Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

HEAVY Rotation: Anvil’s “Metal on Metal”

Posted in Heavy Metal, HEAVY Rotation, Music by Jacob Zinn on September 16, 2011

Of all the Canadian heavy metal bands, Anvil is the most respected, but was once the least known.

Singer and guitarist Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner formed the beginnings of Anvil as teenagers in Reiner’s basement. They gained notoriety with their signature song, “Metal on Metal,” off of their 1982 sophomore album of the same name.

They toured the world with Bon Jovi, Scorpions and Whitesnake and outperformed the likes of Metallica and Anthrax. Then they faded into obscurity…

Lips got a 9-to-5 grind driving delivery trucks for Children’s Choice Catering and Reiner took up construction. But in their free time, they kept playing in Anvil, even if that meant performing for empty dive bars.

Anvil Discography

Hard ‘n’ Heavy (1981)
Metal on Metal (1982)
Forged in Fire (1983)
Backwaxed (1985)
Strength of Steel (1987)
Pound for Pound (1988)
Worth the Weight (1992)
Plugged in Permanent (1996)
Absolutely No Alternative (1997)
Speed of Sound (1999)
Anthology of Anvil (2000)
Plenty of Power (2001)
Still Going Strong (2002)
Back to Basics (2004)
This Is Thirteen (2007)
Juggernaut of Justice (2011)


Now we’re getting praise for never selling out and sticking to our guns.

Steve “Lips” Kudlow
Exclaim!, 2010

Their comeback is documented in 2009’s critically acclaimed Anvil! The Story of Anvil by award-winning director and long-time fan, Sacha Gervasi. The film candidly shows the band’s low and high points, following them from crowds you can count on one hand to sold-out, 20,000-person stadiums.

“Now we’re getting praise for never selling out and sticking to our guns,” said Lips of the film’s reception. “It’s a celebration. We got our notoriety on our own terms. We’ve done what we want, not what someone told us to do.”

Lips is no longer the only one who craves “Metal on Metal.” Since the film’s release, Anvil CD sales have increased in their entire back catalogue of alliterary album titles. The band has played such major rock and metal festivals as England’s Download (120,000 in attendance) and Seattle’s Bumbershoot (150,000 in attendance).

They’ve toured smaller venues in the U.S. and Canada, but are now able to make a living off on metal.


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