Motörhead – History in 15,000 words.

By Jase of Spades – November/December 2016.

Motörhead is my favourite band, period. The reason I was asked to write this band history, is largely because I spent 2016 listening to nothing but Motörhead. Across 53 blog posts, I wrote over 70,00 words about the experience, digging deep into these records, and theorizing what it all meant – questing for an answer that may not even exist.

The crusade I undertook doesn’t make me qualified to write this; I am however, both privileged and honoured just the same. Sharing my zealotry for the band that Mr. Lemmy Kilmister founded back in 1975 is absolutely one of my most revered things to do.

Most of these history type pieces move sequentially – I’m going to deviate from that blueprint a tad. I’m not going to write about our Ian, growing up in Wales. I’m definitely not going to bump on about the fucking horses either. There have been some amazing accounts of the lives of the band members, and this invincible force they comprised. From the earnest Alan Burridge of Motörhead Magazine fame, who took over the fan club from Phil’s dad and sister, to the meticulously researched Joel McIver. And then, there’s first writer to reveal what happens at the end – Mick Wall and his definitive biography. The events that shaped the people who conspired together as Motörhead are known; each author providing an alternate lens on the chapters that comprised the saga. Even Lemmy’s own White Line Fever, written in conjunction with Janiss Garza, now unintentionally incomplete, provides yet another portal into the great man’s life. The latter years managed – at least in part – by more contemporary mediums like film and DVD. Lemmy: The Movie bringing the vocalist to life in a way that words on a page could only hint at.

So, in the words of the late, great Lemmy Kilmister, let’s run it up the flagpole, and see who salutes it.

When the sky comes looking for you.

On December 28th, 2015, Ian Fraser Kilmister, AKA Lemmy, died; a scant few days beyond his 70th birthday on the 24th. Despite appearing to be in poor health in the months leading up to December, he soldiered on with his two comrades in arms – drummer Mikkey Dee, and guitarist Phil Campbell – men he had created with, traveled with, and performed alongside for 22, and 31 years respectively. Motörhead played their final show on December 11th, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Kilmister would pass just over two weeks later, his death certificate citing prostate cancer, cardiac arrhythmia, and congestive heart failure as the cause. Lemmy told Mick Wall, “When Motörhead leaves, there will be a hole there that just can’t be filled.” [1] Tell me when truer words were spoken?

Sadly, Lemmy was the third member of Motörhead to pass. Philthy died on November 11th of 2015, and Wurzel on July 9th, 2011.

Lemmy said many wise, wonderful, and profound things. It is no surprise that his egalitarian persona was, and continues to be, cherished equally as much as the band’s music. For Lemmy and Motörhead, one was inextricably woven into the other. It’s as though his 30 years of life prior to Manager Doug Smith’s 1975 press release, announcing Kilmister’s new, post Hawkwind band, ceased to exist.

And as was customarily the case, no one could say it better than Lemmy himself. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he said of Motörhead, “It’s my life completely. It stopped being a job a long time ago. ‘Cause I know intellectually, there was a time when I wasn’t in Motorhead, but I can’t actually remember it.” [2]

Band is too simple a label to apply to Motörhead. The force that for over 40 years comprised luminaries such as Ian “Lemmy” KIlmister, Larry Wallis, Lucas Fox, Philthy “Animal” (for sexual reasons) Taylor, “Fast” Eddie Clarke, Brian “Robbo” Robertson, Phil Campbell,  Michael “Wurzel” Burston and Mikkey Dee was never going to be framed in such basic terms.

There are thousands of bands; not one of which presented that same rush as Motörhead. Say the word. Say Motörhead! aloud, and that expression immediately conjures up a storm of sound, fury and anthemic rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve tried to define that essence; apply terminology to it. Attempting to identify what exactly it is that injects Motörhead fans with that surge of power.

Were Motörhead were authentic? Yes.

Was it the eccentric personalities of these oft aliased men; readily visualised on Police Station index cards – calling to mind the classic layout of AC/DC’s 1976 ball tearer Dirty Deeds? Yes.

Let’s not for a moment discount the band’s fearless leader, Herr Kilmister. Was it because of that visceral roar they summoned, the self deprecating humour, their approachability as people and that egalitarian spirit? Yes.

Was it because when you think of speed, bikes, booze, and the Iron Fist; artist Joe Petagno’s immortal Little Bastard comes immediately to mind? Of course.

Does this give comprehension to this spirit that Motörhead injected into all of us? It’s a damn fine place to start.

We began at the beginning,
Moving high and moving fast,
Machine’s clean, so sweet and mean,
Should have known it wouldn’t last. [3]

And even though Lemmy captained the Motörhead ship for 40 years, the band writing over 250 songs, I struggle to think of four lines that better encapsulate the brawn, and the undying modus operandi of Motörhead – a spirit that will be perpetuated every time the opening thrumb of Iron Fist is blasted. Four decades is a long time for a band to wage a sonic war with its fans. My greatest experience of Motörhead live being in 2010 when they last came through Melbourne, Australia. It felt to me like 50% sonic violence, 50% white noise. It was incredible!

When Alan Burridge wrote in Motörhead Magazine about the introduction of the Bomber tape at the head of the band’s live show, there was no impact that could rival the overkill that Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey conjured that night. We most definitely got what we came for.

Motörhead would make only two more studio LPs beyond The World Is Yours from 2010, and it’s rare, in my experience, for bands to make vital and compelling music across one decade, let alone four. Aftershock and Bad Magic are face melters in their own right. They aren’t the domain of completists; these are essential Motörhead records, made by Motörhead, with Motörhead in mind. The band remained true to the spirit that drove them since their inception. The most subtle difference, mostly evident to the seasoned Motörhead veteran, is the gentle decay in Lemmy’s voice. Noticeable on Aftershock, prominent on Bad Magic. Coming full circle in a sense.

“…to come up with the pristine Motörhead riffs is a fine line,” said guitarist Phil Campbell to Ultimate Guitar about the band’s writing process. “So it gets harder each year… but we don’t put anything out we’re not happy with. We don’t listen to record companies or anything. We write for us three; we don’t write for fans. I think when you’re writing for what other people want to hear then you’re taking away the purity of the music. I think that’s probably why we’ve survived so long.” [4]

We began at the beginning.

A little history lesson: Motörhead performed their first show on July 20, 1975. Lemmy was invited to leave Hawkwind after the band’s show on May 18th the same year. Kilmister wasn’t idle for long, and according to the excellent Lemmy: The Definitive Biography by Mick Wall, the now legendary press release was dispatched to the music media, by manager Doug Smith and his business partner, Richard Ogden, declaring Lemmy’s new band as Motörhead. This nomme de guerre a little more conservative that Lemmy’s predilection for Bastard, the band name he first declared for his post-Hawkwind offensive. Describing the term Motörhead as more conservative is largely contingent on one’s view, and knowledge of what Motörhead actually meant.

An NME article declared, “Lemmy Quits Hawkwind. His new band will be the dirtiest in the world.” The piece also included that perennial quote from Lemmy, where he testified, “If we moved in next door your lawn would die.” And for Motörheadbangers, this comment would remain a badge of honor; an encapsulation of the ferocity the band would wield, on, and off the stage.

The press release narrative continues with Smith going on the record to Mick Wall, stating that it was he who gave the band its name. Motörhead is a brilliant label for the soldiers who marched under its flag, and that it was final song Kilmister penned for Hawkwind made it even more optimal. The press release was viewed by management as the antidote to Lemmy’s reticence to get moving with a new outfit; seemingly devastated by his exit from Hawkwind; a band he recalled in an interview with Spin Magazine:

“Those were the days. I would never have left if they hadn’t fired me.” [5]

Moving high and moving fast.

To observe that Motörhead had a few lineup changes over the years, would be a reasonable statement to make. To suggest the magnitude of these personalities contributed significantly to their immeasurable success, and the instabilities alike, would also be a safe assumption. That each of these personalities contributed to the band’s overall legacy, well that hardly needs to be said, does it? Lemmy, the sole constant, didn’t aspire to front the band per se. His initial plan, to emulate his heroes, the MC5. However, in the spirit of advancing the puck; pragmatic soul he was, Kilmister scaled down to an MC3, joined by drummer Lucas Fox, and Pink Fairies guitarist Larry Wallis. Kilmister reluctantly captained the ship – taking on lead vocals in conjunction with his rhythm bass, and the most commanding mic stand positioning imaginable. Like the handlebars of those classic chopper motorcycles his pals the Hell’s Angels rode, the parallel couldn’t have been more perfect, even if the intention wasn’t what it appeared.

“It’s also one way of avoiding seeing the audience,” Kilmister ventured. “In the days when we only had ten people and a dog, it was a way of avoiding seeing that we only had ten people and a dog.” [6]

If it’s up there I don’t have to look at the audience. In the early days, there was very often no audience. We played to empty places. But it’s also easier to get the notes out. Straight out the windpipe, you know.” [7]

Guitar players typically impact a band’s sound most significantly, and for Motörhead, the band worked through no less than five before the sun had set on its first decade. Motörhead’s first guitar player, Larry Wallis, aspired for this MC3 to be an MC4, which is where painter, and blues enthusiast, “Fast” Eddie Clarke entered from stage left. The legend supposes that Wallis turned up to rehearsal, uttered not a single word, and proceeded to played his guitar, at ear bleeding volume, for Eddie, rather than with him. There’s little in the retelling of these events to suggest the four actually played together, though Clarke’s feature on the Lemmy documentary from 2010 alludes to some degree of short-lived sonic conspiracy where all four kicked out the jams. The more popular version asserts the guitarist, who had been already considered somewhat reclusive at this point, left the building, never to return.

Fast Eddie became the first Motörhead guitarist of notoriety. While Wallis was a credible musician, and his influence over the intended Motörhead debut On Parole is significant, his impact on the band is rendered largely as a footnote in hindsight. Despite this historical blunder, he wrote four of the 1975 record’s nine tracks, taking the lead on vocals for Vibrator and Fools.

This is a song for all you managers and agents out there. Are ya listening? Good!” [8]

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Interestingly, like Lemmy’s embryonic contributions, conjured under the bohemian flag of Hawkwind, of Wallis’ four compositions, On Parole, Vibrator, Fools and City Kids, the last listed was a Pink Fairies cut he liberated from 1973’s Kings of Oblivion LP. Somehow it all worked – least until it didn’t. The On Parole album sadly shelved by United Artists until 1979. The label arguably signed Motörhead because of Lemmy’s tenure in Hawkwind, and did the band no favours by relying on their independently achieved success by unearthing a record that had well and truly been succeeded by a similar, but significantly nastier self titled debut in 1977. Fox was replaced (figuratively and literally) by Mr. Philthy “Animal” Taylor, and as mentioned, Wallis would also find a reason to detach himself.

“The game didn’t look as if it was worth the candle,” Wallis told Furious.com of his motivation for quitting the band. “I wanted another guitarist to flesh it out, but once Eddie Clark[e] came along, it was apparent he would be the man to replace me. He had the enthusiasm that had been eaten away from me by circumstances.” [9]

It’s possible to infer from the same interview, that the limitations that Wallis experienced during his reasonably short occupation in Motörhead were due in part, to Fox’s performance:

“In hindsight, it would of been great to dump Lucas Fox right then and there. We never really spotted that being Keith Moon on a busy day wasn’t his forte. I guess exuberance, noise and dope made us blind to the fact.” [10]

Wallis and Kilmister aren’t credited as writing anything together; Vibrator enduring as part of Motörhead’s canon into 1977 when the self titled LP was cut for Chiswick. Not exactly a live favourite, Vibrator was last performed April 1979 in Birmingham.

Propaganda.

It has been written that the 1984 track Snaggletooth that appeared on the No Remorse compilation LP was inspired by Lemmy’s rapidly decaying teeth. How exactly artist Joe Petagno’s iconic summation of Motörhead’s abominable cacophony became known as such is something of a mystery. It is however this visual representation that became integral to Motörhead. It’s probably the first thing that springs to mind when somebody utters the name of our most revered Motörhead.

“People see my paintings as they hear Lemmy’s music.” Joe Petagno mused. [11]

Those massive paintings that were organised by former manager Tony Secunda painted on walls on London, reinforced the vision Joe had produced to the mirror the trio’s sound. It’s biker-esque presence another perfect alignment – especially if you buy my suggestion that Motörhead at their most vital, resonates the wind in the hair, and the fuck-you in the fist! Born with the Hammer down!  Built For Speed!

“I did some research on wild boar skulls, and gorilla skulls, and made a hybrid skull of dog-gorilla type thing, with the over dimensional wild boars horns,” artist Joe Petagno recalled the origins of the most iconic sigil in heavy music. “And lemmy loved it. I think he put the chains on it, the spit, and the helmet might have been his idea too… I guess that’s how it happened, and that’s how the bastard was born.

“People call it the Iron Boar, people call it Snaggletooth. I don’t know who gave it that. I don’t have a name for it. It’s just the Little Bastard for me.” [12]

For the sake of a common reference, I’ll continue to refer to Snaggletooth throughout, but I do like Joe’s Little Bastard moniker. I like it a lot!

