Who hasn’t heard of Anvil by now? Two years ago, the documentary about the metal band became the hottest thing since sliced bread, and the whole world learned about this band from Canada that just wouldn’t give up on their dream.
A lot of people had never heard of Anvil before the movie, and probably checked out the movie thinking, “oh how cute, a real life Spinal Tap.”
Through the movie, the band got more publicity than it ever got in its entire career, to the point where I got fed up with seeing them everywhere, and had discussions with friends about a ton of other bands that never got their due they could also make movies about. Venom, Raven, and Armored Saint are just a few that come to mind.
Reports on Blabbermouth, which is considered the CNN of metal news, indicate the band is finally now able to make ends meet. There was also another sign they moved up the ladder: They started hearing from people who weren’t in touch for years when the band was nowhere. Lead singer Steve “Lips” Kudlow even met Paul McCartney, and Paul knew who he was: “Lips, how’s it going? We rocking tonight?”
It may not seem like that big of a deal to many people that a band is making ends meet, but it’s really very hard for a band to make a living off their music. Major success, mansions and limos? We’ve seen enough episodes of Cribs to think it happens every day, but it’s truly very rare, a lot rarer than you think.
Again, part of the message that the Anvil movie, and a movie about the even more obscure band Pentagram, is try to hang around long enough to see your dream come true, because it probably won’t happen right away. Hopefully if you’re lucky enough to build up a catalog of albums, and new generations discover your music, it may finally happen if you can hang in there long enough.
One of the truest lessons I learned when writing a book about metal, Bang Your Head, came from Jon Sutherland, a veteran journalist who went above and beyond the call of duty to help me, and who also turned me on to how great Thin Lizzy is.
Like Jon used to tell me, a lot of people think when you make it, the rest of your life you’re on easy street. The truth is, when you make it, that’s when the real work starts.