ANVIL Frontman: ‘I’m Addicted To The Endorphins That Are Released When I Play Live’

Kelly Dearmore of recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Steve “Lips” Kudlow of Canadian metal legends ANVIL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. When ANVIL started, metal was new. Now, there are so many different types of metal. What do you think of that evolution?
Lips: Initially, it was all hard rock or heavy rock. Around 1980, it started getting called metal and heavy metal. At that point, there was really only that one kind of heavy metal, and it encapsulated a wide range of sounds. As time went along, a hundred different types of metal popped up. At one point, you could put a ballad on a metal album, along with a fast, brutal song and also a bludgeoning, slow stomper and it was all cool. Now, it’s really uncool to do that. Now, so many records sound the same, every song is the same, the singing is often the same. There’s no bloody melody, no real rhythm. Why is that? It’s like, if you get commercial success, you can’t be metal anymore. If a song gets popular, it’s no longer metal – you sold out. It’s just human nature to try and categorize and pigeonhole everything. That’s all it is. In the documentary [“Anvil! The Story Of Anvil”], both you and Robb [Reiner, drums] worked day jobs. When you’re recovering at home between tours, you don’t still have to go punch in somewhere, do you?

Lips: No day jobs, man. That finished a couple of years ago. We’ve been so busy touring, what job would keep us around? We had the material for the [2011 album] “Juggernaut Of Justice” ready for two years before we got around to recording it, because of our busy tour schedule. The essence of what we do points towards playing live. I play gigs.That’s what I do. If I’m not playing gigs, I feel awful. After coming home from a tour, sure, I’m tired. But after a night or two of sleeping in my own bed, I’m ready to go again. I’m addicted to the endorphins that are released when I play live. I need that and I get used to that after a month of playing live on the road. Could there be an ANVIL without you and Robb together?

Lips: No. The simple answer is no. It will always have to be both of us, and there are a hundred and one reasons why. We started to play together in 1973, and we were inseparable. Also, I have a complete love and understanding for the drums. I’m the perfect guitar player for a drummer because I know what he’s always doing. Robb always knows what I’m doing, too. Our musical vocabulary is virtually identical. We’ll put songs together by simply discussing them. We’ve written songs on the way to rehearsal before, just by talking about it. Only we understand that vocabulary. How do you separate that? If I go anywhere, I take my voice and guitar with me and I’m still the guy from ANVIL. Why bother leaving where I came from, because it will always be me. Robb will never have a circumstance where he can have the influence and understanding that I provide for him.The main currency of ANVIL is drumming. ANVIL is about drumming. I write songs to accentuate drums, because I’ve got a great drummer. It’s about acceptance. Acceptance of the good and the bad.

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