Fast Eddie contributed, “I shuddered when I saw it the first time, and I thought, ‘Blimey this ain’t gonna down that well,’ because it was just way over the top then. But I grew to love it because it came a thing. But at first it was a bit, not scary or horrifying, but in those days it would have been deemed bad taste.” [13]

Phil Campbell’s view is my favourite however, “It’s the meanest motherfucking logo you’re ever going to see! It’s pure mean. It’s genius! The guy is really clever, and it suits us. He knows – he’s like another member of the band. Joe Petagno is part of the guts; the engine! [14]

Have more t-shirts ever been made in honor of another icon? At least one deserving – one so cherished. Has Snaggletooth fared better than some of the other iconic depictions – Black Flag’s bars, the DK of the Dead Kennedys or Crass’ possibly unnamed for example? How much of that purity of purpose, and (unintentional) preservation of the band’s values and convictions plays a role? Motörhead never compromised, never forgot why they did what they did. When your heart is pure, you cann’t lose your track – you’re undertaking the mission you’re compelled to.

It may seem more appropriate to compare Snaggletooth to the mascots of acts more closely aligned to the heavy metal scene that Motörhead was more typically appropriated by, but these mascots seem more like cartoonish caricatures than Motörhead’s vile, demonic entity. And like the Eddie’s or Rattlehead’s, Petagno’s Little Bastard would manifest in various full figured forms – the key difference being the symbiotic relationship with Motörhead’s sound that Snaggletooth possessed – far more than decoration or affectation. And listening to Joe Petagno talking about his art is so goddamn satisfying.

The Bronze Age.

Often referred to as the Three Amigos, on occasion the Three Musketeers, these labels seems to have been applied retrospectively, yet remain a suitable reference for the line up hailed as delivering the band’s most essential material. Popular opinion doesn’t directly translate to best; but it is difficult to deny the impact of the 1976 to 1982 period, where Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, “Fast” Eddie Clarke, and Philthy “Animal” Taylor ruled the heavy music landscape, and ruled it with no velvet glove. This rambunctious trio forged six of the most profoundly influential records on the aggressive rock landscape. Was it hard rock? Heavy metal? NWOBHM? Philthy summed it up best when he declared Motörhead’s sound as:

“…hard, fast, nasty, disgusting rock” [15]

And he was right. Motörhead’s Bronze Age made a greater impression on more bands than one could readily count. Think of a heavy band that owes no debt to Motörhead. If you can, they probably aren’t worth listening to.

United Artists were not the only label to at least partially disarm the Motörhead warmachine, who, by 1977, were starting to view the prospect of their material manifesting on vinyl as slim. In April of the same year, the band planned to do a farewell show; disillusioned with their apparent lack of progress, and frustrated by the shelving of their debut 7” which was recorded for Stiff Records. Stiff weren’t able to release Leaving Here b/w White Line Fever while Motörhead still had business pending with United Artists. And the malaise had set in.

Interestingly, this low point for the band flies in the face of Kilmister’s typical response when asked how the band managed to survive for so long; but even the greatest warriors have moments of doubt. And though Motörhead may not have been able to see it at the time, April 1977 was the genesis of their ascent. There is much to be said for not giving up.

Lemmy approached Chiswick label head Ted Carroll to record the band’s final show, which was booked at the Marquee on April 1st. And while the Motörhead phoenix was set to rise, the flame didn’t quite burn bright enough for the mythical bird to awaken, and the band were dealt another blow. As Fast Eddie revealed in documentary The Guts and the Glory from 2010:

“…they wanted 500 quid for doing a recording at the Marquee. Well, that was out of the question in those days.” [16]

Carroll instead offered the trio a deal to cut a 7”, and by the bottom of day one, of their two day booking at Escape Studios with producer Speedy Keen, they had captured almost an entire album. Legend has it that Carroll was impressed by what he heard, bid the lads onward, and on August 21st the same year, the band’s official debut Motörhead was released via the Chiswick label. [17]

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The chronicle has it that Motörhead started recording this EP/LP immediately after the Marquee gig. In typical defiance of convention; they took the ruckus from the stage to the studio with zero pomp or ceremony. No remorse indeed!

The Motörhead LP, released by Chiswick, peaked on the UK chart at #43. [18]  Not radically different from On Parole; the tracklist noticeably modified, and the sound definitely more souped up than the 1975 offensive. Was it right to remove the motorcycle throttle from the start? Not so sure.

Five selections from the original nine tracked for On Parole were re-recorded for the Chiswick debut, Motorhead, Iron Horse/Born to Lose and The Watcher even maintaining the same position in the original sequence. Vibrator, and Lost Johnny were also included, just as they were in 1975,  while the self titled also featured White Line Fever, Keep Us on the Road, and The Train Kept A-Rollin’ at the expense of On Parole, City Kids, Fools, and Leaving Here – the last of which bore the Kilmister brand.

Only way to feel the noise is when it’s good and loud!

Overkill is significant for a slew of reasons – but most decidedly – the legacy of Philthy’s double kick drum set up, and how it impressed itself onto the title track of the band’s second LP. The band’s overall sound was truly converging at this point, and of course there have been legions of drummers who heard Taylor’s call to arms; taking up either the drums, or injecting double kick into their own musical ambitions.

“I always wanted to play two bass drums but I always said to myself, ‘No, I’m not gonna be one of these wankers who goes on stage and has two bass drums and never even fuckin’ plays ’em’.

“So I got this other bass drum and I used to get to rehearsals a couple of hours before the other guys and just practice, you know, just sit there… like running, or something like that. I was actually playing that riff, just trying to get my coordination right, when Eddie and Lemmy walked in, and I was just about to stop and they went, ‘No, don’t stop! Keep going!’ That was how Overkill got written.” [19]

Eddie’s recollection of the track, rose coloured through the lens of nostalgia:

“Hey man, this song’s called Overkill. Anyway why don’t we fuckin’ finish, and start it again. Yeah, fucking great man. In fact, let’s fucking do it again! So we did it three times. Fucking awesome man.” [20]

Eddie is another guy I love to listen to as he talks about the good old days of Motörhead. Priceless.

The record which was recorded across December ‘78 and into January ‘79, was released on March 24th of the same year. Peaking at #24 on the UK charts, the LP was preceded by a single – one of two to roll off the album.

Overkill

Lead track Overkill b/w Too Late, Too Late, entered the UK charts at #39, prefacing the LPs’ release by two weeks. No Class b/w Like a Nightmare followed at the bottom of June. It didn’t fare as well commercially as the lead EP, but the charts weren’t where the swelling legions of  Motörheadbangers were looking to have their beloved Motörhead validated. Authenticity, commanding performances, and sonic rock ‘n’ roll was all the success criteria required.

Overkill manifested as the first insolent platter for Bronze, in a series of records that would see Motörhead and Gerry Bron’s label, prosper well beyond the imagination of pretty much everyone revolving around the trio in the early days. The false starts experienced with United Artists and Stiff could have just as easily threatened this wonderful Bronze Age.

Label head Gerry Bron reflected on the band’s inaugural record for the label – Louie Louie b/w Tear Ya Down, released on the 25th of August, 1978.

“They did Louie Louie and I thought it was the worst record I’d ever heard. It went in the charts at 72 and I thought ‘whatever I think, there has to be something here.’ I went to Hammersmith Odeon and it was filled with screaming jumping crazed people. I thought ‘this band has got a following, we’ve got to have an album’ so we signed them to a long term deal.” [21]

The rock ‘n’ roll battlefields are littered with could have beens and Gerry Bron wasn’t the only label boss to have failed to hear what the zealots tapped into from day one. But Gerry’s instinct about the band’s burgeoning fanbase was correct, and Motörhead’s relationship with Bronze is, from a recall perspective, the creative period most readily accessed by fans and tourists alike.

Louie Louie secured the band a slot on TV show Top of the Pops [22] and peaked on the UK singles charts at #68. Motörhead clearly made the right decision to weather the storms of their embryonic stages – as obvious as that may be in hindsight.

We shoot to kill, and you know we always will!

It wasn’t unusual for a band to release more than one studio album in a single year. Led Zeppelin did it in 1969, so did Black Sabbath in 1970. Even Lemmy’s beloved Beatles thought it appropriate. In an age where band’s go six, eight years between offensives, two in a single year seems a little overkill – if you’ll pardon the pun.

And Motörhead, propelled by the success of the first chapter of their Bronze canon, Overkill, did what they had observed both friends, and influences doing, entering the studio on the 7th of July, to record their second long player for 1979.

While it’s not pertinent to this narrative, Bomber is for me the more impressive of these releases. It’s diversity, tone and energy is a condition of both progression and good fortune. Their craft coalescing further – the dying embers of the 1970s representing a completely contemporaneous creative period for Lemmy, Eddie and Philthy, where no shackles from the past held any sway. Naturally, the band remained stylistically influenced by the glory days of rock ‘n’ roll, yet their own caustic lens took it pretty much as far from the below the waistline revolution envisaged by Elvis and Little Richard, as it was likely to venture.

In the spirit of leveraging on previous successes, former Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller was invited back into the studio, and while the results of Bomber are, in my opinion, a great leap forward from Overkill, Miller’s ghosts had reportedly returned, corrupting his ability to deliver the band to the studio standard they aspired.

Those with an even rudimentary understanding of the character that was Lemmy Kilmister, will be well aware of his aversion to heroin. To find the person they’d entrusted to produce what they hoped to be another world destroyer was struggling with an addiction; less than ideal. The Bomber LP sequence kicking off with Dead Men Tell No Tales then seems an appropriate declaration of Kilmister’s contempt. A perfect storm of irony were it not intended:

You used to be my friend,
But that friendship’s coming to an end,
My meaning must be clear,
You know pity is all that you hear,
But if you’re doing smack,
You won’t be coming back,
I ain’t the one to make your bail,
Dead Men Tell No Tales [23]

The band spent approximately seven weeks at both Roundhouse, and Olympic studios, cooking tape and sizzling boards, wrapping Bomber in the glowing coals of August. The album was the first official studio offering to feature an image of the band on the cover, which was designed by fantasy artist Adrian Chesterman. While I spend a little time imagining what sort of hellish vision Joe Petagno would have conjured for the Motörhead’s LPs that didn’t bear his mark, Bomber makes enough sense when factoring the title and lyrical theme. And listeners can feel Lemmy’s razor tone amplified on the band’s third studio record proper.

MOTORHEAD-Bomber

Released on October 27th, peaking at #12 on the UK music charts, Kilmister sticks it to police, his paternal father, heroin, and the man in general. Eddie stepped up to handle the vocals on the blues soaked ode to defiance, Step Down, and outside the backing vocals he performed far and wide, his most significant vocal contributions manifested in the alternate version of Stone Dead Forever, and his co-lead performance on the band’s greatest cover – ZZ Top’s Beerdrinkers and Hellraisers – the 12” EP that Chiswick would unearth approximately a year from Bomber’s inaugural ascent.

Bomber b/w Over The Top was released as a single at the dawn of December  ‘79, spending seven weeks in the charts, peaking at #34. Their highest position for a single to date.

The Bomber tour started in Amsterdam, October 20th – a week before the record’s release, and ran for close to 80 dates, concluding at  the Theatre Royal in Nottingham on August 20th, 1980. The band hadn’t quite become a household name at this point, but, their infamy had reached a fevered pitch, with the trio nearly crushed by overzealous fans at a show at the Wolverhampton Town Hall in the UK, some six weeks into the tour. The band explained their frustration to Motörhead Magazine editor, and burgeoning fan club manager, Alan Burridge who wrote:

“But fame demands it’s due. On November 12th, 1979, at Wolverhampton, the undreamed of happened and Motörhead were mobbed by fans. The band wandered into the hall and found themselves pinned to the wall, trapped by a solid mass of fans and unable to move; as the fans at the back tried to push to the front and the fans at the front were unable to get out of the way. Lemmy, Phil, and Eddie kept saying they would sign all the autographs and any there wasn’t time to sign before the gig, they would sign after, but no-one wanted to risk being missed out.” [24]

So, come Wednesday, the 14th of November, the band were ordered by management to stick to the backstage area before the show. Alan Burridge detailed:

“The powers that be weren’t going to have the band hurt in a stampede of over enthusiastic fans.”

Eddie offered, “I couldn’t believe it was happening. I saw some fans crowd round Lemmy and thought that would be all. Next thing I knew, they’d got me too and were all over us.”

Phil contributed, “They got me pinned against the wall, and I kept saying, ‘take it easy, there’s a fucking wall behind me,’ but they wouldn’t take any notice. It’s no joke.”

“We’re not that kind of band,” Eddie resolved. “People might think we don’t want to bother with the fans any more, but that’s not true.” [25]

Wolverhampton wasn’t the only time the pace got frantic. On a trip through Europe, the band were performing in Yugoslavia, toward the end of April 1989, when a person who had attended the concert threw a razor blade, glued between two coins, at the stage, striking Lemmy on the hand. The frontman received a significant wound.

Motörheadbanger Ned Popac was quoted in Live to Win, by Alan Burridge:

“Lemmy showed his left fist, which was bleeding, to the audience; he was shouting, ‘What idiot thinks this is funny? If you’re so brave, come onstage and I’ll kill you, you bastard!’ it was very sad. Silence everywhere. He could have stopped the show, but he kept on playing with his hand bandaged, and blood dripping on the stage.”

