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At age 14, Toronto school friends Steve Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock together forever. Forming their band Anvil, they went on to become the demi-gods of Canadian metal with their acclaimed 1982 album Metal on Metal. The album influenced a generation of rockers that included Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, but despite their notoriety, Anvil quickly slipped from the limelight and into obscurity. Almost 30 years later, Lips and Robb continue to chase their dream. This behind-the-scenes autobiography follows the ups and down of the duo’s career and their volatile friendship, reveals their dedication and unadulterated passion for their music, and leaves no stone unturned along their last-ditch quest for fame and fortune. Based on Sacha Gervasi's award-winning film of the same name, this hilarious yet poignant account is a reminder that dreams really can come true.
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Anvil are Steve 'Lips' Kudlow, Robb Reiner and Glenn 'G5' Gyorffy. They are currently working on their fourteenth album.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
1 ON THE BRINK
ROBB: Walking offstage at the Civic Center at Glens Falls, I punched the air. We'd smoked them. An Aerosmith audience that had come to see their classic rock heroes had been turned over by Anvil, an obscure heavy metal band from Toronto. They'd never even heard of us, but we'd won them 'round. We'd fucking triumphed.
Backstage, a tall slim guy, very Jewish, with big hands, brown eyes and a scrambled way of speaking, was waiting: David Krebs, the man who discovered AC/DC and Aerosmith. The manager of Ted Nugent, Def Leppard and the Scorpions. The man we needed to impress.
"How d'you boys think it went?"
"Amazing, man!" I was stoked. "Fucking unbelievable. The people loved us. We kicked ass."
Krebs appeared blown away. "You were hot, but you might have had good luck tonight. I'm gonna come and see you tomorrow night."
Twenty-four hours to prepare to blow Krebs out of the arena for a second time. Then he might come good on the deal he'd been promising since he first made contact. A fortnight earlier, we'd been working in the studio on Forged In Fire, our third album. I'd taken the call.
"Hey, man, I hear you guys are the real deal."
At the time, I couldn't believe it. David Krebs. Mr. Mega. From New York. Spitting words down the line like a machine gun firing bullets. Fuck.
"I hear you guys are the future of metal."
I turned to Lips, standing beside me, guitar in hand. "Brother, it's the big boy." I cupped the phone. "It's Krebs. Leber and fucking Krebs, man."
Lips's eyes widened. Leber and Krebs was the biggest music management company in New York. "Man...no way."
To say I was stoked to hear from Krebs would be an understatement. I was fucking awed. A powerful big-time manager interested in us? We were Anvil, four young guys from Toronto who were gaining a reputation as the heaviest rockers -- and hardest party animals -- on the metal circuit, but to most of the world we were unknown. Maybe our years of playing five sets a night, seven nights a week, in the bars and clubs of Quebec, Ontario and New York would now pay off. Maybe the buzz on the street and our rise over the last year -- playing the Monsters of Rock festival at Donnington and the Marquee Club in London, blowing Iron Maiden and Motörhead off the stage on support tours -- had at last caught the attention of a man who could really make it happen on a global scale for us. Maybe.
"I want to see your band. Ross Halfin and Doug Thaler tell me you're the next big thing. They say I should check you guys out. They say you're fucking great."
Ross was a legendary heavy metal photographer and Doug was a well-known manager who had just signed Mötley Crüe. Cool endorsements indeed.
"How can I see you? Where are you playing? I want to meet you guys."
Looking at Lips in the hope he might have an answer, I hissed an urgent request. "Dates?"
Lips shrugged. No luck.
"Mr. Krebs, sir. We don't have any dates lined up."
This didn't sound good. We had no gigs because we had no management and because we were in the middle of recording.
"You know what?" said Krebs. "I'm going to give you guys a week with Aerosmith. You can open for them. And I'll come and see you."
The bad boys from Boston were the biggest band in America. Although on the slide from their 1970s peak, Aerosmith in 1983 were still an amazing live draw with an awesome front man in Steven Tyler. I was blown away.
"You can open for my boys here in America at the Spectrum in Philly and in Canada at the Forum. I want to see you guys on a big stage and then we'll talk."
The line went dead and I told the band -- Lips, Dave "Squirrely" Allison our rhythm guitarist and Ian "Dix" Dickson our bassist -- the news. They went mad.
"This is it," said Lips. "Like...fuck."
We'd been building up to this moment for six years with Squirrely and Dix. Lips and I had been playing together for longer, ever since the day more than a decade ago when as young teenagers we'd vowed we'd rock together forever. And now the Big Opportunity had come.
That night we walked onto the stage at the Civic Center in front of thousands of Aerosmith fans. Few of them knew us and even fewer wanted to hear our set. We knew it was going to be tough. These guys had come to see a classic rock band and we were a heavy metal act. Barely a murmur of applause greeted the end of our first song, but at least we hadn't been booed off the stage. Dressed in a bondage harness, Lips worked a storm at the front. Squirrely, the Kevin Bacon of metal, performed his usual role of flaunting his pretty-boy looks and leaving his trousers undone to catch the attention of the chicks. Dix was Dix, reliable and hard-working on his bass. And I was at the back: Robbo, the greatest drummer of my generation.
