ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL (2009) – Documentary Retroview

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Anvil Still Rocks! UTOPIA is set to release a newly restored version of Anvil! The Story of Anvil, filmmaker Sacha Gervasi’s 2009 documentary. Anvil! The Story of Anvil tells the story of Toronto-based musicians Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow and Robb Reiner, two humorous guys who’ve been best friends and played together in Anvil, the heavy metal band, since they were in their teens. Their debut album Metal On Metal took the music world by storm, and Anvil was credited with setting the trend that boosted other metal bands–Anthrax, Metallica and Slayer–onto the charts, while poor management decisions pushed Kudlow and Reiner into the background. This is their revival.

Making Music History

Anvil, the heavy metal band whose debut album, Metal on Metal, is credited with setting the trend for Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax, steps into the spotlight–after years of obscurity–in Sacha Gervasi’s documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil and a coincidental road tour, The Anvil Experience, in cities across the US in April 2009.

Don’t know Anvil? Gervasi’s documentary gives you the scoop: The band–lead by frontman Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner–was fast tracking to stardom, but poor management derailed them. Lips says, “We made a bad marketing choice way back when. We were getting hot, and we had to choose between two managers. We signed with a big shot, figuring he’d move us into the big leagues. But he didn’t get us or our music and we didn’t want to change to be what he thought would sell. So we got nowhere. Meanwhile, the other manager signed Metallica, and told them to sound like us. The rest is history.”

Metallica outdistanced Anvil on the charts. Lips and Robb relinquished big venues for small ones, and supported their metal habit and families with day jobs in Toronto, their hometown. But they kept playing.

In 2007, Gervasi, a renowned Hollywood screenwriter, catches up with the band. Years before, he’d spent an unforgettable high school summer (“much to my mother’s dismay,” he confesses) as an Anvil roadie. While visiting Toronto, Sacha reconnects with Lips and Robb. They’re in their 50s, starting a tour to promote a new album, This Is Thirteen. Sacha films the trip.

You’ll be glad he did. Music-wise, Lips and Robb are solid. But beyond their sharp metal edge, they have mettle. They’re talented, sophisticated players, dedicated to music, loyal to each other (they’ve been friends since they were 14 years old), full of quirky fun and genuinely fan friendly. The film has great archival footage and revealing up close and personal interviews with Lips and Robb and other legendary metal music makers. All of this makes Anvil! The Story of Anvil a real rush!


Title: Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Release Date: April 2009
Running Time: 90 mins.
Location: Toronto
Language: English
Parents Advisory: Parents Advisory for Some Content
Distribution: Abramorama/UTOPIA


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