“I was so sad and depressed. If only it happened to me, not him.” [26]

Lemmy featured in a spot on the Bailey Brothers TV show where he recounted the occurrence and his extreme agitation over the incident:

“I nearly lost my hand, you understand me? If I lose my hand, my life is over. You realise that? I’d have to shoot myself because I can’t stand it.

“I’m not going to put up with people throwing things out of the audience any more… This is never going to happen to me again.” [27]

And Lemmy held true to his word. For a long time I was convinced that Motörhead would never return to Australia after cutting their Brisbane show of Winter 1991 short after an incident where cans were thrown on to the stage. It took 15 years for Motörhead to return.

Don’t try to run, don’t try to scream, Believe me, The Hammer’s gonna smash your dream!

To cite Ace Of Spades as the sole driver behind Motörhead becoming a household name in the UK is a little misleading, but for a trio who raged defiantly against convention, the system and what was expected of them, for their fourth studio album to peak at #4 on the UK charts was testament; not only to a ripper collection of songs, but to the value people place on authenticity. Sure, plenty of manufactured music (think of it in the most derogatory sense) makes its presence felt, but it’s abandoned as readily as it’s noticed. Motörhead, the words of their fearless leader:

…came up from the gutter / The wrong side of the tracks. [28]

And nobody told Motörhead what to do. For these soon to be amigos, achieving commercial success was a component of survival. More importantly it was also a validation – a fist in the face of all detractors in whatever form they manifested. Those who said they’d never.

While the NME quoted Lemmy’s deathless declaration, “If we moved in next door your lawn would die,” they also promoted the results of a listeners poll, labelling Motörhead “the best worst band in the world.”

“Motorhead was all about the groove,” Eddie reminisced. “One of those headlines we had, ‘Worst band in the world’, but it was in big letters. I mean that was fucking great… the kids were turning up. ‘I want to see the worst band in the world, they must be great!’” [29]

Ace Of Spades was Motörhead’s first record to be certified in the UK for gold status, meaning it had sold 100,000 copies in that territory alone. No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith shared a similar success, where the self titled, as well as Bronze Age offerings Overkill, Bomber, Iron Fist, and the greatest compilation in the world, No Remorse all achieved Silver status by transcending the 60,000 sales mark. That the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre EP recorded in collaboration with Girlschool would exceed sales of 200,000 is a story for another day, and an event, which at the end of 1980, which was still part of a future yet to be realised.

The artist’s image is simultaneously critical and completely superfluous to the success of their music. For some acts, image it seems, is all they have, yet we all know Motörhead were far more complex than aesthetics would intimate. Motörhead’s image suited the band to perfection; legitimate, it aged relative to its members. These wild west outlaws, captured on the cover of their breakthrough LP were definitely a force to be reckoned. The band aspired to traipse over to the USA for a shoot in a desert, yet found themselves in a quarry of sorts in Chipping Barnet – possibly meaning a lot more to UK residents proximate to this area than those who are not. It wasn’t quite the Arizona desert that the band may have hoped – more of a wild, vaguely north-west of London kinda scene. The conviction of Lemmy, Eddie and Philthy is what carries this shot however. The difference of location, in my opinion would have been negligible. Bullets, studs, leather, ponchos; a truly sinister facade with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly as likely inspiration. The trio presented with indomitable clout. Their planets aligned.

MOTORHEAD-Ace

Motörhead did get to the US for the Ace Of Spades tour which kicked off on April 19th, which saw the trio perform 47 shows across North America. They also secured distribution for the Spades record via Mercury, and did manage to hit Arizona toward the latter part of June, 1981. Their desert dreams by then less urgent.

The Mercury tracklist was sequenced differently to the Bronze version, the primary variation between the US and rest-of-world versions being that Ace Of Spades became the lead cut on side B, and Chase was moved from side B, track 5 to the record’s opening declaration. The US cover featured a tiny Motörhead logo – almost like a little halo above Philthy’s head, and a recent reissue opted for a slightly different image from the original shoot.

What did Lemmy say in the US when he couldn’t say, “Track 1 side B, Fire Fire” one wonders?

Vic Maile worked with the Kinks, Hawkwind, Amon Düül and Girlschool to name but a few; was an unassuming character who, as Ace Of Spades testifies, brought forth the magic from Motörhead, driving greater performances, and a more polished craft, without sacrificing the essence of their diabolical intent.

The ever hilarious guitarist “Fast” Eddie told Uncut Magazine:

“[Vic Maile] didn’t drink, he didn’t smoke, and he was very delicate because he was diabetic. He had to have his Ryvita at six o’clock. We couldn’t get heavy with him, couldn’t fucking shake him, you know what I mean? He might die! So we had to listen to him.” [30]

I love this idea that shaking the engineer was an appropriate way to get your message across. And while Vic survived any physical dressing down, pre-production sessions for 1916 some ten years later saw things get a little hazy between Lemmy and Ramones producer Ed Stasium. Somewhere between an upturned chair, The Rainbow’s sound system and an apparent lack of bass, the two parties separated; Pete Solley eventually handling the production for the band’s first Grammy award nominated opus.

But that’s been written with more authority elsewhere, and not entirely important at this point in time.

Ace Of Spades b/w Dirty Love hit the streets a week prior to the full length, and if peaking at #13 was a bad omen, it wasn’t immediately evident what it was that confounded Motörhead who continued to bring the hammer down, night after night to rapturous applause.

The Clarke, Kilmister, Taylor trilogy would dissolve less than two years after the release of Ace of Spades which unsurprisingly became the cut almost entirely synonymous with the band. Fast-forward 15 years from this point, and July 16, 1995 would see the filming of the Classic Albums special which explored and celebrated Ace Of Spades. Essential viewing, it is also peculiar to see the trio assembled in this context; banging out vintage Motörhead for the first time, in a long time. If there was friction, it wasn’t overly evident; what was however was the chasm between their road ready exteriors; Lemmy’s seemingly invincible facade never failing to project battle ready status.

This one is dedicated to little Philthy. This is called The Hammer!”

One of the great ironies of the most exceptional live LP ever recorded, is that while it was recorded in England, surrounded by maniacs, as the sleeve notes declare, it was not recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon as the title would reasonably imply. In fact, of the five dates that comprised the Short Sharp Pain In The Neck tour that kicked off on March 27th (fortunately Phil had been liberated of his neck brace by this time),  not a single show took place, nor was any imaginary show recorded, in the hallowed halls of the Odeon. The Newcastle shows of March 29th and 30th are essentially what comprise the Hammersmith LP; a couple of selections from the Leeds show of the 28th made the grade, another five finding their way onto the 2001 2CD edition. Eddie was understood to be whelmed by said CD reissue, suggesting the record was perfect the way it was originally released. Fans of the day agreed that the first official live album was stainless, and Hammersmith, headed by Ace Of Spades and closing with Motörhead, debuted at #1 on the UK charts. The band were touring the US at the time, California, when they received a call with the news. The Vic Maile live production has never been bettered by Motörhead, and the band certainly gave live records a compelling position in their official output.

Get On (Off) The Bus.

Iron Fist  rates as one of Motörhead’s most exalted cuts, yet as an album, it drew criticism from a from all quarters – the band included.

Long before Cameron Webb made the scene, and Motörhead declared allegiance to one single producer, they had certainly given it a go with Vic Maile. Versions as to why the band ceased working with Maile differ, and it’s probably simplest to cite this shift as an imperfect storm. Eddie had recently produced the Tank debut Filth Hounds of Hades, and dissatisfaction with the initial tracking of Iron Fist had been expressed. And in the spirit of the rapid escalation, Eddie assumed production duties of the band’s 5th studio endeavor. Though the album peaked at the #6 position, and leads with what I’d claim to be Motörhead’s greatest ever song, there was rot in this amigo romance.

Lemmy shared during the course of documentary film The Guts and the Glory:

“I was pissed off ’cause we let Eddie produce it. I wasn’t at the time, though. Fair play. But it became obvious after it was released; I sort of sobered up and realized it was garbage – most of it. And there’s at least three songs on there that weren’t even finished. We just finished them in the studio, you know, like cobbled it together. It just was a substandard album. But the trouble is how do you follow a live album that went straight in at #1?” [31]

The Iron Fist single, backed with Remember Me, I’m Gone offered a better pairing of tracks than at least two that made the studio long player, yet made little headway where commercial endurance was concerned. Motörhead certainly not the first band to experience fortunes misaligned to the relative excellence of their craft.

Fast Eddie’s first Motörhead production was practically his last – at least from a completed session point of view. Iron Fist was also to be the guitarist’s final full length with the band he joined just six years earlier. Clarke played his terminal show at the New York Palladium on May 14th of 1982, and as is so often the case, left the band with neither pomp, nor ceremony.

The story for this occurrence habitually snakes back to the tracking of the Stand By Your Man sessions that Motörhead undertook with Plasmatics members Wendy O Williams, Richie Stotts and Wes Beech. Eddie reportedly abandoned the sessions he had signed on to produce, and perform on – an assembly which manifested in three unexpected and decidedly feral expulsions, led by the Tammy Wynette and Billy Sherrill classic, Stand by Your Man. I don’t know if Wynette ever heard the Wendy O/Lemmy O rendition, but I’d hazard it wasn’t a vision she had conceived for her song.

Those assembled for the sessions also cut No Class by Motörhead, with Wendy O on vocals, and Masterplan by the Plasmatics with Lemmy at the helm. Kilmister’s satisfaction with the experience seemed to outweigh the captured results, but experience, and perception is relative to whomever undertakes it. Considering the overwhelming success of the HeadGirl collaboration on Please Don’t Touch, over 200,000 copies sold in the UK alone, coupled with Lemmy’s admiration of Wendy O, the mathematical motivation ain’t hard.

Eddie reflected on his last show as an official member of Motörhead. And while everyone knows that your final show with Motörhead isn’t necessarily your final show with Motörhead, in May of 1982, this precedent was yet to be established.

“After the show – which I thought was terrible, the agent, Nick Harris came to me and said, ‘Why don’t we go and talk to Phil and Lemmy? and I said, ‘Okay,’ because I didn’t want to leave,  it was the last thing I wanted. So he takes me into their dressing room, and it’s full… The Plasmatics, everybody’s in there. And they peel away from the crowd down the end of the dressing room, and I’m standing with Nick Harris and they [Lemmy and Phil] say, ‘Yeah, what do you want?’ and I said, ‘Well guys, this is a bit over the top, isn’t it? Can’t we just carry on? What’s the problem here?!’ They said, ‘No, man, fuck off.’ And that was it. What could I do? So I walked out, and that was the end of it.” [32]

This occurred just two days after the Live in Toronto special [33] was filmed. It’s evident that the band are a little looser that one may desire, but the footage wouldn’t necessarily suggest anything to be out of order. Out of tune, out of time? In the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll – absolutely. Motörhead, just as we like it, fast and loose!

Eddie would rejoin Motörhead on stage a number of times over the years. The first engagement most proximate to the demise of the three amigos line up, was the legendary Birthday Party concert from 1985, in which the quartet celebrated ten years of Motörhead. The show, which was captured for both prosperity, and for release on VHS video, featured the entire cast of Motörhead, and a couple of additional luminaries.

From the audio of The Birthday Party:

“I don’t know, I don’t think Larry Wallis has made it, but apart from that we have everyone who has ever been in Motörhead on this stage right now. And one bloke who has never been in Motörhead in his life, Phil Lynott. Who is warble warble ever going to get. He couldn’t resist, he’s a publicity ligger just like me. This is called Motörhead, thank you for the last ten years.” [34]

Motörhead, the song, now 12 years since it was conceived, had aged really well. The right degree of speed and ferocity was applied in this arena. Have another stick of gum! If I ever wrote a book about Motörhead, that’s what it would be called.

Eddie has expressed varied degrees of lament that things didn’t work out with his good self in the band, and naturally, journalists like to ask what if questions. Lemmy’s position was different to Eddie’s as you may expect. After all, Kilmister never stopped the Motörhead warmachine. Lemmy was asked in 2011 by Guitar International if he’d consider reuniting with Philthy and Eddie:

“No, because these two guys with me now [Phil Campbell, Mikkey Dee] have been with me longer than the original two. They played Ace Of Spades more often than those two. They played Overkill more often than those two. Why should I put Phil and Mikkey on hold to go off with guys who probably can’t play them as well? They’ve been out of practice. It’s ridiculous to think of it. Then I would be a nostalgia act. I’m all for the now and the future.” [35]

Lemmy wasn’t only loyal to the here and now, his affections for the guitar player he work with for 35 years was suitably captured by Mick Wall, “…he plays very, very good guitar and he’s my brother.” [35A]

There is no question that a huge part of what inspires this impression of classic Motörhead is largely reliant on this image of Lemmy, Eddie and Philthy. Each a frontman in their own way; they represented an overdriven, blues soaked pyramid of power. They were also wildly successful from a commercial point of view – where that barometer is measured by album sales, concert attendance and the validation that the mainstream music charts gave bands during this age. To suggest that Motörhead’s glory days were behind them is naive at best. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we stuck around for the music, for the rush, not because the mainstream media, or commercial music business endorsed our most revered.

