Heavy Metal Blogs:
Interview w/ Lips of ANVIL
August 4, 2009
WLM: Lips you are on with JB Martell, Vince Steele, and Heavy Metal Momma of welovemetal.com. How are things going
Lips: Amazing! In one word amazing. Miraculous in another word. (laughs)
WLM: Were just a Metal site that doesn't claim to be anything but fans that write for fans. We are based in the Maritimes Canada and the Metal scene has exploded out here on the East Coast, so were pretty honoured to talk to you because you documentary is a big reason why people are starting to get back into Metal.
Lips: I'm really glad to hear you say that. I hoped it would be and if its perceived as being that way then I guess some more of my hopes have come to pass.
WLM: We know your very busy but we have a couple of questions for you if you have time
WLM: A sort of off the wall questions, but what is a question you would like to be asked that has never been asked of you
Lips: I don't think there's any questions left.
WLM: So you've had quite a few then and had to answer them all. (laughter)
Lips: Literally thousands and thousands of questions.
WLM: In the documentary Lips you are very passionate and emotional and it appears to us you are really like that. Is that what your like in real life
Lips: Its extraordinarily accurate, the only thing that is edited is most of my despair. You know what I mean, they got rid of some of the negative side. The side that is in constant worry. The level of worry is not always depicted but is extremely prevalent in real life. But in every other aspect is extremely accurate with the stuff that really happened.
WLM: What kind of music have you guys been listening to Is there anything new that you have tried
Lips: I generally live in my own little world where I listen to the same music over and over again. Its pretty much what you grew up with and that's in everyone. Every once in a while something newer creeps in. You drive in your car and listen to the radio, but to me there is only two kinds of music, good and bad. Its doesn't even matter which genre it is, if its something that catches my ear, well… it caught my ear.
Also meeting some of these big bands and celebrities has led me to be inquisitive enough to try to find out who and what they do. Once such example would be Chris Martin of Coldplay. He made himself known to me in a very honest way, he's a really nice guy.
There's a hotel in NYC we stay in one of the guys Johnny (who is pictured in the Rolling Stones article) said "come on man, I want you to meet a couple of my friends." He sits me down beside Chris and Jay-Z. Your going to have to understand I'm Lips and I haven't a bloody clue what the fuck is up. I don't even know who these guys really are. No clue right So I'm introduced to these guys Chris and Jay. (laughter) Then someone on Jay-Z's entourage sits down and starts talking about commercial music and whats good and whats bad. Then he starts calling Chris Martin, Mr. Coldplay, Mr. Coldplay. Then I realize Oh My God, but it was really bizarre.
Then after that he (Martin) is right on to "Your never going to like what I do." So I felt I should listen to it and I can't help but see the person in his music. With that, even if I was critical I couldn't dislike it.
WLM: "This is Thirteen" is being redistributed by VH1 Classics we have learned. Congratulations.
Lips: That's right its absolutely incredible, extraordinary. I'm actually quite blown away. I mean a lot of this has been a complete and utter world wind turn around and is not a question of deserving or not deserving, things happen and they can happen for either the good or the bad. Everything is a fifty-fifty split, I'm holding my breath hoping that everything is ok at all turns. As you get bigger and more exciting more people get involved and all those people have to get along and it becomes much more complicated situation as you go along.
I'm much more congradulative to the bands that have made it because I see much clearer now what they are persevering. If people think its difficult for ANVIL based on what they see in that movie, they couldn't imagine the insurmountable stresses of what it means to be a really big band.
WLM: Your finding out quickly aren't you
Lips: Yes I am. You know man its quite extraordinary instead of having a supplementary job. I've gone from getting up and going to my job to the complete other side where I don't have a free minute. I just trying to explain it on a human level so you get some kind of idea of what I'm talking about… about what has changed.
You know what has changed is I'm not getting up at 5:30 and going to my job. I'm getting up at 6:30 maybe and getting on the telephone.
WLM: Which we appreciate by the way.
