By all appearances, “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” seems as if it were created to be Canada’s answer to “This is Spinal Tap.” It’s a film about a forgotten but hugely influential ’80s speed-metal band from Toronto that is trying to reclaim its glory between blue-collar day jobs. Heck, there’s even a guy named Robb Reiner involved. But what’s really amazing about the whole thing is that the tale is 100 percent non-fiction.
“We were never going to evade the specter of ‘Spinal Tap,’ so we just thought f— it, we’ll embrace it,” says filmmaker Sacha Gervasi, who first met Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner when Anvil played London in the early ’80s.
Kudlow and Reiner were so appreciative of 16-year-old Gervasi’s fandom that they invited him to be a roadie on their U.S. tour. It wasn’t until many years later that Gervasi, a successful screenwriter who penned Steven Spielberg’s “The Terminal,” finally had the means to capture this band’s unique story. Kudlow and Reiner are such comically idiosyncratic personalities, the film crew initially thought they were acting.
“We were playing at the Monsters of Rock show in Transylvania and Robb was in the middle of his drum solo,” explains Kudlow, lead singer and personality of the band. “And my hemorrhoids popped out. There’s a position that I get into where I can actually …”