In a swift five years, the band had progressed through questioning whether they should continue, right through to producing their own 1977 exit strategy, to winding up on top of the mainstream charts. With Eddie’s extraction into the New York night, Lemmy and Philthy were left wondering, “What’s next?”

Another Perfect Day. Oh, the irony!

While ex-Thin Lizzy and Wild Horses guitar player Brian “Robbo” Robertson would sign as Motörhead’s third official guitarist, word is that Steve “Lips” Kudlow from Canadian proto thrash metal ensemble Anvil was offered the gig.

“I was asked to join Motörhead in the early eighties,” Kudlow reflected. His response, “No. I’m in Anvil.” [36]

It’s not as left of centre an idea as the reported approach from former W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes, to whom Lemmy reportedly responded by saying “Chris, are you serious? I wouldn’t play with you for a second.” [37]

For my money Another Perfect Day is a colossal Motörhead record; I am eternally grateful for its existence, and that Lemmy and Philthy elected to onboard the Scottish wildman they knew as Robbo. But history has a habit of reinventing itself, and astute watchers of the passages of time will keenly observe the drama of certain events are amplified, relative to the angst experienced by the teller of the tale.

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Alan Burridge’s incredible Motörhead Magazine, Volume #6 recalls the first occasion he met Robbo, and was privy to a rehearsal session where the band performed the track that would become I Got Mine.

When asked by Lemmy for his opinion, the fan club manager responded, “What can I say? It’s brilliant. It’s the best you’ve done for years!”

Lemmy: “Yeah, but we’ve got a decent guitarist now! Ha Ha!” [38]

And there isn’t a weak spot on Another Perfect Day. It may not have spawned an Ace Of Spades, Overkill, or Iron Fist but it was as close to consistently perfect from start to finish as any Motörhead record had ever been. Further, Robbo seemed to understand exactly how one plays lead guitar in a band like Motörhead. I’d argue the guitarist made the greatest impact with the band in the least amount of time. There was no rule book for Motörhead, I think Robbo’s approach was without peer.

Another Perfect Day, outside bearing the utopian Motörhead production, positions Lemmy’s bass and vocal at the centre of this sonic universe, grinding effortlessly through the course of the band’s most melodious adventure to date. Underpinned by Philthy’s fast and loose, laid back attack (more physically than literally), Robertson wove guitar wizardry around these static elements, conjuring an experience musically thrilling, but highly visual also. If there was ever a goal to find the optimal way to perform with a bass player of Lemmy’s style, Robbo found it, and fast. He didn’t compete for the headline, he simply added his own performance to the pre-existing dynamic.

The complexities that Motörhead experienced with Robbo were kind of ironic when evaluating some of the specifics. While he contributed to thrilling, and visually rich arrangements, it was his appearance that seemed to rankle the band, and particularly their fans. He didn’t want to play the band’s most exalted material, and he definitely didn’t plan on looking like a member of Motörhead. Those who recall Eddie’s anecdote of getting the gig, will capture a sense of what the trio required, and importantly, what the band’s legions of Motörheadbangers desired.

“It was a Saturday morning, I’m laying in bed, in me flat. There’s this banging on the fucking door; I thought the door was gonna cave in!” Eddie explains. “It’s eight in the morning, and I’d only just gone to bed. So I jump up, and I get to the door, and there’s Lemmy standing there. He’s got a bullet belt in one hand, and a leather jacket in the other. And he hands them to me, and says, ‘You’ve got the job,’ and walks off. It was fucking classic.” [39]

Robbo was also reported to like a drink. Nothing unusual from Motörhead’s point of view, the endorsement only running as deep as the performance was virtuous. His attire offended his hosts; some of whom may have ranked among …all the Angels in here… and ultimately, he had to go.

In just 18 months, Robbo’s tenure in Motörhead was concluded; Philthy’s nine year stint coming to an end not long after, in February of 1984. Philthy made one performance with the twin guitar lineup that featured Wurzel and Phil Campbell that year, appearing as part of Motörhead on acclaimed TV show the Young Ones. Not only was Bambi the best episode of the show which aired in May of the same year, it was a rollicking good setting for the band, despite all the noise and uncertainty tethered to the troupe at that time.

Philthy had left Motörhead for the first time, but fear not, he would return – his reign of terror far from complete.

It’s fair to say that Another Perfect Day soured in the eyes of the band members, and particularly the fans. Motörhead didn’t turn their backs on it completely however, and tracks like Shine, I Got Mine and Dancing On Your Grave were performed through the mid 90s – as late as 2006. Another benefit of enduring for 40 years, you can always return to classic cuts from deep in your catalogue; at least once the stench has lifted.

Lemmy told the German crowd who witnessed the filming of the StageFright DVD in 2004, “This is from our most hated album ever… It’s called Another Perfect Day. (Crowd cheers.) I see it’s improved with age (laughs).” [40]

Time has been kind to this record; propelled by one of artist Joe Petagno’s most hellish visions to date. Whichever way you slice it, it’s essential Motörhead.

Phil Campbell’s band of the day, Persian Risk, performed with Motörhead on November 11th of 1983 at the Metropol in Berlin. Interestingly, the date coincides with Robbo’s final show as guitarist in the band. This was at least Campbell’s second encounter with Kilmister, who he first experienced when requesting an autograph at a Hawkwind show, a sound decade earlier. While Mr. Campbell didn’t know it as the November 11th show wrapped up, the universe was trying to direct the Welsh guitarist somewhere specific. The message would be received soon enough.

Just call me Snaggletooth!

In February of 1984, Lemmy auditioned two guitarists. Well they auditioned eight guitarists before this particular audition, but two were important. One can only imagine how many submissions they received for an opportunity to be even heard by Motörhead, let alone considered for the gig.

Michael “Wurzel” Burston included a letter along with his tape which read, “I hear you’re looking for an unknown guitarist. Well there’s nobody more unknown than me.” [41] Not hard to imagine the sort of impression that would have made. It’s a fine example of the type of humour Wurzel would also inject into the band.

Wurzel had been part of a short-lived band called Bastard (talk about planets aligning), and Philip Campbell was ready and willing to move on from Persian Risk, the band who three short months earlier opened for Motörhead in Germany.

Legend has it that an immediate decision as to which of the the two guitarists to proceed with did not present itself, and left to their own devices, they were overheard attempting to resolve how the pair could share the guitar parts between them. At last, the Larry Wallis vision of an MC4 was realised, and Motörhead became a twin guitar band.

With Philthy keen to follow Brian Robertson into another band – a goal not actualised until 1986 when Taylor and Robinson briefly joined forces in Operator, former Saxon drummer Pete Gill entered the fray in time for the band to record new material for the No Remorse compilation of 1984.   

Bronze Records felt the band’s halcyon days had passed, and angled for a compilation LP. Lemmy, in his infinite wisdom, agreed, but insisted on bookending each of the vinyl records’ four sides with a brand new cut. Six exemplary new tracks were captured in those May sessions, which ran a scant six days, allowing the band to debut the studio prowess of this new version of Motörhead when No Remorse hit the street, on September 15th that year.

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Now comprised of a 75% new line up. The fruits of the No Remorse labor including Killed By Death, Snaggletooth, Locomotive, Steal Your Face, Under The Knife (Slow Version), Under The Knife (Fast Version). The LP version was adorned with the first four cuts only, and Killed by Death became one of the most frequently performed Motörhead tracks ever. Considering Overkill was unleashed five years prior, one could argue that statistically, it was second only to Ace Of Spades.

Backed by arguably Motörhead’s most legendary video for Killed By Death (I’m So Bad a close contender) – Lemmy seen bursting through the wall of a suburban home on his motorbike, joined on the pillion by the daughter of two aghast looking parents, in what is best described as the height of 80s teen rebellion. Born with the Hammer down, built for speed indeed!

I am the one, Orgasmatron!

August 1986, some two and a half years after Mr. Campbell and Mr. Wurzel auditioned for Motörhead, the band’s inaugural four piece debut manifested on GWR, or Great Western Road – a label created by the band’s management team, Doug Smith and Dave Simmons, in conjunction with Ray Richards of Legacy Records. The label was named after the location of the GWR offices, and operated for approximately five years.

Led by Orgasmatron from 1986, Motörhead followed with Rock ‘n’ Roll in 1987, No Sleep At All in 1988, and The Birthday Party – which was licensed to a host of international labels including Roadrunner Records, and released in 1990, some five years after it was captured. A similar period of time was experienced between the Live In Brixton release and the What’s Words Worth LP in which the band performed as Iron Fist and the Hordes From Hell. interestingly, none of these were specifically endorsed by the band, and aren’t to be confused with the 13 official Motörhead live albums.

Add to four full lengths, approximately three singles, which included the Ace Of Spades b/w Dogs, and Traitor live EP which was withdrawn due to a disagreement with the band. It has been posited that this even led to the band disengaging with the label, but events that lead to a band seeking detachment from their label are rarely as binary as this would suggest.

While 1987’s Rock ‘n Roll was a tidy LP, indirectly reuniting Lemmy with the silver screen, Orgasmatron is the oft debated, but righteously worshipped platter that continues to inspire fevered discussion. Featuring artist Joe Petagno’s greatest realisation of Snaggletooth, the aesthetic is rightfully best aligned to the originally slated title Ridin’ With The Driver. I would love to know what Joe would have conjured for the record, had he known it was to become Orgasmatron. I wonder how this would have further been influenced by producer Bill Laswell and his vision of what Motörhead should sound like. It’s not a typical sounding Motörhead record. It’s as though Bill Laswell’s imagining for successful execution of the title track was applied to the head and tail of the record, while it’s only the guts of it that staggers proximate to what I expect the band were vying for.

Motorhead-Orgasmatron

I’ll be eternally confounded by the conflict between the traditional Motörhead expression and the decidedly metallic (literally speaking) tone. The reverby drums a highlight, the scratchy guitars and limited bass, not so much. Lyrically it’s exceptional, vocals sound perfect –  overall, it’s an unquestioned classic. Is it possible, I wonder, to have made Orgasmatron the track it was, without applying the same brittle tone to a significant part of the remaining cuts? Orgasmatron deserves hallowed status even if for one solitary feature – it includes one of the truly great Motörhead sequences: Claw, Mean Machine and Built For Speed. Can you tell me where three other songs flowed so perfectly together?

Built For Speed, other than possessing of the most legendarily sleazy ass riffs, also features some righteous drum fills. Speed proves that it doesn’t need to be fast in order to be heavy. Lemmy’s bass meanders through some great runs, amplifying the melody through the bottom end, and the song is an overall vision of the open road, the wind in your hair, and the fuck you in the fists.

Were to look up “wild abandon” in the encyclopedia, you’d be likely to find our protagonist, Mr. Kilmister staring back at you. It’s not hard to love rock ‘n’ roll when cuts such as this are the gifts we are given in its name. Deaf Forever indeed!

Remember me I’m Gone.

Pete Gill joined Brian Robertson and Larry Wallis as Motörhead members who committed themselves only to a single studio LP; Gill differentiated in that he was in the band for the longest of the trio, spending three years in the lineup before parting in what was reportedly acrimonious circumstances. This opened the portal for Philthy to return to his rightful throne, as commander of the fast and loose in Motörhead. This allowed him to be featured on the Rock ‘n’ Roll LP as well as in the Peter Richardson directed black comedy, Eat The Rich. The soundtrack of which features no less than six Motörhead cuts, as well as a Wurzel solo offering. Three of the Young Ones cast were involved in the film – Motörhead’s second engagement with the renowned comedians. Philthy almost bookending his departure and return to the band in the company of Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer.

I’m in love with Rock ‘n’ Roll, it satisfies my soul…

Rock ‘n’ Roll was Motörhead’s eighth studio LP, and it hit the streets in September of 1987. Calling it solid doesn’t really do it justice; but it’s noteworthy that beyond the title track of the comedy the band appeared in, which in turn became the lead single, Eat The Rich, is the most remarkable composition on offer. Petagno’s reimagining of his immortal Warpig seemingly had little to do with the LP theme, despite it being one of the greatest presentations of the most feted heavy music icon. Note to self, take a look at the cover upside down. Is it better? Does it make more sense?

It’s also not the first time that a B side was a little on the superior side to some of the album’s material. Just ‘Cos You Got the Power was one of the band’s ten most played live cuts of all time – ahead of even Bomber. Naturally, songs aren’t designed to be hits – at least not in the domain of credible artists who create music as per the direction of their compulsion, so this remains an interesting detail, and little else. Somewhat resonant of the Killed By Death single from three years earlier; that  Just ‘Cos You Got the Power could have fit on to Rock ‘n’ Roll isn’t to say it should have, but I doubt anyone would have lamented its inclusion.

Motörhead had a stab at recording the live follow up to not only their greatest commercial success to date, but the most visceral live LP to ever be forged on to vinyl. I am of course talking about No Sleep Til Hammersmith – or in this case, its successor, No Sleep At All. No Sleep would be the final LP released by GWR, and Motörhead had more than one stab at getting it right.

