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Anvil on 'Anvil!'

In 2009, the documentary "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" jump-started the career of its subjects: a trio of Toronto-based heavy metal pioneers who went from headlining rock festivals with Bon Jovi in the 1980s to becoming a footnote in metal history.

Six years after the critically acclaimed documentary debuted, singer-guitarist Steve "Lips" Kudlow says he remains grateful for the movie that charted, often with comical absurdity, the band's rise, fall and struggles to reignite their popularity. But if the film delivered late-blooming success to the 36-year-old band, Kudlow says Anvil wasn't asking for any of it.

"I went after something that pop bands like Bon Jovi did not go after. They went after radio play, but we were pure hardcore, going after hardcore people that loved inaccessible metal," Kudlow says by phone from a hotel room in Empire, Va. "What radio airplay did we ever get, especially in America? None. So if the movie makes it seem like we missed out on big careers, it's that no, we never tried."

Currently on their biggest tour ever — 43 dates —Kudlow, drummer Robb Reiner and bassist Sal Italiano will perform Tuesday night at Fort Lauderdale's Club Vision, promoting their new album of aggressive speed metal, "Hope in Hell." Anvil is still hot six years after the documentary, says Kudlow, who quit his job in Toronto delivering meals to grade schools to perform full-time.

"It's better than loading lunch meats onto delivery trucks, that's for sure," the 58-year-old says with a laugh. "The hype cycle has not passed. We opened for AC/DC on their world tour. What more could I have asked for? I'm not a millionaire — I'm still working on the first million — but I'm making money off what I love."

Kudlow says the members of Anvil are "proud" that record labels never sought out the band, even if their music influenced the likes of Slayer, Metallica and Guns n' Roses guitarist Slash.

"When I was on tour with Lemmy [Kilmister] of Motorhead in 1983, we started drinking one night in Birmingham. I said, 'Lemmy, you're such a huge influence on so many people, your sound, your style," Kudlow recalls, slipping into the Motorhead singer's low British growl. "He said, 'Lips, in 15 years, there will be someone sitting across the table from you saying the exact same thing.' There will always be guys praising you. Whether you think highly of yourself as a band or not, that's how people will perceive you."

Anvil will perform 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, at Club Vision, 2674 E. Oakland Park Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale. Solstice, Faethom, Reapermanser and Necromaniak will open the show. Tickets cost $12. Call 954-708-8329 or search "Club Vision" on Facebook.

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