DATE OF INTERVIEW:
3rd September 2009
STEVE "LIPS" KUDLOW
METAL DISCOVERY: I’m sure you get asked this question many times, but all your album titles, apart from one I think, are all alliterative, even the live and ‘best of’ compilations you get the alliteration in there. Why the alliteration, or has that just become an Anvil gimmick and you don’t want to stray away from that now?
STEVE KUDLOW: We started out…it’s really interesting…before we were Anvil, we were called Lips, and we called our first album ‘Hard ‘N’ Heavy’. They told us to change the name of the band and, when we did, the title of the album made more sense, so we thought geeze, that’s really cool. So the next time, when we were writing, I came up with the riff for ‘Metal on Metal’ and I said “that sounds like a chainsaw on a hunk of metal or something.” And then I said, “maybe that’s metal on metal, it sounds like it”. And then I started singing it and it was as simple as that. That’s alliteration. By the third album, ‘Forged in Fire’, we were looking for anything pertaining to the anvil itself, and we just started working with titles that somehow encapsulated something to do with the anvil, or something to do with the song, and it really just seemed like we started doing that; we never stopped.
(Steve "Lips" Kudlow on Robb Reiner's encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre)
"He’s a doctor of metal! He owns every hard rock album from the 1960s to the end of the ‘90s...ask him the name of a song, ask him the name of a musician…go ask! He has a hundred per cent recall, you know."
PART 3 BELOW
PART 3 ABOVE
Anvil - promo shot, 2007
Photograph copyright © 2007 Ross Halfin
Interview by Mark Holmes
Official Anvil Website:
Official Anvil MySpace:
Hard 'n' Heavy (1981)
Metal on Metal (1982)
Thanks to Heidi Ellen Robinson for arranging the interview.
A huge cheers to Lips for his time.
Forged In Fire (1983)
Strength of Steel (1987)
Pound for Pound (1988)
Past and Present - Live in Concert (1989)
Worth the Weight (1991)
Official Anvil Movie Website:
Plugged in Permanent (1996)
Absolutely No Alternative (1997)
Anthology of Anvil (2000)
Plenty of Power (2001)
Still Going Strong (2002)
Speed of Sound (1998)
Back To Basics (2004)
This Is Thirteen (2007)
MD: It kind of works as a gimmick I guess. Have you started recording tracks for…obviously alliteration again…‘Juggernaut of Justice’ yet, and what can fans expect from Anvil’s music on the new album?
SK: Well, it’s really more defined than we’ve been. I think that, from what I can tell, certainly the arrangements of the songs are a lot more smooth; not as herky-jerky as some of the stuff we’ve done in the past. The fills are extraordinary high energy, like some of it is maybe some of the fastest stuff we’ve ever done but, on the other side of it, the most organised. You know, you can be really fast, that’s okay, but you have some kind of set way of demonstrating this so that it doesn’t get all obscure and tedious to listen to. When you’re playing fast music then you gotta have something that‘s very…like, for me, what the gravitas of it are…is that each thing has to be very unique. There has to be a real good pattern to a song for it to work. And the faster you go, the patterns have to be…because it’s really easy to get lost in that stuff, with a million parts it’s just boring. At the end of the day, it’s just fast for the sake of being fast, but this is more…it’s fast, but it has an organised fashion to it. I don’t know how to explain it better than that. It’s a lot more difficult to play than it will be to listen to. That’s been somewhat of an Anvil thing - it’s pretty easy to listen to our music, but if you actually have to play it and figure it out…fuck! Especially the drumming. [laughs] You know, you forget it, and the way the songs are put together because of the drumming, some of it would be next to impossible to be recreated by anybody. But that’s the beauty of what we’re doing, you see. I was talking to Robb today about…you know, I consider Robb the greatest drummer in the world. He’s a doctor of metal! He owns every hard rock album from the 1960s to the end of the ‘90s.
SK: He has the biggest record collection and, not only that, you ask him who produced…ask him the name of a song, ask him the name of a musician…go ask! He has a hundred per cent recall, you know.
MD: An encyclopaedic knowledge of metal then.
SK: Yeah! You know how people know hockey and every guy on every team?
SK: Well that’s how Robb is with his rock music. It doesn’t matter what band; I’ll go “Spooky Tooth, bass player”, and he’ll tell you the guy’s name. Do you know, it’s like if you want the stats, ask Robb! [laughs]
MD: He’d be good in music quizzes and things like that!
SK: [laughs] But that’s the kind of character we’re talking about. And it’s like I said, if the greatest drummer in the world is in a band and he stays in that band, the band must be pretty good man. You know, like I was saying that to him today, and he’s going…’cause sometimes although he’s always felt it was there since day one, there’s a sense that somebody’s not going to give him a reward…at all times, and he’s always really sensitive, you know. And you can see that even in the movie. You can see that sometimes…you can see that “who’s driving that train?”; it’s almost like “hmmm, I don’t know, I think it’s Lips dude!” [laughs]. He waits for me to do everything! You know what I mean?
MD: That’s quite an endearing thing to watch in the movie. One thing I have to ask you before I wrap up in a minute - you ended up completely naked for the Ross Halfin shoot…was that pre-decided for the photos, or did that just kinda happen?
SK: Fuckin’ Ross Halfin, man! He’s a fuckin’ nut bar!
SK: Yeah, he’s a fuckin’…and he’s…I don’t know, man. In any case, the personal stuff aside, the original pictures from back in the eighties just got done. I mean, I was stupid. I did something stupid, and I actually completely revealed myself. But in Kerrang magazine, they put a little sign over my privates that said “Do Not Disturb!”. But, in eventuality, those pictures, of course, surfaced when Sacha asked him if he could use it in the movie. So that’s how that came to pass. It was the only thing I’m not very happy with…[laughs] The new picture, at least, the one we did for the actual movie, at least with the guitar.
MD: Exactly. Finally, what words of wisdom can you offer to readers of Metal Discovery for anyone chasing their own dream?…I guess I’m after some kind of motivational speech now like you were talking about!
SK: To ever get anywhere in the music business, you gotta create the songs that no-one else can create but you. That’s what you gotta do, and then you have a chance.
MD: Good answer. Right, it’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you.
SK: Great man.
MD: Thank you so much for you time.
SK: Okay, thank you man.
MD: Okay, and you’re over here in the UK in November, aren’t you, supporting Saxon.
SK: Yeah, that’s right.
MD: I’m gonna try and get out to the Rock City show in Nottingham, so hopefully catch you live very soon.
SK: Right on man, I hope to see you there.
MD: Definitely. Cheers very much indeed.
SK: Okay man, you take care.
MD: You too. Bye.