“It’s my birthday tomorrow!” Lemmy declared from his pulpit during the recording of what would manifest as Live In Brixton, released by Roadrunner Records in 1994. Dissatisfied with what was tracked during the Brixton performance, the band would embark for Finland, and capture their sonic discharge at the Giants of Rock Festival, Hämeenlinna, at the dawn of July, 1988. While the record’s sleeve design made sense, it was unremarkable – by Hammersmith or the standard of any preceding Motörhead releases. Motörhead would release over ten official live albums, and countless other recordings from shows around the world. What they captured on No Sleep Til Hammersmith wasn’t to be repeated. No Sleep At All did however allow Motörhead to kick out live versions of cuts composed in the seven years beyond their first #1 UK album.

Listeners can get a great sense of Lemmy’s self deprecating humor through these recordings; his reverence for those who gathered night after night to experience the band’s semi harnessed chaos, and his affection for his musical co-conspirators. If truth is captured in these unrehearsed moments, Lemmy was a fella who laid his soul bare.

The LA Trilogy – Fog, for Smog.

A new decade – a new horizon. While the early 90s was both cruel and merciless to most of the top-of-the-heap metal bands of the day, Motörhead were men of conviction, and just as they had for the first 15 years of their existence, they continued to be Motörhead. The only real difference was location. Motörhead in a sunnier climate sounded like a band who’d left their dreary homeland behind.

With the GWR legal matters resolved, Motörhead were free to ink another deal. This time, their home was to be Sony subsidiary Epic/WTG. Even those foggy on the minutiae of Motörhead’s history can probably predict that this relationship with a major label wasn’t going to be sustainable – remember, Motörhead wasn’t a band that were told what to do. It may be unfair to say that greater contempt would have been doled out to major label personnel, than other perhaps well meaning individuals, but our Lemmy was not one to suffer fools. And fools were what he reportedly found during this experience.

I make love to mountain lions, sleep on red hot branding irons!

I love the absurd. From what I can tell, Lemmy did also. The opening line from what is absolutely one of my fave Motörhead tracks I’m So Bad (Baby I Don’t Care) brings me equal parts pleasure and amusement. The very notion of getting your swerve on with a mountain lion is so preposterous, but so righteously staunch. Forget the song, the line itself reveals all you need to know as to why being a Motörhead fan rules. Oh and what a song. What a video! [42]

1916 isn’t an album that divides Motörhead fans. The lamentous ode that concludes the album has its detractors, but I also like to think of this more as a personal preference, rather than any contempt for what Lemmy conjured here. The title track conveys such a forceful and vivid scene, of tragedy, loss and futility. It is certainly soul stirring. A hundred years on from the Battle Of Somme, the inspiration for this offering, seems little about humanity has changed. Not surprising that Lemmy would return to themes of war, religion and politics time and time again.

1916

Rounded out by March Or Die, and Bastards, the three records that form this triumvirate have a decidedly bright, luminous tone. Motörhead’s delivery as radiant as the LA skyline – that yellow freeway haze a perfect metaphor for the band’s filthy overtone. Remember, this ain’t no California dreaming (in the popular sense).

Though 1916 was composed through the lens of Lemmy being a Los Angelean aspirant, he may as well have already worn a trough between his apartment and the Rainbow, when considering how American this record feels. These are also the first chapters to introduce the Motörhead ballad and while this term is applied as a generalisation, it helps to illustrate the key difference between classic Motörhead rock ‘n’ roll and the moodier, more bombastic, subtle/dramatic orchestrations. Of particular note Lemmy’s more organic singing style; if there was any confusion over his place of origin, this delivery quashed that immediately. The polar opposite of his habitual roar.

1916 is also the most feted of these three records. The band’s first major label record was followed by a second, and final for Epic – March or Die, which saw that courtship come to an end, and Motörhead make the seemingly abstract decision to partner with German dance label ZYX. They made an excellent record in Bastards, and oh, the irony of a greater deal for the band resulting in underwhelmingly representation from a distribution and sales perspective.

It’s difficult to ascertain whether the shift in fanaticism that clouded the full length LPs of ‘92 and ‘93 was to do with the songs themselves, or whether there was a sense of the stink of mainstream wiping its filthy hands over this coveted act. But something was amiss, and the band would enter something of a lull in fervor, despite the standard of their records bearing no tarnish.

Where 1916 is plainly referenced as a Motörhead classic, the two that came in its wake are equally as accomplished, but for contrasting reasons. Bastards vacillates between being a ballsy, hard rock record, and a polished vehicle to deliver the band’s most focused speed metal expulsions to date. The sequence of this album amplifies its potency – becoming distinctly more textured as it progresses. You’ll hear the fanatics talking about Burner or Death Or Glory, but the B side is rife with hidden treasures. We Bring The Shake belongs among the band’s finest choruses, and the surreal Lost In the Ozone has an almost dream like aura – rich and melodious.

March or Die is not surprisingly a logical progression from 1916, and while stylistically more readily aligned to Bastards, the theme of the title track closes the album out in a similar manner to its predecessor. It’s important to listen to these records in the order they were cut; there’s a clear progression to be witnessed. The ‘92 long player was also notable in that Philthy left the band for the second, and final time during the recording of March Or Die; his final show executed March 28th, 1992 at Irvine Meadows, California.

Tommy Aldridge (Ozzy, Gary Moore, and Whitesnake among others) completed the tracking of the band’s 1992 opus. Exceptions coming from Mikkey Dee’s performance on Hellraiser and Philthy’s last studio impression, captured on the Ozzy and Slash collaboration of I Ain’t No Nice Guy, which was originally written by Lemmy, for his pal and former countryman, Ozzy Osbourne. The double O cutting it on his No More Tears LP from 1991.

To add to the chaos of this time, March… was recorded during the 1992 Los Angeles riots to a backdrop of Hollywood ablaze. If you can imagine such a setting! The Pete Solley production, quite polished relative to some of the band’s more impure sounding offerings of yore. Motörhead also decided to fire their manager, Doug Banker, electing to entrust their collective futures with the unproven, but determined Todd Singerman. Singerman would manage the band for the next 23 years, and if you knew who you were looking for, he was readily spotted with the trio, becoming like family to Lemmy. Despite being publicly averse to the sanctity of marriage, Lemmy was staunchly passionate about family. Whether Singerman, his band mates Phil and Mikkey, his girlfriend of twenty years, or his son, Mr. Paul Inder who featured in that profound, and clearly unscripted moment of Lemmy: The Movie, captured by producers Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski, where he cited his son as the precious thing in his apartment – Lemmy’s loyalty was never in question. The infamous Road Crew were elevated, and Motörhead persisted in touring, even where they were plagued with sickness. Letting the fans down wasn’t part of equation. I can’t think of another band who held their fans in higher regard.

It’s not to say that Motörhead would never roll snake eyes however. Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me, from March Or Die is a track that seems to partition fans. Stirring, poignant – it is both these things, but I don’t think Lemmy was the right person to deliver this consideration. You could argue that he knew that – his name wasn’t at the top of his list of preferred vocalists – Joan Jett and Lita Ford never coming online to perform it as hoped. I admire that the desire to distribute the message of the song overwhelmed any concerns as to who was best to front it, and I respect creative conviction above all.

Burner anyway!

Mikkey Dee was the last person to join Motörhead. Making his live debut on August 30, 1992, he was the final member who would be inducted into the band. Of Greek and Swedish parentage, Dee was best known for earlier performances in King Diamond, and Dokken. A powerhouse drummer, Dee gave Motörhead a precision that wasn’t earlier evident in the band’s output; an on-the-beat attack, and an approach he once described as more musically correct.

It is Dee’s drumming that contributed to setting Bastards up as the rip-roarer it is – Mikkey’s performance and style, which captured here as it was, proves to be one of his most formidable. This isn’t to say he never played better, only that he really nailed it here, and the production of this 1993 full length was favourable to his performance style, as well as for fans of more organic sounding drums.

Motorhead-Bastards

Hellraiser turned up in the third instalment of the Pinhead horror movie saga, while Born To Raise Hell was the party anthem of the year, amplified by Lemmy’s appearance in Airheads as former editor of the school magazine. A noble celebration of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion as only  American cinema could convey it.  

The pain is on you now, do not consider flight for gain.

If Dee was the last member to join Motörhead, Wurzel was the last to leave. Sacrifice, which was released July 1995, represented the first fruits of the band’s 13 year lock-in with German label Steamhammer/SPV, and sadly, Wurzel’s last strike. Motörhead would of course march on from this, and I’ll refer to Wurzel’s departure as a disappointment, rather than a set back. It was understood that Lemmy took Wurzel’s withdrawal the hardest. But like Motörhead’s fallen soldiers before him, Wurzel would again make the stage with the band he called home for 11 years.

1995 was rounded out with a bash for Lemmy’s 50th birthday, where some band called Metallica performed as The Lemmy’s for Kilmister’s birthday. What an incredible honour to pay to a band the San Franciscans had drawn so much influence from. Those intimate with Metallica’s early days will be au fait with Lars Ulrich’s fanaticism for Motörhead, and I struggle to think of a single more significant tribute.

Three decidedly different amigos.

Comparing Eddie Clarke to Phil Campbell  is like comparing reason and fundamentalism – other than being guitar players, and members of Motörhead, their playing styles and distinct roles in the band were considerably different. Though it’s fair to say that the progression of each was far from static, let’s allow for some generalities. Phil’s material was significantly denser than Eddie’s. As time wore on, Campbell was writing the majority of material for the band; less reliant on the all-in approach, and he definitely strayed from Eddie’s more blues based, resonant, and open chord style of playing. Phil’s blues orientations typically manifested in his overdriven lead playing, of which he is truly a master of his craft. Campbell also preferred to take more of a back seat approach, relative to his co-conspirators who worked the stage with significantly more presence and gusto. The Welsh guitarist certainly amplified his position on the left side of the stage beyond the unfortunate retirement of Wurzel, who I’d argue was a more aggressively visual player than Clarke and Campbell combined. Lemmy knew how to find a character, that’s for sure.

The bad boys stole your franchise, and stole your Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The opening cut of 1996’s Overnight Sensation is symbolic for a number of reasons. It’s a totally barnstorming riff, it’s a blueprint for the band’s overarching stylistic approach that would permeate their firebrand rock ‘n’ roll for the following 19 years, and with Mr. Campbell the sole guitarist, the band possessed clarity, which only served to make their live assaults bigger, badder and more sonic; never confusing volume for power. Motörhead inherited a more metallic overtone at this point – mostly channeled through Phil’s more fluid-than-thou riffs, and Mikkey’s on-the-beat attack. Records like Bastards had definitely delivered a speed metal rush, but fans were now graced with a sharper, more concise sounding trio.

motorhead-overnight-sensation-366-days-of-motorhead-cover

We’ve got the power, we’ve got the speed!

This is the part of the story where the wilderness is slowly tamed, where the trio who would be identified as Motörhead would remain a consolidated unit till the end of time. When the band were arguably at their lowest point commercially speaking, and they would demonstrate exactly what they were forged of. Grunge had peaked – not that Motörhead had been impacted by this expulsion of anti-establishment creativity, and nu-metal was manifest, but hadn’t quite captured mainstream music attention. The Classic Rock genre was still in its infancy, the massive US touring roadshows were proving lucrative, vinyl was deader than Elvis, and Motörhead released Snake Bite Love early in 1998.

Motörhead records range from great to fucking great, and it would be fair to say that the band’s third LP for Steamhammer wasn’t one for the tourists. Having said that, it would be misleading to suggest that this was a poor offering from the trio. The vertical logo notwithstanding. Phil, Mikkey and Lemmy made for a really tight three piece band, and though beyond Lemmy’s inimitable vocals, the style bears little of the Motörhead that burst out with Overkill, Bomber and (We Are) The Road Crew. The same sense of humour remained, but the band would take on a more ominous tone as the years wore on. The more Lemmy absorbed; through life, and through his insatiable love for reading, the richer the narrative, the denser his words, and the more dire his message.

Often asked if there is any unreleased material locked away in the vaults, Phil Campbell’s most pragmatic response directs people to the records of the 1995 to 1998 era; namely Sacrifice, Overnight Sensation and Snake Bite Love. And they could do with a little more love than they get. It pleases me to say that like all Motörhead records, time has been especially kind to each. It’s evident enough when each of the stars that comprise Motörhead’s constellation were recorded, but it would be naive to confuse the benefits of a contemporary studio sound, with an aimless attempt to appeal to the here and now.

Motorhead-Sacrifice-LP

We are Motörhead and we don’t have no class!

There’s a perverse pleasure I extract from artists who reference their songs within their songs, and it’s true that the impact of some of these timeless themes has been best appropriated by Motörhead.

“…this one is for me and Eddie. And this is called No Class.” [43]

Whether Lemmy believed this to be true is open to debate; and what exactly constitutes class in this sense is also up for discussion. For Motörhead’s legions, the band had it in spades. As the year 2000 warmed up, or cooled down, depending on your geographic location, Motörhead struck with what was arguably their most vital LP since Bastards from 1993. Tied together with the seemingly abstract Sex Pistols cover God Save The Queen, the record’s closing cut and title track was possibly the greatest egalitarian fistbanger since Road Crew. Motörhead literally stormed the gates like it was 1982 and that great mechanical Iron Fist was unfurling on the stage. And people heard it, and boy did they respond! Herr Petagno’s vision a war-torn siege, Snaggletooth a scythe-wielding fiend for blood. Motörhead were back on the UK charts for the first time since March Or Die and if there was a juncture where the spirit in old fans was rekindled, and new fans simultaneously awakened, this was it.

