Anvil! The Story of Anvil


Nothing like an awesome repetative title! Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a little documentary currently playing at the Tivoli. Adrienne and I went to see it last night, and I must say, it was everything I hoped it would be.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I go through frequent phases in both films and in life. Right now I’m in a rock documentary phase, particularly those of the late 60’s and early 70’s. This started with Gimmie Shelter in Film Appreciation, and has now branched out quite a bit. Anvil has the appeal that every rock documentary should have, except it explores the underground heavy metal scene that apparently is still going strong…particularlly in Japan and parts of Europe.

The film follows the story of Anvil, particularly “Lips” the lead singer, and his best friend Robb (drummer) who founded the band when they were fourteen. Anvil was a huge influence to other metal bands in the 80’s. They toured with bands like Anthrax and Megadeath, both of which went on to sell millions of albums. For whatever reason, and no one knows why, Anvil never made it as big as the bands they inspired. They went from playing to crowds of thousands, to delivering cafeteria food back home in Canada.

The film begins shortly before Lips celebrates his 50th birthday. The band hasn’t died yet, but at this point it’s in a comotose state. Anvil! The Story of Anvil documents the group’s last-chance Euorpean tour, and the release of their 13th album “This is Thirteen.” It’s an entertaining story, mostly due to the fact that the main subjects are artistic and emotional middle-aged men who have been playing together for thirty-six years. I found myself cheering for these guys as they fought to record their album, survivie their jobs, and try to make their dreams come true.

Overall, I liked the focus of this film. It showed the heart of the band, while not taking itself too seriously. Filmmaker Sacha Gervasi was a huge Anvil fan as a kid, and even went on tour with them at 16. However, he does a good job making the film appeal to those of us that aren’t metal fans. It’s less about the music, and more about the relationship between Lips and Robb, and how the band affects their grown-up lives. I thought it was pretty sweet…although Adrienne and I were both relieved after watching this film that neither of us are dating guys in bands…phew.


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