“When you follow your dreams, it’s about sacrifice. For me, it’s about doing what you love. Money is only there to use for your survival so that you can eat and have a place to live and have luxury, I suppose. It doesn’t fulfil your life.”
Heavy metal legends Anvil play at the Astor Lounge on Thursday, November 6. SHANE PINNEGAR finds that if frontman/guitarist Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow ever decides to pack it in, he might have a promising career as an inspirational speaker ahead of him.
One of the bands which helped create the thrash and speed metal sound, Anvil struggled to be noticed after their third album, but never gave up.
Thirty one years after their debut album, they’re now touring in support of their 15th LP, Hope In Hell. 2009’s documentary movie about the band, The Story Of Anvil, brought the name Anvil out of heavy metal obscurity and into the mainstream – as much (if not more) for Kudlow’s relentless passion, self-belief and positivity, as for their music.
“In a certain sense, I’ve become famous more-so for my attitude than I am for my music,” Kudlow admits cheerfully. “The response we got after the movie was a phenomenon. It’s unbelievable. I would say, literally thousands, thousands, endless people of all walks of life and dreams and desires telling us that they watch the Anvil movie whenever they lose their faith or their hope in themselves to re-inspire themselves to go back at it. We’re going, ‘really?’
“We don’t get it. This is what we do, and what we’ve always done, and what we’ll do until the day we die. We don’t view it as being that inspiring. If I got a penny for every person that told me that I’ve inspired them, I’d be a billionaire. I just do what I do. I’m living my life. If that’s inspiring, okay.
“When you follow your dreams, it’s about sacrifice. For me, it’s about doing what you love. Money is only there to use for your survival so that you can eat and have a place to live and have luxury, I suppose. It doesn’t fulfil your life.
“I just don’t see that. I gravitate towards the things that are fulfilling. I want to leave a mark in this world. I want to have made a difference.”
Despite not ever making it to the big, big time, Kudlow seems very happy and proud of his life’s work.
“No question about it,” he says enthusiastically. “Success is about doing what you love and getting away with it so I’ve had a very, very successful life. A very, very successful music career because I’ve gotten away with it 15 times – 15 albums doing what I love. Not being told what to do, or how to do it, or when to do it. That’s pretty successful. That’s the way I look at it. It’s not about how many records you sold, it has nothing to do with it. It’s about, ‘what did you bring to the world?’ I’ve brought them, so far, 15 albums worth of material. I’ve written more songs together with Rob (Reiner, Anvil drummer/co-founder) than Paul McCartney and John Lennon did. It doesn’t mean I’ll be as famous or anything, but that’s not what I’m saying.
“I’ve really come to realise that every moment that you get to be here, you should really strive to be as excellent as you can. It’s just being about being the best you can and being appreciated, is the bottom line. That’s all it is.”