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"At 14, Toronto school friends Steve 'Lips' Kudlow and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, went on to become the 'demigods of Canadian metal,' releasing one of the heaviest albums in metal history, 1982's Metal on Metal. The album influenced a musical generation, including Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax, that went on to sell millions of records. But Anvil's career took a different path—straight to obscurity. Director Sacha Gervasi has concocted a wonderful and often hilarious account of Anvil's last-ditch quest for elusive fame and fortune. His ingenious filmmaking may first lead you to think this a mockumentary, but it isn't. It's fascinating to see the reality of their day-to-day lives as they struggle to make ends meet, take a misguided European tour, and engage in antics on the road—which is not always lined with fans."
—John Cooper, Sundance Film Festival
 

 Anvil! The Story of Anvil by director Sacha Gervasi

I grew up in London in the early ’80s. The other kids at my school were into cool bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash but I was into metal. I’d get teased mercilessly about it but I really didn’t care. I’ll never forget the night I saw The Clash at the Lyceum ballroom because I was beaten up outside by a skinhead called Terry for wearing a Motorhead T-shirt. I thought it was pretty funny. Punk was all about being different and not conforming and here they were attacking me for not wearing bondage trousers and safety pins like everyone else! Ridiculous.

I used to hang out at the Marquee Club on Wardour Street. We started hearing about this band from Toronto called Anvil. No one knew who they were exactly. Then out of nowhere the band’s lead singer Lips appeared on the front cover of Sounds magazine brandishing a chainsaw between his teeth. My friends and I thought this was pretty wild and very cool but it was nothing compared to how we felt after we heard the band’s record “Metal on Metal.” It was unbelievably good. By the time they arrived to play the Marquee in late 1982, Anvil was already a legend.

After the show I tricked my way backstage and managed to meet my new idols. I was nervous, only expecting to say a brief hello to Lips and Robb with all the people swarming around them but they spent more time talking to me than they did members of the famous bands lining up to congratulate them. You could tell they weren’t like the same old asshole rock stars you’d meet at the Marquee around that time. The fans really were more important to them than anyone.

Lips asked me if I’d be interested in joining them as a roadie for their North American tour the following summer. He told me all their roadies were fans. I’d fit in just fine. How could I say no?

What on earth was I going to say to my mother? There was no way in a million years she would allow her 16-year-old son to go out on the road with a rock band. I came up with a scheme. I told her that I wanted to spend the summer with my dad in New York where he had lived since my parents divorced. That summer I left London for New York. I jumped on a train to Toronto two days later!

That tour was one of the greatest experiences of my life. We traveled thousands of miles across the U.S. and Canada. I saw places and things I’d only ever dreamed about. The parties were pretty insane at times—it was the ’80s—but the band was always very protective over me, locking me out of the tour bus if things got too out of hand.

I never forgot those days. I had lived a dream most of my friends could only imagine. But over time something began to happen. I started to develop a fondness for David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Suddenly metal didn’t seem as cool as it had been when I was 15. I was growing up.

But then, in the summer of 2005, I started to wonder what had happened to my old friends in Anvil. I went online to discover they had produced ten albums I’d never even heard of and they were still playing shows in clubs across Ontario and Quebec.

Two weeks later Lips flew out to meet me in Los Angeles. It was as if no time had passed between us. I was 15 again. Lips was exactly as I remembered him and though he was now in his 50s he still believed that Anvil’s day would come. I knew that weekend I had to make a film about him and his best friend Robb’s commitment to the dream they’d had as 14-year-olds…to rock together forever.