It's not that I grew up with Anvil or saw them at all in the '80s when they were tearing it up back in the day. No, as a matter of fact they were not really on my radar at ALL until I saw their movie at the premiere in Los Angeles last year. It was the movie that struck a chord with me. The struggle and ebb and flow of a working rock band gets me every time.
Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. He writes about what music is circulating through his space every Monday. Anvil plays Bumbershoot on Monday, Sept. 6.
The documentary shows the friendship of Anvil's two original members (drummer Rob Reiner and singer/lead guitarist Lips) more than anything. These two guys have been through so much crap and somehow remained the best of friends. They have not changed one thing about themselves over the last 30 years, probably to the detriment of any real success.
Shit. Think about THAT for a second. It is really quite bold to just sort of believe SO much in what you do that you don't change one damn thing over a course of a long, long musical career. A guy like myself will indeed believe in certain precedents in music (like a punk-rock ethic for instance), but I have also changed how my music is written and recorded and how I look and all. I wonder--if I had had some sort of success with the Fartz back in 1981, would Paul Solger and I have just remained punker dudes and just kept writing songs about how "this world stinks"?Back in the '80s, when bands like Megadeth and Anthrax and Testament started to garner bigger and bigger success, Anvil got left somewhere in the dust of it all. Their songs were maybe not as good, and probably the production of their records dated them too much. But maybe now, in retrospect, that is what I like about this band so much: they just didn't seem to give a fuck. Or was it that they just didn't get the memo that trends were changing? Either way, it's kinda badass now.
When I saw this movie with my band Loaded at that premiere, I think it instilled in all of us some of the fortitude that got us through all the ups and downs of the long and arduous touring schedule we went on. Indeed, seeing what these guys in Anvil have suffered through made me think of the stupid stuff that we in Guns N' Roses and even Velvet Revolver let get in the way of the music. The kind of stuff the guys in Anvil would have fought and stayed together through.
If you are going to Bumbershoot, do yourself a big favor. Go and rent Anvil! The Story of Anvil first. I guarantee that you will fall for this band and root for them. If you are a Capitol Hill hipster or a Lynnwood mom, it really will not matter. You will have your fist in the air, and perhaps feel a drop or two of tears. Celebrate good humans. Celebrate Anvil!