'Anvil!' widens reach, joins 'Rock Band'
New versions of three songs will be recorded for gameDETROIT -- The surprising success and universal acclaim for the documentary "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" is "opening a lot of doors" for the Canadian headbangers, according to drummer Robb Reiner -- among them tour possibilities, inroads into video games, and re-recording some of the band's classic material.
After premiering in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto to rave reviews and huge crowds -- as reported on film blog the Playlist, "Anvil!" bested "Hannah Montana" in per-screen average last weekend -- the film opens in five more cities Friday and seven more on April 24.
Reiner said that Anvil hit the studio to record new versions of three songs -- "Metal on Metal," "666" and the first-ever studio recording of "Thumb Hang" by the Anvil precursor Lips -- for inclusion in "Rock Band." "We did them in Toronto, just recently," Reiner said. "The original tapes were gone from the early records, but the band is far superior today than it was 30 years ago in every aspect. You can tell it's the same band that's only gotten better, so why not take a crack at this stuff?"
He adds that it was a particular kick for Anvil -- which also includes singer-guitarist Steve "Lips" Ludlow and bassist Glenn "G5" Gyorffy -- to take on "Thumb Hang."
"The actual concept, the riff is very ancient," Reiner said. "We put it together when we were, like, 14 years old, just jamming away in my parent's basement. Now we kind of modernized it and contemporized it in Anvil fashion, but the gist of the song is still in its original concept."
Reiner said the group is still hashing out final plans for a DVD release of the "Anvil!" movie as well as a companion soundtrack album; the latter, he said, will also include "Thumb Hang" and may be modeled after the "Pulp Fiction" soundtrack, incorporating dialogue from the film between the songs. Anvil is also looking into the possibility of rereleasing its 13-album catalog in both terrestrial and digital formats.
As previously reported, the group is currently on a seven-city "The Anvil Experience" tour with shows that include screenings of the film and a performance by the band; its remaining stops include Philadelphia, Pontiac, Mich, and Chicago. Anvil, meanwhile, has June shows booked in Dublin and London and is hatching plans for a more extensive tour.
"Like I said, a lot of things have opened up for us," Reiner said. "I'm completely excited about it. It's a great feeling...being discovered and rediscovered in one blast. Right now our focus is to build the movie and the band and see where it all goes from there."