“ANVIL” Interview by Christina Thompson
First off, congratulations on the release of your 16th album, Anvil is Anvil (February, 2016)! Since the release of Hard ‘N’ Heavy (1981), Anvil has had quite the interesting run—and it doesn’t appear that you are anywhere close to stopping anytime soon. What is it that keeps you going, that keeps the inspiration and creativity flowing?
It’s like asking someone why they keep breathing!!! To survive and live another day..to touch the sky, to find fulfillment…it’s what and who we are and have been all our lives…
Your music stays true to your hard and fast combination of guitar-playing and drumming from one album to the next. Some people would question this staunch adherence to your style, from the music to even the album covers’ art and titles. For example, they might think you aren’t “progressing” or have not “progressed” enough considering you are a band that has been around since 1978. In your extremely ever-colorful wording, what do you have to say to those that don’t understand your “never compromise” mentality?
Outside influence means very little to me, particularly negativity. We live in our own reality for the most part and only have concern for our fan base not who don’t recognize our brand of music. The truth is we’ve recorded many different types of songs. Only those who take the time and effort to listen come to realize the vast array of influences that our music has to offer. Compromise usually means something gets lost….obviously you do the most you can not to loose anything!!!
You have said that “success” to you is the ability to simply continue to make music (and the ability to live solely off of making your music). That being said, is there anything that to you would equate to reaching a pinnacle in your view, career-wise for Anvil? Or, would you rather that never happen?
You never feel as though you have everything…the human spirit is always desiring more…there’s never enough!!! Bigger shows, more shows, more songs, more sales, more time!!!! Back to Anvil is.
Anvil: The name is pretty powerful on its own. Then add in the artwork for the cover….Strong statements all the way around, and this doesn’t even include his music, yet! Will you please take us through the process for this album, from concept, to music, to title, to artwork?
As with every album we spend a great deal of time thinking of titles and artwork. It was after days and weeks of thinking of titles…our new bassist said hey no matter what you guys come up with…Anvil is Anvil!!! The next day Robb came in with the idea of an Anvil in a mirror. We agreed this would be a good idea. When Robb began the sketches I began giving advice, much in the same way as when I create a riff, Robb gives me advice!! We slowly created what we thought best suits the title with the depicted art work. Die for a Lie” is about killing in the name of religion.
Is it important to Anvil to have these types of messages in your music, or is it just something that happens throughout your creative process in general? This inclusion of topics that is relevant at that time to you?
Lyrics always reflect the environment in which they are written. With what has been going in the world with religious terrorists I was compelled to write what I thought…
“It’s Your Move” is actually a bitter-sweet homage to Motörhead….Do you mind sharing the story behind how you deliver the line “Ace of Spades and the joker is wild” on it for our MHF community? When Anvil did something a little different (and really cool), when it came to the elease of Anvil is Anvil. You used the crowd-funding site PledgeMusic to bypass record labels for the first few months, and instead reached out directly to fans. How did this workout for you?
The pledge campaign was a complete success…we didn’t bypass any record company…we did it with both. This has been the best outcome in 40 years on a business level…and I also believe musically as well..We are a brand name and this is the new working model of how to continue in the music business of today…
Anvil has been an inspiration to the likes of Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth….But please share who some of your biggest inspirations were/are?
Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and music created in the late 60’s and early 70’s that was hard rock guitar music…long list!!!
This last one is in three-parts: If you could give any key piece of advice to new bands out there with dreams of being rock-stars, what would it be? What is in the near future for Anvil? And will you always make sure “Zombie Apocalypse” is on the set-list when you tour in the United States?
Unfortunately advice at this point is next to impossible to give…if anything…don’t put your music and band into a position of having the responsibility of making money!!! There’s a time and place for that…to get known takes a great deal of time effort and investment…with no guarantees of success. It’s the journey of trying while enjoying what you are doing and enjoying your life. Success is finding your own identity and getting away with it…either by be payed or by paying for it yourself. Good Luck!!!
Christina Thompson / MHF