'Anvil': For Heavy-Metal Vets, It's A Hard-Rock Life At 14, founding members of Anvil, Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner, swore they would rock into their golden years. After Anvil's influential debut album, however, their careers took a nosedive. This documentary finds the softer side of hard rock.
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'Anvil': For Heavy-Metal Vets, It's A Hard-Rock Life

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'Anvil': For Heavy-Metal Vets, It's A Hard-Rock Life

Review

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'Anvil': For Heavy-Metal Vets, It's A Hard-Rock Life

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ARI SHAPIRO, Host:

Before there was Spinal Tap, there was Anvil. But where Spinal Tap was fake, Anvil is a very real heavy metal band. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan reviews a documentary about the band.

KENNETH TURAN: Instead, it's a surprisingly charming look at the careers of some earnest, eternally hopeful rockers who cling to optimism about a glorious future despite reality's repeated blows. Think of it as a real-life version of the mockumentary "This Is Spinal Tap," and you'll get the idea.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL")

M: The music lasts forever. Maybe the debt does, too, but the bottom line is the music lasts forever. And that's the art, and that's the most important thing.

TURAN: That's Steve "Lips" Kudlow, Anvil's lead singer. Twenty-five years ago, his band was one of the giants of metal music, but that was then. Now Anvil's status is so precarious, it's held together by the bond between Lips and drummer Robb Reiner, two guys who met in high school and wrote a lyric inspired - no kidding - by a class on the Spanish Inquisition.

M: Tongues will twist, da-na-na-na, can you resist...

TURAN: Despite the in-your-face nature of both the group's lyrics and their stage persona...

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

TURAN: ...this film shows you what you don't expect. That's the almost childlike enthusiasm these men, both in their 50s with families and day jobs, bring to their quest for success. Time doesn't move backwards, it moves forwards, Lips says with characteristic earnestness as the group decides to give stardom one more shot. No matter what troubles they face, Lips and Robb remain good company, always upbeat no matter how many cockeyed crises come around the bend. Maybe the music does live forever, no matter how loud it is.

SHAPIRO: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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