Lips: On the road, and going on in the Hotel rooms after you've played the night before and you went to sleep at 4 in the morning and your up basically four hours later. I'm not saying that's what happened in this case, but I'm just explaining the other side. By 7 in the morning a car is there to take you to radio shows. It has become utterly time consuming situation up to the eyeballs and beyond. And to be really truthfully honest I couldn't be happier.
WLM: Juggernaut of Justice (new album), how far along are you guys Has it kind of been put on the backburner
Lips: I would say it has to be because there is so much discovery yet to happen with the album that we made during the movie. The movie is just coming out on DVD.
WLM: That's just for our own curiosity.
Lips: Its interesting that you mentioned that because of course everyone wants to know about the future and the natural progression. Of course the album is pre-written because I knew it better get worked on, because I knew… There is an incredible part of intuition in me that's been going on for about five or six years now. And I kind of knew it was coming, it was right on the cusp of it. So nothing that is happening right now is of a surprise. I know that sounds like an odd thing to say but…
Sasha didn't believe me when I said it. When he sat me down on his uncles couch in LA after reuniting with me he came up here to Toronto to his uncles place where we all met. You see that's how we got to know each other. Sasha was originally from England but he had an uncle here in Toronto that he would come to visit. Initially we met backstage at the Marquee club in London. He took us around London and then we find out he has family in Canada so he starts visiting us. He becomes our drum roadie because he's a drummer you see.
Then he grows up to become this screenwriter. We meet him in LA and explain everything about ANVIL and how were still trying to make it. He was like, this guys nuts but he's passionate so we have to make a movie about him. So he sat me down at his Uncle Marty's and as soon as he told me his idea I could see the finished product and my actual words were "Oh so that's what my 30 years meant, so that's how I make it." Sasha kind of looked at me really weird and then I started crying because I couldn't hold back the emotion. I realized in an instance what that meant.
I mean, this was a movie about a celebration of a band that has lasted basically 36 years.
WLM: That is a long haul.
Lips: Making a movie about something that is about passion to stay at it. How could that go wrong It was related to every artist that ever existed. It's a total struggle, a real depiction of the struggle. Its not talked about after the fact, its as it happens and it has a much more powerful effect then hearing one of our big time rockstars sitting and telling you how it used to be, when he is sitting on a posh beautiful environment. Its really hard for any of us to relate to that. When you actually see it hands on it has a completely different effect. People will now understand what it takes for their favourite bands to get their music into the hands of their fans. I think it's a real pure story because its not created by the industry or anything to do with that. It has to do with a fan, nothing could be more pure then that. A fan that grew up with a band like we did, for me it was Black Sabbath or Deep Purple, for Sasha it was Anvil, Motorhead, or Iron Maiden. So to him he's in a position to go back to one of his early influences like that he was empowered. Its incredible and the level of access that occurred during the making of this movie can never happen again.
You have to understand anything can happen in a two and half year period, but will they be the right things to happen. If you can steer it and do everything you possible can then my intention and agenda was to stand up and get counted, were having a film made about us and anybody in their right mind would think the same way.
So when Sasha suggested we have a theme of a cycle. When he sat me down on the couch there was no gig in Japan so the will and desire had to be there. So just to explain, how do you get that last shot. Shasha said the film would start at your highest point first time round and were going to end up back there. How are we going to do this
The extreme of coincidences became so overwhelming they were no longer coincidences. We started recognizing it as some kind of force. I'm just giving you the inside on this. It was very odd, we had some extraordinary circumstances that could not be explained.
First of all we had a discussion in Rob's driveway about Cactus and Rob's love of them. So six months later at the Sweden Rock Festival I found myself meeting Carmen Appice. The intensity of that was overwhelming. The reason I could get him on film was I had only met him the day before, but this second time I was empowered cause I had a camera. If you know rockstars as soon as they see a camera they click on. I'm part of that world and love it and understand it. I was so destined to meet him in the first place. That say I was carrying my guitar case out of this hotel and for some reason the doors open out. The door opens and hits my guitar case and there Carmen standing there. I start flipping out and telling him how much my drummer loves his music and how much Cactus I have listened to my whole life. I just knew this was the moment. The next day we had Andrew our photographer with us and Carmen just walks by so I start that conversation with him, not about how much I love Cactus, but about where I actually first saw him person to person. You don't realize the people watching the movie finally realize that he played in Cactus. There was foreshadowing everywhere.
