Anvil’s Story Rocks On: Band Hits the Studio, Nabs Slash for Book
The improbable comeback story of Canadian metallists Anvil continues to get, well, more probable. On the strength of the much-talked-about Sacha Gervasi-directed rock doc Anvil! The Story of Anvil, the group — which is led by original members Lips (vocals/guitars) and Robb Reiner (drums) — will be opening a handful of U.S. stadium dates for AC/DC this summer via a personal invite from Angus Young (the tour blasted off last night — read our opening-night report here). And in addition to VH1 Classic Records reissuing their 2007 release, This is Thirteen on September 15th, a DVD version of Anvil! The Story of Anvil will arrive shortly thereafter.
It also turns out that the lads are currently re-recording several Anvil classics with producer Chris Tsangarides, which will be included on a forthcoming Anvil! soundtrack. “What happened was the label that owns the old material wanted so much money to license the songs, that it became ridiculous,” explains Lips. “In fact, it was far cheaper to go in and re-record in the same studio [Phase One], with the same producer, and re-do the songs. The new version of ‘Forged in Fire’ is amazing — I think the original version was played too fast. Remarkably, we’re getting a second chance to record the songs.”
Other freshly re-recorded tunes are “Winged Assassins,” “March of the Crabs,” and “School Love.” “It’s going to be a true Best of Anvil, in a way,” adds Reiner. These sessions also included the never-before-recorded “Thumb Hang,” which will be featured as a bonus track on the forthcoming This is Thirteen CD reissue. Also forthcoming will be an all-new studio album, Juggernaut of Justice, which has been completely written, but not yet recorded (for which Tsangarides may once again produce).
Also recently released is an Anvil book, also titled Anvil! The Story of Anvil, and includes a foreword by a longtime Anvil admirer, Slash (check out footage of Slash rocking out with Anvil here). “Whatever the movie doesn’t have, the book does — all the back history,” says Lips. “It’s a pretty compelling read — it has lots of stories in it.” Reiner was willing to give some more info on the book — sort of. “This is a book that Lips and I wrote with a ghostwriter, it’s basically everything the movie is, and more. It tells way more stuff in detail about the earlier years. It fills in all the holes the movie may leave you feeling. The book covers all that. And it has a few revealing moments… but I can’t reveal that.”
When pressed to choose a standout story from the book, Reiner recalls a tour with Boston’s finest, circa early 1983. “The Aerosmith tour, I think we did like 14 dates. We were playing like an hour — in front of Aerosmith fans who had no idea who we were. What was wild about it was as we’re playing and rocking out, the tour manager indicates to us, ‘You have to play longer — we can’t get Steven Tyler out of bed!’ And here we are, we have to play in front of a crowd that basically had enough of us [laughs]. It’s like, “You guys are good and we’re really digging it… but can you get the hell off the stage?” That went on a lot.”
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And lastly, has anyone offered to purchase Reiner’s paintings, and particularly, the “poo-poo painting” (as hilariously documented in the film)? “Absolutely,” says the painter/drummer. “I’ve been solicited endlessly for that, but I’m not selling them. Because I don’t want to. I currently have an art exhibition going on at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery in Calgary. They’ve had 12 paintings sitting there for a couple of months. The reason why I don’t want to sell them is I paint for myself, it’s enjoyment. If I started selling them, it would be like work.”
• The Smoking Section Meets Anvil