Friday, February 27, 2009

That Metal Show taping

It's been 2 weeks since the last post. I was flattered that - even at in this blog's infancy - I did get a couple of people asking me why there hadn't been any new posts. Wow! People actually do check this blog...I'm blown away. Thank you.

Truth is - I'm a streaky writer. I cannot force myself to write. I mean - I could - but - it would suck. And - since this isn't a job or anything - I have the luxury of being able to write only when inspired. So - I can go 3 weeks without writing - and I can go a week where I'm writing something every day.

I guess on one certainly want to make entries somewhat frequently. You don't want anyone thinking you've lost some point, you stop going back. On the other don't want to write too much. I know that people aren't going to check this every you don't want to come back & have like 5 things to catch up on....but who's going to read that? So you risk stuff getting unread.

This last paragraph was me thinking out loud.


see prior post about Anvil first.

Wednesday was the show taping. Took the day off work, got on the LIRR and met up with Jim Idol in Penn Station. Had some lunch and made it to the studio a little bit before 3.

Stood on line for awhile. Seemed like most of the audience were more Queensryche fans (Geoff Tate was a guest on the 2nd show they were taping that day)....but there were a few Anvil fans. This girl right behind us had a vinyl copy of Metal on Metal for the band to sign.

The producer handed out pens & paper for people to write down trivia questions for the "Stump the Trunk" segment of the show. For those who have never seen the show, this is the segment where about 5 guests ask a heavy metal trivia question to the host of the show, Eddie Trunk. If he's stumped, you get a prize from his "Box of Junk" (basically a grab bag with promo CDs in it).

I handed in a few questions (2 of them Anvil related) did did everyone, I guess.

We're led into the studio....which kind of looks how I expect it to, even though I've never been in a TV studio before. Lots of crazy looking cameras and monitors and soundboards. And then there's the set on the stage which I'm familiar with because I've seen the show. And then there are 3 sets of metal bleachers with 5 rows of seats a piece.

Jim & I are put on the top row of the bleachers on stage right. Each row is probably designed to hold 4 people....but we have to sit 5 in a it's crowded. Being on the top row was actually not bad because we had the fencing at the back of the bleachers that we can lean back on. It only sucked for Jim who was on the end and had some screw jutting out of the back. But for me - it wasn't bad.

Before the show started this guy came out with a handful of index cards and started calling out names. These, of course, were the questions that had been chosen for the Stump the Trunk segment.

Both Jim & I got called. They had re-written our questions slightly and asked us to memorize them.

The director of the show comes out & explains that they "can" some applause & basically - we have to do a few different types of applauses....and we have to laugh. It's kind of hard to laugh on cue....but when you're in a room with 100 other people all becomes kinda funny.

Finally - the 3 hosts of the show, Eddie Trunk, Jim Florentine & Don Jamieson come out and introduce themselves and welcome everyone. They sit down - and the show starts rolling.

They do an opening segment with just the 3 of them talking about some metal topic. Then, Lips & Robb Reiner are introduced, they take their seats and an interview commences - mostly focused around the movie which has been receiving all kinds of praise. This movie may end up being pretty big - which would be pretty mindblowing considering the complete anonymity of the band to all but diehard metal fans (and even many diehard metal fans stopped caring about Anvil years ago....I'm an obvious exception).

The interview goes well....Lips & Reiner both come off extremely genuine and down-to-earth....and perhaps themselves surprised that even in their early 50s, they're still a band, still put out records & still do some touring (even if they do seem to play mostly in front of only a handful of people on a nightly basis). They're also shocked at their current situation....being a band that's the focal point of a movie that's getting some major buzz. Whether the movie will actually create a new fanbase for the band or not, I don't know. The movie could be doesn't mean the band themselves will cultivate a whole new audience....although I certainly hope so - they definitely deserve it.

The "Stump the Trunk" section of the show came up and Jim and I and a few others went to the side of the stage. We did our thing & returned to the audience.

The questions we asked & whether or not we "Stumped the Trunk" will all be revealed when the show airs. No spoilers here!! (this is all assuming we don't get edited out....there's only about 20 minutes worth of show - but they shoot about 60 minutes worth of footage).

