Interview w/ Lips and Robb Reiner of Anvil January 31st at the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville PA
RN: Even though you have been making albums and have never stopped, before the movie most people either never heard of Anvil or thought you guys broke up a long time ago. How has life changed since the release of the movie “The Story Of Anvil”?
Lips: That might be true about America but not around the rest of the world. In Europe we have had a cult following for over 30 years.
Robb: In America we have been obscure. That’s true. But the movie introduced the brand name Anvil to America more than ever. Sure there are people who still don’t know who we are but it has been an ongoing discovery process for the last four years. All of our records are being released again and people can buy all our records now. We are there to be found now. If you look for us you can find us. All that obscurity is going away.
RN: How does it make you feel knowing that a lot of metal bands look up to you guys? Sighting Anvil as an influence. Metallica being one of them.
Robb: Well, we are responsible for pioneering a certain kind of sound.
Lips: We all pay homage to the guy ahead of you in line. That’s what it’s about. For instance Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Montrose and all the stuff that happened in the 70’s we were more attached to that than Metallica was. Metallica was a little younger than us. So what they did was look at us and said “Hey that’s really cool. What can we do that’s like that”? That’s what you do. I looked at Black Sabbath and said “what can I do to be like that“? Each band inspires the next. We are all connected one way or another. We all have gotten to know each other through the years.
It’s not like it was a surprise to us. These guys have been coming to our shows and have been our friends for years. Than someone would say why didn’t they help you? People forget this is a business. You can’t just say these are my friends and I’m going to help them. If the world really worked like that it would be a better place. At the end of the day everybody is out for them selves. It’s about making yourself successful. Not worrying about everybody else’s success but worrying about your own. So when it comes to business if one of those big bands wants to take Anvil out, they have a manager to answer to and a crew of business people to answer to. Than they say why Anvil when we can hire this other band that can bring this to the table. Either they are going to pay a buy on or they are worth more ticket sales.
Robb: Anvil’s marquee value is much bigger now. So maybe someday one of those bands might want to take us out. Because business wise it will make sense. But we are not going to worry about it. We don’t care and we never did. We are going to do our own thing anyway. We are not sitting around saying why won’t they help us.
Lips: We never did. We never begrudged them for their success either.
RN: How about you guys taking newer bands out with you?
Lips: Our emails are inundated by 100s of bands hoping we will help them. Now how do you do that? If you bring another brand name out with you they need to get paid. How does a promoter off set that. If a promoter hires two brand names than you have to pay twice as much. Are there going to be twice as many people at the show? You don’t know. So you go out and they want local openers. This gives bands in the area an opportunity to play. So if we took bands that are going out to clubs like we are anyway as support bands, than we are taking away from the bands the really need the help so in a way its better to leave well enough alone. Let the promoters decide who is going to open.
Robb: Brand name bands have an audience. And that audience is worth money. Now if we take a band out with us night after night and give that audience to that band, that band is taking a percentage of that audience away from us.
Lips: When we go out with another band, the manager of that other band is watching our merchandise sales. And they look at every t-shirt we sell as a sale their band is not getting. You get that kind of shit all the time. You name it all kinds of shit gets thrown at you.
Robb: It’s all really about making it work behind the scenes. When we get the bigger shows we do them and they are real beneficial to us. We get great exposure from them. When we played with AC/DC that was great. We got to play for an hour in front of 50,000 people in one shot. It was AC/DC fans. It was major exposure because we played in front of their crowd. And we made some fans out of that. We did 3 shows with them it was great.
RN: I wanted to ask about (Bass Player) Glenn Five’s departure from the band and the addition of Sal Italiano?
Robb: There is no real big thing to talk about. It was an over due change. Anvil is sitting right here.
Lips: It’s just the sound of a bass. What’s more important is who that person is rather that what ability he is bringing because I’m doing all the writing anyway so what’s the difference?
Robb: It was an over due change that just finally came to be. Sal is working out great. This is really going good. We just want to take our time.
Lips: This is only the third gig Sal has done with us. Is he here permanently? I don’t know.
Robb: We are going to do the tour and talk and see how things go. We are not in a hurry. We are going to do things different. It’s all about making a really good fit. The other guy was a good fit but he was not the best fit. There’s not much more to say about it. Everything is good.
RN: What is going on after this tour ends?
Robb: We are going to make a new album.
Lips: We will start writing in August after the Juggernaut touring cycle ends.
Robb: Start writing in August and start recording next year. We are going to take some time off because we have not had any time off then start writing.
Lips: We have not had any time off. The time off we had, we spent sorting out a new bass player. Come New Years Eve our bass player tells us he is not coming on the road and we are leaving on the 26th of January. So we came home from touring with Saxon and we had to start looking for a new bass player. We have been busy nonstop.
RN: How did the Juggernaut Of Justice album do?
Robb: Real well. I would say it’s one of our best selling albums in many years.
Lips: We have been on tour a year and a half nonstop. I would say it did real good.
RN: After all these years what keeps you guys going?
Robb: The drive and the passion to rock.
Lips: We have been deprivated for over 20 years having the United States being dangled in front of our nose. And every time you want to take a bite it’s pulled further away. You never get to go down there you never get to play.
Robb: We have American managers. We have American agents. We have an American record company. We are Americanized now. So now we come here and play when ever we can. Big places or small places it does not matter what level we do it. Most people have never seen Anvil here in America. Now they can get the chance to do it.
Lips: Finally it took 30 years. So you ask where the hunger comes from. When you have that shit going on you get hungry man.
RN: Is there anything you guys want to plug before we wrap it up?
Robb: The Anvil Metal Pounders Union. It’s our fan club. It’s a life time thing. You join up and you become part of the union. It’s a metal family community. It’s kind of interesting everyone shares their love of metal.
Lips: It’s more than just a fan club. It’s a metal family. Everybody has to have their picture taken to be part of it. Your membership is validated with your card. So it’s displayed to all the other members so we all get to know one another visually and not just a code number. It’s amazing. What your card does it gets you privileges. We pick number in every city and if your number gets pulled you get put on the guest list along with other things.
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