XS ROCK: Hey Lips! Great to talk with you! I was just watching the documentary Anvil: The Story Of Anvil again. I have a lot of respect for you guys and what you’ve gone through for your music.
Lips: No problem, man. We should be okay.
XS ROCK: I was also just listening to the new album “Pounding The Pavement” and it’s awesome. I agree with a lot of the reviews that I’ve read. It’s really some of your best work in years.
Lips: Well, we ended up going to Germany like the last album. It’s amazing. You get really isolated out there and no distractions. It was a small little town. Really nice surroundings. It’s really country style, not a bustling big city. It was very, very laid back. It was beautiful weather. We did it all in August. We lived at the studio itself. It was a smooth process.
XS ROCK: So tell me a little about the opening track “Bitch In The Box”. I love that song.
Lips: It was inspired by my wife actually. You wouldn’t think that’d come from a female, but where else would it come from? In my opinion women are more critical about everything anyway. My wife called the GPS a “Bitch In The Box”. I told her, I love that. I’ve got to use that in a song. Fuck, I can relate to that. How much traveling does Anvil do and that piece of shit GPS takes you down the wrong road. Everything that I usually write about is directly about the human experience of living. It might not be a subject matter that your average heavy metal person might come up with. I don’t like to be predictable. That’s fucking boring. I live in a bubble. I don’t know or care what people are listening to today or yesterday. It’s being non-conformist. It’s about not giving a rats ass as far as trends are concerned. To me, nothing exists outside of what I let in. I know that sounds kind of weird. But I think a lot of people are like that. If you don’t like it, you don’t bother with it. You don’t listen to it. It might exist for millions of other people who like it, but not for me. Do you know this song by so-and-so? No! And I don’t listen to radio. Why listen to the radio if you’re not hearing anything that you like? Stick in a CD and relax.
XS ROCK: After all of these years of writing and recording, which do you actually prefer? Writing songs in the studio or playing for a live audience?
Lips: Playing for a live audience, obviously. That’s why you do everything else. It’s the people. That’s where you get the gratification. Playing in the studio, there’s no audience. You’re flying blind. You don’t what the fuck people are going think about it.
XS ROCK: You’ve done your share of touring over the years. What’s the most outrageous tour story that you can tell me?
Lips: Oh….Do we really go there? To the debauchery days? That’s ancient history. After the AIDS thing in the 80’s, the pussy dried up like an oasis in the desert. You know what I mean? Gone! I mean you can laugh at it, but it’s true. There were years where it was like Eddie Murphy’s routine where he would say “It’s just falling out of my pockets”, there was so much. That whole groupie scene is gone.
XS ROCK: So what’s the weirdest request that you’ve ever received from some of your fans?
Lips: Men asking me to sign their breasts! It’s weird. It’s happened at least a couple of times. I just look at the guys and say “You’ve got something wrong with you”. I’m not signing your chest!
XS ROCK: How’s it going working with Steamhammer as your record label?
Lips: Oh, they’ve been very good. They allow us to do our pledge campaigns, which is helpful to us. Anvil is a brand name in this day and age. The only time that music is actually worth anything is before you put it out. Once it hits the internet, everybody gets it for free. The pledge campaign works very, very well for us because we have a very tight knit fan-base. Everybody’s willing to take part. That’s where we got the crowd vocals. I don’t think “Bitch In The Box” would have been the same thing without the crowd vocals. We have such dedicated fans. Metal is almost religious, isn’t it? If people get into it, it’s like you’re my god and everybody else’s god can fuck off!
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Lips: Probably the movie. It’s one thing to struggle and quite another to actually get over the hurdles. The misconception, in a certain sense, of the movie is kind of annoying to me in a way. In the sense that some people pick up the idea from it that we failed. Hey! You’re not failing when you’re going in to record your thirteenth album. Yo’re looking for that big golden gate, but it’s far down the road. An you know what? It’s not about the golden gate anyway. It’s about the journey there. And, if I die on my way to the golden gate? Oh, fucking well! I had a great life trying to get there. That’s my outlook.
XS ROCK: After the movie came out, I’m sure you guys got a boost from that.
Lips: A boost? No question. But at the same time, you better stand up and get counted. We wouldn’t even be talking about the movie or the new album if we hadn’t stood up and got counted. We pulled up our socks and dug in deep. We worked hard. That’s what ultimately gives you your longevity as a band.
XS ROCK: In the movie you and Rob were both working part time jobs to help fund the records. Are you still doing that?
Lips: No. Since the movie came out, we make a living entirely with the band Anvil. Once the movie came out, we were the band that everybody wanted to see all over the world. Millions of people have seen that movie, but maybe only hundreds of thousands had only see the band live before. Our audiences now are probably 70% or more new people seeing the band for the first time.
XS ROCK: If you were going to go out on tour and do a Monsters Of Rock type thing, which bands would you want to tour with?
Lips: Geez. That’s a tough question because, I mean, I have my favorites, but most of them are off the road. I would have loved to go out with Motorhead again! That’s the stuff that I hold close to my heart. It was the right combination, where you have a couple of bands that get together and there’s a seamless quality between the shows. We were connected. Not just musically, but also in the spiritual sense. We were off the same branch of the metal tree. We’re both individual in the way that we sound, but yet, there’s a similarity that’s tied together by history. The music that we all grew up with….Lemmy and I had very similar tastes in music. We would draw from the same places for influences.
XS ROCK: So for anyone that doesn’t know you personally, what would people be surprised to know about you?
Lips: That I’m actually pretty conservative. I’m not a drugged out, drunken rock star kind of guy. That would probably be surprising. I never really was interested in hard drugs or anything. That’s not what I’m about. I never thought that stuff was cool.
XS ROCK: Thanks for taking time out to talk with us at XS ROCK today.
Lips: Thanks very much man!