IMG_9969

To Motörhead’s immense credit, they sustained this drive and standard of output for the seven consecutive forays into the carpeted catacomb bands refer to as the studio. Hammered from 2002, Inferno from 2004, Kiss of Death from 2006, Motörizer from 2008, The Wörld Is Yours from 2010, Aftershock from 2013 and Bad Magic with its subjective forecast of the end, in 2015. And though it has a sense of foreboding, When The Sky Comes Looking For You is equally exhilarating. An exceptional closer to the band’s phenomenal forty year crusade. Bad Magic’s faithful rendition of The Rolling Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil so perfect on Lemmy’s lips at this point of his life. Their second run at a Rolling Stones classic, and sequentially speaking, the final studio output.

motorhead-bad-magic

The last six studio conjurations from Motörhead were all recorded by Cameron Webb; five of those captured; in part at least, at the same studio – NRG. This isn’t to say they lack their own distinct sound. It’s more a case of this being a collective body of work where the baseline is relatively constant. Same studio more or less, same line-up, same modus operandi. Less focus on discovery and more on the execution would be one description.

The band’s concentration gravitated toward writing great songs, composing riffs that honor Motörhead; remembering that there’s a significant difference between remaining loyal to your vision, and getting caught up in creating with others in mind – fans, labels, or future fans. Motörhead never bowed before the labels, the man, or any power higher than their craft. Authentic to the bone!

With that consistency of execution, builds the temptation that tracks from the records of the band’s final ten years are effectively interchangeable from one long player to the next. I don’t posit the idea that this is necessarily a bad thing; I believe there’s an inherent role in the way music is recorded in the digital age, the less volatile nature of equipment used – on stage and off. The music may not be any less erratic in the band’s latter years, but none of these offerings have Bill Laswell’s eccentric stamp as Orgasmatron was blessed (or cursed) with – depending on your point of view.

If you compare Bomber to Ace Of Spades to Another Perfect Day, Orgasmatron and 1916 or Bastards, these are decidedly different beasts. Shine was never going to appear on 1916, any more than Burner would have turned up on Ace Of Spades – forgetting for a moment that Burner emerged 13 years after. There’s a clear correlation between a tight and focused unit and their continued output. Another Perfect Day wasn’t only a glitch in the matrix because Robbo had joined the band. It was a time of chaos.

Motörhead live and loud in your lounge room.

Home video was a pretty novel concept throughout the 80s. I speculate that the production costs of filming and editing, coupled with the commercial production of the video tapes, distribution and shelf space all added to the cost, and inherent scarcity that existed prior to the new millennium. Motörhead’s legendary 1985 performance The Birthday Party was perfect for this format, and I’d venture that much of the charm of this colossal show is embossed in this overly complex tape format – generically known as VHS.

As the year 2000 rolled into view, there was a fairly rapid shift to the DVD format, and for a lot of bands the limitations of producing a marketable VHS release were decimated. This advent also coincided with Motörhead’s 25th Anniversary. Their Boneshaker DVD was recorded at the Brixton Academy toward the end of 2000, and released approximately a year later. Quite a deluxe presentation too, coupled with an audio disc and further features captured at the Wacken festival in Germany during August 2001. Like The Birthday Party from 15 years earlier, the show featured a suite of guests: Lemmy’s son, Paul Inder; Phil’s son, Todd Campbell, who would co-write what is arguably the band’s best cut of their final decade in Going Down. Brian May, Doro Pesch, Whitfield Crane and Fast Eddie all found their places on the stage for a truly incredible event.

The aforementioned Classic Rock genre had matured, and this coincided with the European festival circuit gaining increased potency – escalating artists such as Motörhead to the elder statesmen of these events. Motörhead were once again on the ascent, and the fire that was lit under fans past, present and future was never to burn out. Congruent with Motörhead’s indomitable convictions, there was no chance they could have become a parody of themselves. If sustainability, purity of purpose and doing what you love are the virtues that perpetuate success and longevity, Motörhead was never in question.

Boneshaker wasn’t the only DVD Motörhead would produce, and when one reviews the live shows made available for home viewing, Motörhead’s history goes all the way back to 1982, when Live in Toronto was captured. Only days out from Eddie’s departure from the band, the lead in footage of the band is gold. Lemmy and Philthy comedians till the end! The show is loose, but that’s how we like it right?

Deaf Not Blind from 1984 housed a set of live in the studio clips, as well as Motörhead’s official videos of the day. Killed By Death no doubt blowing minds!

The Birthday Party celebrated Motörhead’s tenth anniversary, and the hour long show featured the cast of Motörhead past and present (Larry didn’t make the stage, but he was definitely there). Any questions pertaining to Motörhead’s vitality in a post Eddie, post Robbo world were truly crushed, and by virtue of distribution, the world didn’t need to wait to catch the band in order to experience it. There’s never been an official DVD release of this. A crying shame.

The European leg of the 1916 tour saw the creation of Everything Louder Than Everyone Else, and as it’s peppered with interviews with the band, and random anecdotes of life as a member of Motörhead, it’s definitely more entertaining than a live show alone. Philthy an inventor? Who knew. He evidently did, and Everything Louder… introduced all of us into that dimension of his already complex personality.

2011 and 2012 would see two more live sets making the scene – The Wörld Is Ours – Vol. 1: Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else and The Wörld Is Ours – Vol. 2: Anyplace Crazy as Anywhere Else. Captured in Chile, New York and Manchester, Volume 1 trades off the main arena event with the band’s triumphant return to Wacken, Germany for Volume 2 – almost a spiritual home for the trio. Additional UK footage, and further South American fanaticism also featured.

Divisive for entirely different reasons, the 2016 posthumus release Clean Your Clock which captured some of the band’s final shows was filmed on November 20th and 21st at the Zenith in Munich, Germany. It was challenging for many fans in that there are lot of people who didn’t wish to see our hero in such a frail condition. I have little interest in waging some debate over whose interests were being served at this point in time, but let’s acknowledge that it was Lemmy’s dream to spend his life doing what he loved – and he did exactly that. Clean Your Clock the communication of his incredible life in its twilight.

Remember Me I’m Gone.

Lemmy was one of those people whose reputation preceded him. More often than not, that reputation would, I’d argue, be misaligned with his actual salt of the earth persona. I never met the man, but did have the good fortune to see Motörhead perform in both the UK and Australia. From the outpouring of emotion and reverence, I’d argue the man who sang those songs we spin with wild abandon was pretty much exactly as he presented himself – particularly to those who liked the cut of his jib. Without pretense, philosophical – a realist and one who was comfortable articulating himself in relatively simple terms.

I didn’t watch the live stream of the memorial, and while I’m sure there were a countless parade of luminaries sharing anecdotes and reflections of their individual experiences with Lemmy, my intersection with the man lies in my passion for the hundreds of songs he and his musical conspirators unleashed. People today are so concerned with authenticity – this guy was as real as you’re likely to get. Same could be said for Larry, Philthy, Eddie, Robbo, Wurzel, Mikkey and Phil – the latter pair I expect profoundly affected by Lemmy’s seemingly rapid decline. Motörhead felt like a band that would march on forever, naive a notion as that is.

Electing to play nothing but Motörhead for the entire 366 days that comprise 2016 seems a fitting tribute to a band I’ve long cited as my favourite, fronted by a personality who always inspires a “fuck yeah!” from me. I can’t even explain exactly why that is – simply feels right, feels true. It’s a rush that never fades. No one was ever embarrassed by what Motörhead released or where they found themselves on their journey. As trite as it sounds, they were the real deal. For Lemmy’s part in that, I’m grateful.

Motörhead for life!

motorhead-chartA chart identifying the correct way to rate all Motörhead records.

References:

Reference Source Link
1 Lemmy: The Definitive Biography, by Mick Wall .Publisher: Orion Publishing Co. 2015. https://books.google.com.au/books?id=JwAACwAAQBAJ&pg=PT228&lpg=PT228&dq=motorhead+gone+leaving+a+hole+that+can%27t+be+filled&source=bl&ots=7PR3zjfSIC&sig=ofY4fKwQqrW8e2UWo8g4uQsFMPg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj2iqr1kenPAhUC9IMKHWUwCcUQ6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=motorhead%20gone%20leaving%20a%20hole%20that%20can’t%20be%20filled&f=false
2 Rolling Stone Magazine. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/motorhead-roll-on-20020823
3 Keep Us On The Road lyrics. On Parole, United Artists, 1975.
4 Ultimate Guitar. https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/interviews/motorhead_we_write_for_us_three_-_we_dont_write_for_fans.html
5 Spin Magazine. http://www.spin.com/2009/04/spin-interview-lemmy/
6 Record Collector Magazine. https://www.geni.com/people/Lemmy-Kilmister/6000000039025378034McIver, Joel (January 2000). “Mil-Lemmy-Um”. Record Collector (245)
7 Dispatch.com http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/life_and_entertainment/2008/09/11/kilmister_qa.html
8 Intro to Fools. On Parole, United Artists, 1975.
9 Furious.com http://www.furious.com/perfect/larrywallis.html
10 Furious.com http://www.furious.com/perfect/larrywallis.html
11 The Guts and The Glory – The Motörhead Story, 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAVMw5LpMGc
12 The Guts and The Glory – The Motörhead Story, 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAVMw5LpMGc
13 The Guts and The Glory – The Motörhead Story, 2010.
14 The Guts and The Glory – The Motörhead Story, 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAVMw5LpMGc
15 Source: Team Rock Presents: Motörhead: The Ultimate Tribute. https://subscribe.teamrock.com/specials/045/team-rock-presents-motorhead
16 The Guts and The Glory – The Motörhead Story, 2010.
17 The Great Rock Bible. http://thegreatrockbible.com/portfolio-item/motorhead-biography/
18 Official Charts.com http://www.officialcharts.com/artist/17135/motorhead/
19 The Guts and The Glory – The Motörhead Story, 2010.
20 The Guts and The Glory – The Motörhead Story, 2010.
21 Vinyl Memories. Interview with Gerry Bron. https://vinylmemories.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/a-personal-history-of-the-british-record-business-8-gerry-bron-4-and-finale/
22 Top Of The Pops. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ64lqpePUM
23 Dead Men Tell No Tales. Bomber, Bronze. 1979.
24 Motörhead Magazine no. 1 featuring the Bomber Tour. P 18. Alan Burridge.
25 Motörhead Magazine no. 1 featuring the Bomber Tour. P 18. Alan Burridge.
26 Live to Win, by Alan Burridge – Page 101-104. Publisher: Cleopatra Records.
27 The Bailey Brothers TV. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJW2obPlVKA
28 Whorehouse Blues. Inferno, Steamhammer/SPV. 2004.
29 The Guts and The Glory – The Motörhead Story, 2010.
30 Uncut Magazine, Wikipedia. http://www.uncut.co.uk/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ace_of_Spades_(album)
31 The Guts and The Glory – The Motörhead Story, 2010.
32 Eon Music. http://www.eonmusic.co.uk/fast-eddie-clarke-eonmusic-interview-november-2016.html
33 Live In Toronto, 1982. Castle Communications. VHS. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXjFQjTLepM
34 The Birthday Party Live, 1985. VHS.
35 Guitar International, Blabbermouth. http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/fast-eddie-clarke-recalls-motorheads-near-reunion-in-late-90s/#s6fWDCU7xphSOgWJ.99
36 Paste Magazine. https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2009/05/catching-up-with-steve-lips-kudlow-and-robb-reiner.html
37 Metal Sucks. http://www.metalsucks.net/2016/01/07/chris-holmes-deeply-misunderstands-lemmy-didnt-want-motorhead/
38 Motörhead Magazine no. 6. Alan Burridge.
39 The Guts and The Glory – The Motörhead Story, 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhTDbVecHSM
40 Stage Fright DVD, Steamhammer/SPV. 2004. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANauHBTMuj8&index=9&list=PL5D4DD5B284AD6EEC
41 White Line Fever, Lemmy Kilmister, Janiss Garza – Page 172. Publisher: Simon & Schuster. 2003.
42 I’m So Bad (Baby I Don’t Care) Video. https://youtu.be/0GI7LrSHYaU
43 No Sleep ’til Hammersmith, Bronze. 1981.

 

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366 Days of Motörhead – Dissecting Week 52

We run through the city, got everything we need, We got all the aces and we got them up our sleeve.

Well, here we are. The 52nd and final blog of the 366 Days of Motörhead crusade. For those just joining us, on January 1st, 2016, I committed myself to listening to nothing but Motörhead for an entire year. That means Motörhead exclusively. And here we are at the end of this crusade.


For those digging on the vital statistics.

  • Words – approximately 93,000 (78,000 here and 15,000 for the iMotörhead band history).
  • Spins – approximately 2,160 (full lengths).
  • Time listening – approximately 1,523 hours (equivalent of 9.07 weeks solid).
  • Most played LP – Orgasmatron.

