The Story of Anvil

This documentary came out about a year ago.  We watched it just recently after a recommendation from a colleague.  It’s a very good movie.

Anvil is a heavy metal band from Toronto that was once the “next big thing”.  Unfortunately the “big” part never happened despite a ton of critical acclaim and industry-wide respect from their peers.  They were on a world tour with the likes of Bon Jovi and Metallica a couple of decades ago and fans back then were  apparently more excited about seeing Anvil than those other groups.    The co-leaders of Anvil, Robb and Lips, vowed to each other at age 14 that they would play rock and roll forever.  They’re now in their 50’s and still at it despite having day jobs and the band being a drain on their meagre incomes.

Lips has an optimistic outlook that is almost childlike.  You want so badly for him to succeed!   The band has brief moments of greatness followed by what’s likely some of the purest humiliation ever filmed.  They’re like Spinal Tap except they’re real.  The movie really takes us to the heart of what it means to these guys to still be playing music and hoping for a big breakthrough this late in their lives.  They have families and mortgages and the usual problems of adult lives but they continue to cling to this dream.  The Story of Anvil makes you root for Lips, Robb and the others.  I can’t help but hope – even though it’s not my personal taste in music – that they will find that huge audience, make some real money and discover that their devotion to the band was worth it after all.