Anvil The Story of Anvil

  • Directors: Sacha Gervasi
  • Producers: Sacha Gervasi Lauren McClard Dana Sano Christopher Soos Rebecca Yeldham
  • Writers:
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Actors:

The film begins by listing the headlining acts of the Super Rock festival held in Japan in 1984: Scorpions, Whitesnake, and Bon Jovi, all of whom have gone on to sell millions of records, except one, Anvil. Despite their ambition, the Canadian band was unable to achieve the same level of success. Instead, singer and guitarist Steve “Lips” Kudlow drives trucks for Children’s Choice Catering, delivering food to schools and institutions. Drummer Robb Reiner works in construction. But both would rather be playing on stage at the local sports bar to their small but dedicated fans, as shown during a show for Steve’s 50th birthday party.

Steve gets an email from a European fan named Tiziana Arrigoni, who offers to set up a European tour for the band, estimating 1500 Euros per show. The tour has a promising start at a rock festival in Sweden, where the group interacts with Michael Schenker and Carmine Appice, but it quickly goes downhill. Trains are full before the band can buy tickets, they miss travel connections altogether, they get lost in Prague due to language barriers and scuffle with the bar owner who refuses to pay since the band was 2 hours late, they play to mostly empty rooms and complain about the lack of promotion, eventually running out of money and sleeping in a train station. At one point, Robb refuses to perform and announces he’s quitting from the band, only to be persuaded by Steve to stick it out. The final concert of the tour is the Monsters of Transylvania rock concert, held in a 10,000 seat arena and promising a crowd 5,000. 174 people show up.

Steve receives a phone call asking Anvil to play a concert in Japan. Excitedly, the group returns to the site that marked the highlight of their career. Their spirits are dampened when they realize they are the very first act at a 3-day festival, taking the stage at 11:30 am. Fearing disaster, the group tentatively takes the stage to a large, receptive crowd.