Cool things that happened along the way.

  • I connected with Motörhead on a much deeper level than I have with any band, ever.
  • I know more about the band and their 40 year journey than I did a year ago, and this experience has definitely embiggened my already boundless enthusiasm for them.
  • I was asked to write the official Motörhead band history for the iMotörhead site.
  • I discovered that Orgasmatron is my most revered LP.
  • Phil Campbell liked, and retweeted a number of my posts. Even commented on a few. I don’t do starstruck, but it’s nice to strike a chord with someone you respect, even if at a level as superficial as a Twitter exchange.
    phil-campbell-tweet-december-28
  • Approximately 3,000 people visited this blog, and I got to talk Motörhead with some really awesome people via channels like email, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. That in itself made this abundantly worthwhile.
  • I got to contribute to the mighty Iron Fist Magazine in their Lemmy tribute issue from earlier in 2016.
  • My 4YO has become diehard fan, and my 6YO who started off as so-so, descended into complete loathing; has now come out the other side as a blossoming acolyte.


Did I get what I came for?

  • In short, absolutely yes!
  • I wanted to pay some sort of tribute to Lemmy upon his passing. Say thanks, in some weird way, for 40 years of Motörhead. As the effort to achieve all this activity far exceeds the interest it has received, it aligns perfectly with the compulsion I have felt – to start the crusade and to continually pursue new avenues of thought, exploration and imbecilic enthusiasm across the last 12 months.
  • I wanted to connect to music like I did when I was a teenager with no money, and no access. When there was no public internet. When my best bet was getting a tape from someone from school, or hearing something on the radio.
  • I wanted to experience the liberation of less being more. And I definitely did.

So, thanks for reading. Motörhead for life!


Stay clean, be true.

In order of recording:
Motorhead-Orgasmatron

  1. BBC Live and In Session Vol 1&2.
  2. Beerdrinkers and Hellraisers, #1980. Big Beat.
  3. Motörhead, #1977. Chiswick.
  4. Another Perfect Day, #1983. Bronze.
  5. Orgasmatron, #1986. GWR.
  6. Eat The Rich, #1987. GWR.
  7. Bastards, #1993. ZYX.
  8. We Are Motörhead, #2000. SPV.
  9. Kiss Of Death, #2006. SPV.


Total Week 52 album plays = 23

Total MotörMania Hellbanging Listening time for week 52 = 11:25


The 366 Day of Motörhead crusade was brought to you via:

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What, there WERE Rules for 366 Days of Motörhead?

Yes, there were Rules. Rules I made up myself, but enforced them also. Kinda ridiculous in a sense, but should you care:  For your reading pleasure, the Rules of 366 Days of Motörhead.

366 Days of Motörhead – Dissecting Week 51

Won’t get to sleep tonight, Because the white lines turn me on.

Second last blog of the 366 Days Of Motörhead crusade, and like some of the other dumb ideas I’ve had, trying to outdo some of those very ordinary A-Z lists seems like another compulsive notch I need to acquire.

Like everything, I gotta asterisk this list as being non-exhaustive. I’d get a second year out of this crusade if I tried to cover it all ha ha, and people only got so much patience/interest, right?

And like other dubious ideas, I’ve somehow taken something quite simple and made a rod for my own back. Instead of one entry for one letter, it’s mostly Motörhead studio songs coupled with some lame comments. A few asterisks as per usual, and not exactly what I had in mind, but a result just the same. Like most of these posts, I know what they are once they are written.

At it’s best, a chance to listen to the Motörhead studio catalogue alphabetically. Something you never knew you needed.

This one goes…

A is for:

  • Acropolis – as in, Metropolis when in Greece. Along the lines of when in Rome I suppose.
  • Aftershock – as in, Motörhead’s 2013 full length. As in, their second last studio album. Consistent, a tad too long perhaps, but a deserving entry in the Motörhead canon.
  • Ace of Spades – as in, the 1980 LP and the song that put the band on the map. As in, the song they performed on the Young Ones TV show in 1984. To the station!
  • Ain’t My Crime, as in, from Orgasmatron. As in, I’m moving off the lot, just hire another act
    I don’t need what you got, that ain’t where I’m at.
  • Airheads – as in, Lemmy, I was editor of the school magazine. As in, trick question, Lemmy IS god!
  • All for You – as in, one of the ultimate tracks from Rock ‘n’ Roll. As in, Lemmy getting all lamentous on the loss of his lady love. One of Motörhead’s underrated masterpieces!
  • All Gone to Hell – as in, that heavy ass stomper from Sacrifice with the tidy little two time passages.
  • All the Aces – as in, those held by the suits with no faces. One of the many times Motörhead gave it to the man!
  • America – as in, the Iron Fist cut that would have been better left as an idea. Really doesn’t work, and pulls down the standard of the ‘82 misfire. Interestingly, one of the tracks that Robbo would play. Dunno what to make of that.
  • Angel City – as in, the song Lemmy penned of his dream to live in Los Angeles, the city the Brit would eventually call home for almost 25 years. Not sure why Bon Jovi’s booze was so tempting, or accessible for that.
  • Angels – as in Hells Angels. It’s called Iron Horse/Born To Lose.
  • Another Perfect Day – as in, the title track from the 1983 LP in which Brian “Robbo” Robertson, once of Thin Lizzy fame, came online to play guitar for Motörhead. And what a great fucking record they made together!
  • Assassin – as in, those unintentionally tribal drum patterns kind of give me a headache, but Motörhead pull off a great chorus, and that manages to carry the track to where it needs to be.
  • Asylum Choir – as in, that rocker from one of Motörhead’s greatest LPs – Bastards. The sky, the sky is crushing you / The wall, the walls are touching you too / Even the floor is clutching you / And all the eyes that ever closed are open, and they’re watching you.


B is for:

  • Bad Magic – as in, the title of the band’s 22 or 23rd studio album. Do you believe On Parole counts? As in, their final full length offensive. As in, a rollicking good platter.
  • Bastard – as in the band Lemmy intended to start after Hawkwind. As in Wurzel’s short-lived reality.
  • Bastards – as in, the rip-roaring LP from 1993. Where Mikkey brought the ruckus to the drum zone, and we met that Bernard cat – Bernard Anyway – whoever he was.
  • Back at the Funny Farm – as in Top Notch!
  • Back on the Chain – as in, that Motörhead stomper from the Motörizer LP.
  • Bad Religion – as in, Lemmy was right, religion is bad. As in, Motörhead could have bequeathed us a few more pinch harmonics from time to time.
  • Bad Woman – as in, Bastards side B, track 1.
  • Bang to Rights – as in, closing track of Iron Fist. I would have thrown America to the wolves, and closed with Remember Me I’m Gone.
  • Be My Baby – as in, not one of the best Motörhead riffs you’ll ever hear. As in, so often, they managed to salvage the song via the chorus.
  • Better Off Dead – as in, squelching rock ‘n’ roll from the mighty Sacrifice LP. Multi-tracked vocals for the win!
  • Birthday Party – as in, the legendary 1985, 10 year anniversary concert by Motörhead. Released on VHS – oh yeah!
  • Bite the Bullet – as in, I‘m leaving you. What’s all that commotion about at the start Philthy?
  • Blackheart – as in, blackheart, as opposed to blackhearted to the bone. This was yet to manifest. The resonant, gang vocal approach to this song is tight. The closest thing Motörhead got to the James Brown approach. Can you imagine Motörhead with 40 people on the stage?
  • Bomber – as in, the title track of the 1979 ball-tearer. As in, the name of the massive aluminium lighting rig that reigned over the band. As in, the band’s second long player for 1979.
  • Boogeyman – as in you can’t boogie with. It’s good advice, when you think about it.
  • Born to Lose – as in, what a rollicking good cut to open their 2010 opus with.
  • Born to Raise Hell – as in the party anthem of 1993. I prefer the Motörhead only version, but this one with Ice T, and Whitfield Crane is pretty damn good too.
  • Brave New World – as in, that chorus that had more legs than the band gave it, but melodious Motörhead is surprisingly always great!
  • Broken – as in, that righteous stomper from Overnight Sensation. As in, that record with soooooo many killer riffs. As in, truth must be spoken.
  • Bron, Gerry – as in, the head of Bronze Records. The guy that wasn’t a fan of Motörhead, but understood they were gonna bring the shake.
  • Bronze, as in Bronze Records, the label that Motörhead joined forces with and experience immense success.
  • Brotherhood of Man – as in, a sad indictment on the state of humanity. Not as clever as we think we are…
  • Built for Speed – as in Born with the hammer down! As in, we should have died a long fucking time ago!
  • Buried Alive – as in, nobody is innocent.
  • Burner – as in, Motörhead doing the speed metal thing, and doing is extremely well. As in, Mikkey taking the hammer to the drums. As in, one of the greatest Motörhead rushes you’ll get.
  • Burridge – as in Alan, who was first the editor of Motörhead Magazine, before taking on the role as Motörheadbangers fanclub manager. Burridge, as in, the author of Live To Win, a book all Motörhead fans must possess.
  • Bye Bye Bitch Bye Bye – as in, I don’t expect she’ll be back.
  • Berlin – as in last ever show, December 11, 2015.
  • Beerdrinkers and Hellraisers – as in the greatest Motörhead cover ever! 

C is for:

  • Capricorn – as in, that luscious bluesy resonance. As in, December’s child – the old Lemola himself. Reeks of 70s celluloid.
  • Cameron Webb – as in, Motörhead producer for their final six studio albums. Inferno through Bad Magic.
  • Cat Scratch Fever – as in the oh so superiorly executed compared to the original cover, from March or Die.
  • Chiswick – as in, the label that released the band’s official debut in 1977.
  • Choking on Your Screams – as in, die, choking on…
  • Christine – as in, that girl with electric blood. Not hard to understand the appeal there.
  • City Kids – as in, thanks Larry, we’ll take it from here.
  • Civil War – as in, what a colossal riff. One of many exceptionals from Mr. Campbell. As in, that time Mikkey had brown hair.
  • Claw – as in I know what my claw is for. As in the perfect precursor to Orgasmatron’s Mean Machine!!!
  • Clem – as in (We Are) The Road Crew. As in Going To Brazil. As in – sitting in second class.
  • Coup de Grace – as in, make it quick!
  • Cradle to the Grave – as in, Rock ‘n’ Roll B Side. Also from the soundtrack of the absurdly excellent Decline Of The Western Civilisation Part II – The Heavy Metal Years.
  • Crazy Dil – as in (We Are) The Road Crew. As in Going To Brazil. As in – sitting in second class.
  • Crazy Like a Fox – as in, it was a given, wasn’t it? Oh, wait, this isn’t autobiographical. It also showed that Phil could write a barnstorming rock ‘n roll classic beyond the influence of Mr. Wurzel.
  • Crying Shame – as in, that Aftershock cut with the seriously searing guitar work. Nice one Phil!
  • Cunt – as in Horrible little… – as in Philthy, as described by Larry Wallis.

D is for:

  • Damage Case – as in, got no time for. I don’t hate Metallica, far from it. I also have immense respect for their tributes to Lemmy and Motörhead. I wish I’d never heard James sing this. I struggle to remove the image/sound from my head.
  • Dance – as in, If you want to shake your stuff, Get some rock ‘n’ roll tonight, here’s the soundtrack to achieving said shake. Lyrically a nice throwback to Lemmy’s love of 50s rock ‘n’ roll.
  • Dancing on Your Grave – as in, that searing, melodic masterpiece that Motörhead did with Robbo. As in, I can think of a few graves I’d like to dance on.
  • Dead and Gone – as in, a time we hoped would never come. As in, a stirring, and atmospheric bombast from Motörhead. More dramatic than thou!
  • Dead Men Tell No Tales – as in, the cut to open Bomber. The track that openly condemns heroin. The track I speculate was inspired by producer Jimmy Miller – and not for reasons producers typically inspire musicians.
  • Deaf Forever – as, in stone deaf forever. As in, the opening cut from Motörhead’s finest LP, Orgasmatron!
  • Death Machine – as in, one of Aftershock’s finest moments. Great riffs, awesome offbeat drum rhythms, and tight vocal lines. As in, Lemmy’s voice starting to show its limitations. As in, Lemmy soldiering on despite.
  • Death or Glory – as in, it’s on Bastards so it has to rule. As in, it’s a lyrical triumph. As in, it’s another indictment of the warlike spirit that man will never break free of.
  • Desperate for You – as in, I’m gonna be a gangster, a gangster of love. I might not be Al Capone, but I think I’ll be quite good.
  • Devil I Know – as in, going back to. As in, bitchin’ rock ‘n’ roll riff. As in, referencing one’s songs within one’s songs.
  • Devils – as in, the initial title for the LP that was released as Bastards. As in, the closing cut of the 1993 LP.
  • Devils in My Head – as in, one totally ass kicking song! As in, ideally the optimal place for them.
  • Die You Bastard! – as in, the correct way to close the immortal Another Perfect Day LP.
  • Dirty Love – as in, I don’t need your. One of the rare-ish times a Motörhead B side wasn’t better than LP proper tracks. As in, it’s good, but it ain’t that good.
  • Do You Believe – as in, Motörhead writing boneshaking barnstormers from end to end. As in, rock ‘n’ roll worship till the end of time.
  • Doctor Rock – as in, I’ve got the medicine you need! As in, managed to infiltrate Motorhead’s live legacy intermittently across the years, this once show-opener is a guaranteed fist banger. As in, listen to the crazy panning on the cymbals. Feels like a strobe travelling through your skull.
  • Dog-Face Boy – as in, the song intentionally (or otherwise) written by Lemmy, about Mr. Phil Campbell. I love it for that reason alone.
  • Dogs – as in, the song where Lemmy barks. As in, like a dog.
  • Dogs of War – as in, Motörhead flexing a little of that diversified muscle. As in, it hammers along at an appropriate rate, but isn’t one for the tourists.
  • Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me – as in, that ballad that Lemmy pursued, despite this being perhaps better executed by another. As in, that other wouldn’t come to the party, so here we are.
  • Don’t Lie to Me – as in, for those who sort of disregarded 90s era Motörhead, you gotta hear this foot stomper.
  • Don’t Waste Your Time – as in, not a moment of your life. As in, best fucking advice you could get. As in, the Motörhead cut with the saxophones. As in, Motörhead paying homage to 50s rock ‘n’ roll.
  • Down on Me – as in, I don’t get as excited as others about Inferno. As in, this is a tidy cut from it, irrespective of my thoughts on the experience at large.
  • Down the Line – as in, Leaving Here for the new millennium. As in, something magickal about the way Lemmy sings treated me like gold.
  • Dr. Love – as in, not to be confused with the KISS song of the same name. As in, it’s a song with some cool elements – if it fell off Hammered, no one would have died.
  • Dust and Glass – as in, a sweet, rich and melancholic number from Aftershock. Different for Motörhead, but legitimate to the bone!


