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Interview - Steve "Lips" Kudlow

By Deb Rao

By now you have seen the Anvil movie, heard the new Anvil CD This Is Thirteen. Now witness an in-depth look behind the making of Anvil. Anvil front man Steve "Lips" Kudlow recently spoke to Correspondent Deb Rao at the Wolf Den at the Mohegan Sun Casino for an Exclusive look at the Anvil Experience.

ROCKMUSICSTAR.COM: Steve, Thank you so much for checking in with What can the fans expect to see tonight at the Anvil Experience at the Wolf Den in at the Mohegan Sun in CT?
STEVE: They are going to see three guys having the time of their lives. I don't know how much more you can ask than that.

ROCKMUSICSTAR.COM: Actually, Anvil is hot off the heels of performing at the Loud Park Festival in Japan in front of 16,000 people. Tell us about that special experience.
STEVE: It was incredible and a really amazing experience. The movie hasn’t even come out in Japan yet and how overwhelmed and happy the people were to see us. You have to understand the band was a legendary band back in the 80's. We were going there with Michael Schenker Group, Scorpions, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi.. We were quite and substantial and important band to the people in Japan. It wasn’t till 2005 and you see we returned and that takes place in the movie. But ever since then, the growing knowledge that there is a movie about the band and the real heroes of the movie are the Japanese. This has completely permeated the people there. I thought I was one of The Beatles or something.

ROCKMUSICSTAR.COM: Does success feel every so bittersweet now?
STEVE: I always thought as the band as successful. I never really looked at my career, as anything but that otherwise we would have quit. You got to take that into consideration. Why would you do something that is not getting anywhere? The real truth is we have thousands of fans all over the world certainly not millions of fans but we don't profess that. We are the corner hardware store we are not Home Depot. But we carry on business. We are close to our clientele and our clientele appreciate us. It is as simple as that.

ROCKMUSIC.STAR.COM: So would you say at the end of the day it is all about the music and the fans and not the fame and fortune?
STEVE: Absolutely! It is not making a million bucks that makes you successful. What success really is ultimately is doing what you truly love and getting away with it.

ROCKMUSICSTAR.COM: Actually, Anvil just won the best Independent Documentary Award last Friday in Los Angeles. What was running through your mind upon winning the IDA Award?
STEVE: It won the best Music documentary as well as the best overall documentary of the year. All the other filmmakers voted for this. This isn't your average Joe on the street. This is what other people that make movies thought of the movie, which is pretty stupendous actually. From an artist point of view is a beautiful work of art. It is being acknowledged that is beautiful.

ROCKMUSICSTAR.COM: What was the most important factor that your wanted to get across to the fans when you were making this film?
STEVE: Dedication, perseverance, relationships and family. All the things that is really important in life.

ROCkMUSICSTAR.COM: What was inspiring to me while watching the film was how your family stuck by you after all these years.
STEVE: Absolutely! They wouldn't be my family if they wouldn't be. Why would you choose a wife that wants you to quit! (Laughter)  To me it is not about marrying a groupie. It was never about that. My wife is anything but that. She respects me and loves me. She doesn't give a damn at what I do to make that living. She said, "Are you happy? Then we are happy." That is good. That is the bottom line. Whether I am successful or not my wife loves me. Whatever I go after, any endeavor that I go after she is there to support me. She may not love what I do or love my music, or love my other band mates. That is not relevant.

ROCKMUSICSTAR: That is awesome. I really enjoyed the family values in the movie. Now tell us about the process for recording This Is Thirteen. Why do you think this is your breakthrough album? How has Anvil evolved since back in the day?
STEVE: Anvil has gone through a lot of transitions. We were a band that got to a certain point that we were on the cusp of breaking big but in order to break big it meant to compromise. It meant to water our music down. It meant to give in to circumstances. It wasn't mean to be that way. For me I wanted a career not just a flash in the pan. I did not want to become an overnight sensation that came and went.  We never looked for songs for the radio in any shape way or form. Quite honestly we did things to purposely to avoid it. What you have witnessed here is a band that has purposely stayed in the underground. Why, because that is what we believe is true. There is no mask to be worn. There is no posing. We are what we are. If you want to buy my record fine if you don't that is fine too. I am not looking to sell millions of records because my song is a big hit on the radio. Because real metal that is not what it is about. It is about emotion and artistic expression and I believe in those things. I stand for those things. So what has happened a fan that grew up to be Stephen Spielberg's screenwriter is my friend. He was a 15-year-old kid that I befriended. He became our drum roadie and we changed his life. We took him out on the road and gave him the time of his life and he would never forget. To the point of 20 years later after he made it in Hollywood, he came looking for us. This isn't just a run of the mill story. First of all you needed a band that made enough of an impact and was influential enough in the sense to inspire people like Lars, Scott Ian, Tom Araya, Lenny, Dimebag, Slash another huge fan is Sebastian Bach. We both come from the same city. He used to be one of the guys that used to sit in my rehearsal room with his mouth open. This is an old dear friend and fan. These elements are very important. That is creditability. It is not that we didn't make it because we sucked. It is because we didn't want commercial success. So was I going to write a commercial song so I could get on a major label no. I have been on independents my entire career. The way I look at it actions speak louder than words for any song. This is my legend. This is my journey. I don't care about anyone else's journey. I have written 13 albums of hardcore music without compromise. That is something to be proud of.

ROCKMUSICSTAR.COM: We hear that you are nominated for another award The Spirit Award in January. Tell us about that award.
STEVE: Now the Spirit Award is the Independent movies that are really seriously worthy. It is part of the Academy Awards. Compounded by that, they are going after Best Picture of the Year. There is a chance. You will probably get more emotional feedback from the Anvil movie than any of the movies that you have seen in the last 15 years.

ROCKMUSICSTAR.COM: Steve, 2009 has been a whirlwind of a year for Anvil. What can the fans expect to see from Anvil in 2010?
STEVE: A band enjoying the hell of its life. A band basking in celebration and in beautiful, glorious sunlight of life.

ROCKMUSICSTAR.COM: Steve, Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule. I know you have a show to do tonight. The magazine will continue to support you, and keep us posted on upcoming tour dates.

STEVE: Thanks so much, I really appreciate it.