Friday, February 13, 2009

Anvil brag post

A little tangent from the formula.

So there's this metal band from Canada called Anvil. They've been around in one form or another since the late-70s....they were originally called Lips, put out one record (which is impossibly rare and has gone for hundreds on eBay) & then changed their name to Anvil in the early-80s.

Their first album was just a re-release of the album that had originally come out under the Lips name ("Hard 'n' Heavy" - this version isn't hard to find at all)....and they then went on to release 2 albums that every metalhead should have in their collections ("Metal on Metal" and "Forged in Fire").

They had a moment in the early-80s just as speed metal was really coming to the fore where they probably could have made a bid to be pretty huge. I have a video somewhere of them playing some arena somewhere in Japan I think (how's that for a totally non-committal sentence?)....but basically....they were just a year too early.

Metallica (who, by the way, were influenced by Anvil in a big way - as were a ton of other speed/thrash metal bands who ended up becoming a million times bigger than Anvil ever were - as it generally goes...) - came crashing into the scene about a year after Anvil - and that time difference was a HUGE difference (lots of things have to combine in just the right way for a band to hit it big...some of it - sad to say - really is pure luck).

Nonetheless, truer metalheads you will never meet, and Anvil plowed along, releasing records pretty regularly to a small (but devoted) audience. "This Is Thirteen", their most recent, came out in 2007 and is, indeed, their 13th studio record (there's also a live record & a pretty good anthology that was released as well).

I've seen Anvil pretty much everytime they've played in the NY area since their 1999 album, "Speed of Sound" came out (and if you haven't yet caught on to their album-naming formula, I'll give you the rest of discography right here: Strength of Steel, Pound for Pound, Past & Present (live), Worth the Weight, Plugged in Permanent, Absolutely No Alternative, Plenty of Power, Still Going Strong & Back to Basics)....probably about 7 or 8 times....and I don't think I've ever seen them play in front of more than 30 people.

Once I actually saw them play a late night show somewhere in Queens AFTER Iron Maiden had played MSG. I had such great hope for that show....every metalhead in the NYC area was gathered in one place for Maiden....that show let out around 11 - it was a Saturday night - surely at least SOME of that audience was in the mood for more & would take the drive/subway out to Queens for a late-night Anvil was my friend Harry & me - and the bartender.

Anyway....fate has shined a bright light on Anvil.

Turns out that British screenwriter/director Sacha Gervasi (he wrote the Spielberg film 'The Terminal' also the voice behind the Jaguar TV commercials) - was a part-time Anvil roadie back in the early-80s. Gervasi just made a documentary released to HUGE critical acclaim (it was one of the hits at the most recent Sundance Festival....with actors like Robert Redford & Keanu Reeves becoming huge fans of the film - and I use the word "actor" rather loosely when it comes to Mr. Reeves) called 'Anvil! The Story of Anvil'.

As big a fan as I am of the band....I had to miss the movie when they gave it a one-off showing in Brooklyn last June....and I still haven't seen it (other than some clips you can find on the official website....some links are below).

Anyway....some of you may know of "That Metal Show" on VH1 Classic hosted by Eddie Trunk, Jim Florentine & Don Jamieson. Well - they're about to start taping for the 2nd season - and on Wednesday, February 25th - one of the two shows they're taping that day will feature ANVIL! Trunk has become a huge supporter of the film & he's been talking it up on his radio show (actually had a great hour-long interview with Gervasi last week about it).

I put in a bid to get free tix to get into the taping - and I just got the confirmation that I'm in!!!!


OK - that's it for my brag....back to regular shit next time.

here are some links...

Official Anvil site

Anvil MySpace

Anvil! The Story of Anvil documentary

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