The show ends - and Lips & Reiner come out and talk to some people, take photos, sign autographs. Lips recognizes me - I introduced myself to him at one of the first shows I ever went to of theirs - from them on, I've always talked to him a little bit when I've seen them. I know firsthand how cool these guys are as people. Even when they had every right to be bitter - about being a band that was a huge influence to bands who got MUCH bigger than they ever did (Metallica & Slayer for starters) - but playing in front of 5 people....they were still 100% genuinely grateful for those who did show up....and always took the time to have a quick chat or sign an autograph. Now that they are getting a certain level of fame from this movie - I don't think they will be corrupted by it.

I won't say much about the second show taping. It was the same thing all over again - except now with Geoff Tate from Queensryche as a guest. I'm not a huge Queensryche fan - so I don't have a whole lot of personal attachment to comment on - which is kind of the point of this blog. It was a good interview and I guess it made me consider checking out some of the classic Queensryche records that I never did.

One difference that I couldn't help but notice is that while after the Anvil taping, they came right down into the audience to hang out for a few minutes.....Geoff Tate immediately walked off the set, bypassing the audience, and going directly to the back. This doesn't mean that he didn't talk to some fans or sign some stuff - he may have after it was all over....Jim & I didn't really hang out too long after the taping was done. But if he WANTED to meet some of audience members, he was certainly subtle about it.

With Anvil - the feeling was like..."thank you guys for making this all worth it...we're honored you dig our stuff....thank you for coming."

With Tate it was more like....he knew he was the star - he has been for awhile - and probably takes it for granted. I guess it's natural. He wasn't an asshole. It's just that he probably thinks (without actually thinking it) that you are the one grateful to be in the room with him....rather than the other way around - or at least some equal footing. It's not a judgment on the man - just an observation & a follow-up subjective interpretation. I could be totally wrong. Maybe the man is just private & shy. I have no idea. Maybe I'd be the same way if I was an internationally known rock star.

It's just an observation - something I took note of - and writing it here seems like the obvious thing to do.

I'm truly looking forward to seeing the Anvil movie. There's even going to be a book that follows. I think the movie is really more about the current situation of the band - and really the more general story of a bunch of guys who had a dream when they were teenagers....and are still chasing it 30 years later. If Anvil had ever gained TRUE success - there's a good chance they would have been long gone. It's because they've always been hungry and have always been chasing it....that's probably a big part of what's kept them going.

It was a unique experience....very much worth the vacation day I spent on it.


  1. Sounds like a great day, very interesting. However, I do have to comment on a few things: One, is that I would not put Anvil in the same category as Slayer or Metallica, and I do not believe anyone has the "right" to be bitter! Even if they were an influence they were not as good. The second comment is more of a question...Why do you think they would not be around any longer if they hit it big? Do you think the "lime light" would have gotten the best of them, or did they simply need to keep chasing a dream? Finally, I got you the coolest gift so you better be at cards Thursday. Hogan

  2. Mr. Hogan...I will be at cards & look forward to the gift.

    I'm not saying that Anvil were better than Metallica or Slayer....certainly not....but they were absolutely an influence on both of those bands.

    But I can see being a little bit bitter....being at the forefront of the speed/thrash metal scene & influencing bands that became huge (and cite you as an influence - both Lars & Tom Araya are featured in the Anvil movie) - but you yourself never got beyond the clubs...well - that could make a band bitter. But - I didn't say they WERE bitter - only that they had a right to be - and I'll stand by that.

    And yes - I think one of the things that has kept Anvil going all this time is the pure love of the music & what they're doing...and had they hit it huge - I'm not sure that they would still be around. This is assuming they were huge for maybe a brief time & then had to go back to slugging it out in the clubs again. That's a transition...a decline...that very few bands can withstand.

    But the fact that they've always been reaching & striving for something...yes....I think that's a big part of what's kept them going - and what will keep them going.

    Of course...this is all just my opinion.

    Glad you made a contribution here!