By the end of our half-hour set, the audience had come around. They didn't love us, but they didn't hate us and we got an awesome cheer as we took our bow. It was enough to convince Krebs we had promise, but he wanted to check tonight's performance wasn't some flash in the pan.
The next night we played the Broome County Arena, a large ice-hockey venue at Binghamton, New York. We were just as good, if not better. Krebs was there again and we smoked him. We were living up to the legend of Anvil.
"You guys could have been lucky again tonight." Krebs was checking us out and he liked what he saw, but guys like him don't make hasty decisions. "I'm gonna come and see you one more time. This time it'll be in Philly."
We played two more dates with Aerosmith. The War Memorial Auditorium at Syracuse went well and the Forum in Montreal was almost a home crowd for us. Then we traveled to Philadelphia, where we had two nights off before the big one at the Spectrum. With two nights to kill, we did what every selfrespecting metal band would do. We partied. Big time.
In those days we had a pretty full entourage. Roadies, friends, a few fans and of course the groupies. Chris Tsangarides, who was producing our album in Toronto when the call came from Krebs, came along for the ride and to help sell our merchandise at the gigs. As usual we were staying in some cheap shithole hotel, all of us squeezed into two double rooms, me and Squirrely in the party room, Lips and Dix in the quiet room. Meanwhile, Aerosmith were jetting in a few hours before the gig and arriving in limos. They were rock stars on a whole other plateau. We were dreaming of becoming them.
I was sitting with CT, drinking, talking and partying in Lips's room with a bunch of people. Every now and then our nice quiet party would be disturbed by a bunch of guys and chicks getting up to go into the other room. We all knew what that meant, but CT was oblivious. He had produced albums for Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy, but he had never been out with a band like Anvil before. This quietly spoken Greek-Cypriot Brit had never seen road antics.
"CT." I got up and gestured at the door. "I am going to show you the shit that happens on the road."
Me and Lips took CT into the other room. It was dark, but we could still kind of see what was going on. Two girls were naked on the bed and there were guys all around, maybe five or six. It was an orgy.
"You like it when I finger you, doncha, bitch," said a male voice from among the heap of bodies.
There was a short pause while the chick in question emptied her mouth. "Yeah...you bet."
Beside me, CT was losing it, giggling uncontrollably because he was so uncomfortable. I took him out into the corridor to cool down.
"I've never seen anything like this before." CT was shaking. "Maybe in the movies, but certainly not in real life."
For Anvil, it was business as usual. The party ended after the sun came up on the next day, when we were scheduled to play the biggest North American gig of our career in front of nearly twenty thousand Aerosmith fans at the Philly Spectrum.
For Aerosmith, it was a return to their heartland. They'd played the same venue a fortnight earlier. Both dates had sold out, but things were not entirely good in the Aerosmith camp. Joe Perry, the founding lead guitarist, known with Tyler as one of the Toxic Twins because of their fondness for stimulants and heroin, had left the band and been replaced with Jimmy Crespo. Brad Whitford, the longtime rhythm guitarist, had recently followed Perry out of the door during the recording of their latest album, Rock In A Hard Place. After ten years of international fame and recognition, Aerosmith's fast-paced life of touring, recording and monumental drug use had caught up with them. Most of the band was pretty distant, but we'd met Tyler when he came to our changing room a couple of times to say hi. Still recovering from a serious motorcycle accident a few years earlier, he didn't look well.
As we made our way to the Spectrum stage, their tour manager took us aside.
"Tonight it's no thirty-five-minute set. You're playing for an hour and a half."
"What?" Lips was freaking out. Nearly twenty thousand Aerosmith fans were waiting to see their idols. They'd tolerate us for half an hour at most, but then the trouble would start. "An hour and a half? You must be fucking joking."
The tour manager said Tyler was in a bad way because of his motorcycle accident. He was on painkillers and they couldn't get him up. "Aerosmith can't make it on time and Steven can only do a shorter show tonight. You're playing for ninety minutes."
So we went out and we kicked ass. We had more than enough material to play for longer and the extra time on stage gave us a chance to win the crowd over. I could tell they were wondering what the fuck had happened to Aerosmith, but we put on a good enough show to make an arena full of Aerosmith fans stop yelling for their band. Fortunately they hadn't noticed Squirrely, who as always had partied harder than anyone else, puking behind the Marshalls between songs. And the rest of us had put on a smoking show. We'd pulled it off. It felt awesome.
When we came off stage Krebs was waiting with his wife and Dee Snider, front man of Twisted Sister. He wasted no time in getting to the point.
"What we gotta do is...
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Book Description Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 4430
Book Description Transworld Publishers, 2009. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0593063643
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