Also a week before we were supposed to record with CT the location was changed. We arrived in England we had to help finish the studio which was fascinating, but whats more fascinating in they were filming me in my parents condo we were talking about a painting on the wall that is of the Cliffs of Dover and there was a man standing right on the cliff sort of up the hill looking at the English Channel. The interviewer asked what I liked about the painting so much. I said its painted in the 1800s and its just always been my favourite painting and I wished I could always stand on the Cliffs of Dover. So I pulled the painting off the wall to get a better look and the nail fell so I'm like ok. My Dad had passed away and I thought I shouldn't have touched that, but I looked for the nail on a clean hardwood floor and couldn't find it. I had to put a new nail in and I thought something just happened there. I end up getting the directions to this bus stop called Teal and I don't know where that is. I just get on a train and a taxi picks us up an takes us to the cabins and G5 goes out and comes back and shows me his camera with a picture of the painting. I start flipping out, hairs on arms is standing up. I run out to look and it turns out my bedroom window is on the English Channel and the view is the same even though the painting is from the 1800s.
All kinds of weird spiritual things happened that were reoccurring. Such as the recording of "This is 13" my sister came to visit and we weren't able to hook up. Turns out over the next two years my sister came to London one day after us and we still were unable to meet up. I don't know what that means but it must be something. Its just weird stuff man.
WLM: August 6, Thursday your opening for AC/DC in Moncton NB. Its only about three hours from us so were certainly going to be there. Whats it like, I mean their the biggest show in the world right now.
Lips: I would say this is going to be the largest of shows I've done since the Donnington Festival in 1982. Monsters of Rock, there was about 60000 people there.
WLM: They are expecting close to 80000 Maritimers there so that makes about 160000 regular folks.
Lips: Absolutely, its going to be incredible.
WLM: A lot of questions we get locally are about reissues of Metal on Metal and Forged in Fire.
Lips: Those albums are now available to in record stores in Canada. The first three albums are definitely available.
We are just trying to let as many people know about us as possible to help write the epilogue of the movie. The best way to support us is to buy a record from us directly. Even with the record deal we are going to leave that option open. It won't have the recording of "Thumb Hang", but its cool for people to know that Rob's wife mailed it to you from the post office. You can get to it through www.anvilmetal.com and pay with PayPal.
I find the business side of it extraordinarily annoying, but it's the only way we can pay off our bills. As much as I would love to give it away.
WLM: What kind of demand do you find CT is in since "This is Thirteen"
Lips: I think he's getting a lot more respect. Its well deserved. People don't realize the depth that his man possesses. He has continued not unlike ANVIL. Most of the producers from his era are out to pasture. Where are you going to find a producer that really knows how to record the original style of Metal. It's a good question. There are only a couple left. CT's credentials speak for themselves, I mean Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest and others. I think what happens is the world looks for things and new and promising things and sometimes forgets about the old and great things. I believe if you persist you will get the respect you deserve.
WLM: You certainly are.
Lips: Its not just for me. Bands like Raven, Saxon, there still going and still playing.
Lips: Also let me tell you the AC/DC guys are the nicest. They weren't even mentioned in the movie and they stepped up for us. What more can be said. They were the first guys to step forward. Its incredible. It's a weird time man, feels like I've already been through it.
The most rewarding thing is this will be the largest show I have ever done and its taking place in Canada. Honestly that's the strangest justice I've ever heard of because it's the most unlikely. The real truth is ANVIL's existence is totally a result of European markets. This kept ANVIL alive because we were virtually unheard of in Canada and the United States.
This will be significant because everywhere I am outside of Canada I have a Canadian tee shirt. I'm a proud Canadian.
WLM: Well we've gone over our time so we want to thank you so much and tell you how much we are looking forward to the performance on Thursday at Magentic Hill.
Lips: Well I want to thank you guys for helping me in Canada. Its awesome man.
WLM: Look for our fists in the air in Moncton.
Lips: Take care guys. It's a real privledge.
We Love Metal Team