spinal Tap” and be pegged as a “mockumentary”, Gervasi has made the film “ANVIL! The Story of Anvil” as a timeless tale of a band’s survival as they chase their dream year after year. It looks good on the boys from Toronto as they have won award after award, however this week it was announced that their dream of Hollywood with "ANVIL ! The Story of Anvil," the well-reviewed film, did not make the short list for the documentary Oscar as hoped, but it has been named best music doc by the International Documentary Association and on Monday the IDA announced the winners in seven categories in advance of the organizations awards gala Friday night in Los Angeles with Sacha Gervasi’s portrayal of the heavy metal band nominated for the IDA’s top feature prize. It may not be “The Oscar” but what a go lads - you make us proud Canadians.

The band is currently working on a new album entitled Juggernaut of Justice.

A quote from Steve Kudlow kind of wraps it up.

“It stands as a prime example of what an industry — particularly the music industry — can put an artist through. At the same time, I take responsibility for our actions in the past. We were just sustaining who we are. Now someone's come along and brought it to a new level. Now we're getting praise for never selling out and sticking to our guns. It's a vindicating thing. We got our notoriety on our own terms. We've done what we want. Not what someone told us to do.”