Rock and roll rebirth – Anvil

With drummer and friend Robb Reiner, Steve 'Lips' Kudlow has been slugging it out with Canadian metal band Anvil for over 30 years. Now, with Sacha Gervasi's Anvil! The Story of Anvil doc garnering international acclaim, the band's star is finally rising.
May 1, 2009

When the idea of the documentary was first proposed to you, what were your thoughts? Why did you decide to go ahead with it, knowing it would show the good times and the bad?

I was very excited and emotional at the moment Sacha asked to make a movie about us. I thought it was my big break and a chance of a lifetime. I also could actually sense the outcome as if it already happened and I could virtually see my life flash before my eyes. In my soul I knew that I was fulfilling my destiny; my past was my legacy and it was an incredible story that the world would be blown away by. Sacha has been trying to tell me not to get too hopeful…. I might get disappointed…. but I can’t help myself!

In the film we see you play in front of handfuls of people (as well as tens of thousands). What makes you want to get back on stage after playing a sparsely attended show?

It doesn’t matter whether there is one or 1000…the songs and my attitude remain the same. One of those people even in a handful can change your life forever. Each moment is something to be cherished when you are onstage as that is the time you feel most alive and fulfilled as a useful person that makes a difference.

When tours are booked you must play every night in order to make the tour work. It’s not for the weak and timid or the greedy money mongers… it’s for the die-hard fans of the music that you are entertaining. It’s part of the job description.

With the success of the film, your profile is perhaps higher than it has ever been. Still, there must have been some pretty cool moments over the last three decades.

I would have to say that one of my biggest moments so far was just recently when I looked out at the people attending the premiere of the movie at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles, and I could see Dustin Hoffman standing and singing ‘Metal On Metal!’ It was like looking at the front cover of Sgt.Pepper‘s, but in real life!

And what’s been the lowest point?

After my divorce with my ex-wife and the death of Robb’s dad in the late ’80s.

The film really hammers home the value of perseverance, which is something that a lot of documentary filmmakers can identify with as well. What kept (and keeps) you going in the face of heavy odds?

Pure self-belief. Don’t wait for things to happen… make them happen.

Now what? What’s next?

Continuing to write, record and tour as I have been for the past 30 years…but with a bit of luck maybe [I can] make a living and not have to supplement my income by working a regular job.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.