E is for:

  • Eat the Gun – as in, what is possibly the laziest, or the worst executed Motörhead lyrics ever. As in, a shame, because the riff is a ball tearer. As in, the worst backing vocals Motörhead ever committed. Oh wow?
  • Eat the Rich – as in, the theme track from the film of the same name. As in, the lead single from the 1987 LP Rock ‘n’ Roll. As in, come on baby, eat the rich, bite down on the son of a bitch. As in, Lemmy getting punched out. As in, Cannibalism through an entirely new lens.
  • Eddie – as in, Fast Eddie Clarke! As in, Motörhead guitarist from 1976 to 1982. As in, should be out doing spoken word tours in the comedy circuit. Hilarious!
  • Electricity – as in, another cookin’ number from Bad Magic. Blistering rock ‘n’ roll to the end!
  • End of Time – as in, an electrifying ass kicker. As in, completely void of the sop and misery potentially aligned to a theme of this nature. As in, that line, Half your life ain’t truth babe / The other half is lies.
  • English Rose – as in, Lemmy declaring his age, and his aversion for technology. Who else, in 2008 was hanging on the phone? Even a pager would have solved that problem. Fortunately for our hero, he sealed the deal. Go Lemmy!
  • Evil Eye – as in, you gotta have a song called Evil Eye. Some of the percussion is a little Sympathy-esque which isn’t surprising as it’s on the same LP. Bad magic, evil eye! Indeed. Great record!

F is for:

  • Fast and Loose – as in, you know you like it. As in, Philthy’s inimitable drumming style. As in, what made Motörhead of the 70s and 80s so fucking good.
  • Fight – as in, Put the bass up will ya?
  • Fire Storm Hotel – as in, one of those classic, sleazy ass Motörhead riffs that every single guitarist in the band needed to know how to write.
  • Fire, Fire – as in, Track 1, side 2, Fire Fire!
  • Fools – as in, Larry Wallis. As in, this if for all you managers and agents out there. Are you listening? Good!

G is for:

  • Get Back in Line – as in, Motörhead sticking it to the man, top of the roof style. Mikkey giving it to the suits – priceless!
  • Go to Hell – as in, one of Iron Fist’s finer offerings, replete with that timeless ascent – da na na nahhhh.
  • God Save the Queen – as in, reasonably faithful cover of the Sex Pistols classic. Did Motörhead really need to do it? Guess Lemmy and the lads thought it redeemable. Phil’s lead playing toward the tail end is righteous. We Are Motörhead would have been equally as representative, even without it.
  • God Was Never on Your Side – as in, bombast as only Motörhead know how to do it, Given the epic soundbed to the virtues of atheism.
  • Godzilla Akimbo – as in one of those proximate to Ace Of Spades era cuts that didn’t make the grade: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfH6FbEA0YY
  • Going Down – as in, the Todd Campbell co-written cut that manifested as Motörhead’s finest for their final decade. As in, the best possible way to close Kiss Of Death.
  • Going to Brazil – as in, a rollicking good celebration of life on the road – flying down to Rio. I legitimately thought, for the longest time, that Lemmy was singing Avoiding gonorrhea, going to Brazil. Flying down to Rio makes soooooo much more sense.
  • Going to Mexico – as in, Going To Brazil the second coming. Not as good as Going To Brazil, but that song had enough equity to perpetuate a couple of lesser offerings.

H is for:

  • Hammered – as in, the 2002 full length which was the most melodious Motörhead had been since Another Perfect Day. Joe’s insignia styled cover art was so perfect – for this LP and generally speaking.
  • Heart of Stone – as in, You got an Iron Fist, you inherently have a Heart Of Stone, right? Nah, Lemmy was a softie. Everyone knows that!
  • Heartbreaker – as in, Careful where you stand now boy, Everything has changed, Got to search and destroy.
  • Hellraiser – as in the soundtrack of the third instalment of the Pinhead saga. As in – the thunder and heat. As in, the song Lemmy wrote for old mate Ozzy Osbourne, before recording it himself anyway. As in, Mikkey’s first studio foray with Motörhead.
  • Heroes – as in, one of Motörizer’s many highlights. Epic and bombastic, not an acoustic guitar to be heard.
  • Hobbsy – as in (We Are) The Road Crew. As in Going To Brazil. As in, sitting in second class.


I is for:

  • I Ain’t no Nice Guy – as in, the time that Ozzy and Slash swung by the studio to kick out the jams with Lemmy, Phil, Wurzel and Philthy. As in, the last time Philthy bled to tape as a member of Motörhead.
  • I Am the Sword – as in, I am the word of the lord!
  • I Don’t Believe a Word – as in, Motörhead as their most divergent where Overnight Sensation was concerned. Lemmy doing the natural voice thing, and the bass heavier than two hells. A stand out track for sure with its really smooth backing vocals, and Lemmy’s nice new shave ha ha.
  • I Got Mine – as in, Motörhead at their most resonant and melodic. Nice one Robbo!
  • I Know How to Die – as in, Say the word and I’ll be yours! Big, ballsy anthem oh yeah!
  • I Know What You Need – as in, guy’s got a trick up his sleeve.
  • I’ll Be Your Sister – as in, one of the best fucking Motörhead songs ever. Hands down, no subjection, no debate. Killer, killer killer!
  • I’m So Bad (Baby I Don’t Care) – as in, see the above. Better still, watch the video. There is no better illustration of why Motörhead rules the wasteland!
  • I’m the Doctor – as in, where was this doctor when they pushed Iron Fist out of the studio?
  • I’m Your Man – as in, Motörhead doing the hard hard rock thing. More archetypal 80s than illustrative of the time it was recorded. One of the lesser cuts from Bastards.
  • In Another Time – as in, heavier than thou Motörhead from 1995. Great chorus, Sacrifice is a ball-tearer of a record!
  • Inferno – as in, the Motörhead full length from 2004.
  • In the Black – as in, Lemmy’s tribute to his long term girlfriend.
  • In the Name of Tragedy – as in, that cut with the great ough! backing choruses, and that bitchin’ verse riff.
  • In the Year of the Wolf – as in, a lot of Inferno cuts needed to start with the letter I it seems.
  • Iron Fist – as in, Motörhead’s best ever track. As in, storms the gates like no other. As in, that great mechanical (somewhat comical) stage prop. As in, one of the band’s patchiest albums. As in, the one Eddie was cajoled into producing. As in, Eddie’s last hurrah as a member of Motörhead.
  • Iron Horse/Born to Lose – as in, This one’s dedicated to all the Angels in here, and uh, everyone else really…

J is for:

  • John – as in (We Are) The Road Crew. As in Going To Brazil. As in, sitting in second class.
  • Jack the Ripper – as in, a tidy little homage to the UK’s most notorious. No surprise Lemmy dialed in his own narrative on this story. Punchy number. Jack The Ripper never sounding so animated.
  • Jailbait – as in, Stop mincing about. As in, of all the songs Motörhead could have been in trouble for and weren’t.
  • Jimmy Miller – as in, the producer of Overkill and Bomber. As in the (likely) inspiration for Dead Men Tell No Tales – or was it Dead Men Smell Toenails?
  • Joe – as in, Joe Petagno. Creator of the Little Bastard, also known as Snaggletooth, and the Warpig. As in, the artist who painted Motörhead’s most legendary covers – Rock ‘n’ Roll, Orgasmatron, Overkill, Hammered, Kiss Of Death, Sacrifice and Another Perfect Day.
  • Joy of Labour – as in, that one where Lemmy wants to convince us that he woke up dead. Hmmmmm.
  • Just ‘Cos You Got the Power – as in, the epic B side that could! Should have closed out Rock ‘n’ Roll. As in, became one of the band’s most played and most revered tracks. As in, That don’t mean you got the right!

K is for:

  • Kilmister, Ian Fraser – as in, he who created the greatest band in the world.
  • Kiss Of Death – as in, the last time Joe would provide one of his hellish visions for the band. Sad.
  • Keep Us on the Road – as in, But when I took her clothes off, I thought she would explode, Dropped another handful, Kept Us On The Road.
  • Keep Your Powder Dry – as in, the Aftershock cut that reminds me of contemporary AC/DC. As in, could have been left off the 2013 long player.
  • Keys to the Kingdom – as in, when Motörhead do swagger, they do it sooooo fucking well. An Inferno highlight for sure.
  • Kill the World – as in, good idea, it needs it.
  • Killed by Death – as in the greatest music video of all time. Motörhead or anyone else’s. As in, a rip-roaring Motörhead classic.
  • Killers – as in, The Killers, Enough to make your stupid faces quiver.
  • Kingdom of the Worm – as in, Motörhead had some heavy ass riffs beyond the descent of Herr Wurzel. This isn’t Motörhead’s finest, but speaking of elements exclusively, it’s not without its merits.
  • Knife – as in, makes little sense that in the grand scheme, that I rate Aftershock so lowly. 12 out of 14 cuts are belters. The scene is rigged I tell ya! 

L is for:

  • L – as in, you couldn’t get a gig in Motörhead’s circa July 1975 if you’re name didn’t commence with L.
  • Larry Wallis – as in, Motörhead’s first guitarist. As in, contributor of four tracks to the On Parole LP. As in, stone cold legend!
  • Lawman – as in, the 70s was about sticking it to the man. Motörhead dedicated a few cuts to that very activity.
  • Leaving Here – as in, the OG White Line Fever 7” version. Killer.
  • Lemmy, Lemola – as in, Ian Fraser Kilmister by any other name.
  • Liar – as in, a tidy enough chorus, which progresses well enough. The main riff is jerky, it doesn’t feel that great to listen, and definitely forces it into the “reminiscent of its time” camp. More than a no starter, less than stellar. The production of Bastards definitely lifts it.
  • Life’s a Bitch – as in, here’s a song about it, just in case you forgot. The rush one gets from this makes it hard to believe it to be true.
  • Like a Nightmare – as in, sleazy ass rock ‘n’ roll riffs a plenty. A Motörhead B side, that deserves to be an A side!
  • Limb from Limb – as in, one of those righteous Motörhead bangers that starts off all bluesy and sleazy like, before hitting the two step and souping it right out, closing the record off in a blaze of glory. Get you smashed as a rat in some bar… yeahhhhhhh.
  • Listen to Your Heart – as in, the radiant closer to Overnight Sensation. Sounds a lot like good advice.
  • Little Bastard – as in, the name Mr. Joe Petagno gave to his diabolical creation that gave a vision to Motörhead’s voice. As in, also known as Snaggletooth, and the Warpig.
  • Live to Win – as in, how good are those snake rattle fizzler things? Live has a bunch of them. Think a rattler’s gonna bite you on the face should you get too close.
  • Living in the Past – as in, another of those more contemporary, heavier than thou stompers that aims to salvage in the chorus, and kinda manages quite nicely.
  • Locomotive – as in, one of four cuts that was recorded for the No Remorse comp LP, which proved that Motörhead in a post Eddie, post Robbo world was a viable force. I have loads of favourite Motörhead cuts, and this ranks. A face melter.
  • Loser – as in, some novel melodies, and I dig the way the vocals follow the guitar.
  • Lost in the Ozone – as in, Motörhead’s surreal masterpiece. Rich, vivid, visual. A tale of solitude, loneliness, hopelessness. Dramatic, rich, bombastic. Perfect!
  • Lost Johnny – as in, a young man with a barrel of problems. I wonder what happened to Lost Johnny. They found no answers for him in Hawkwind either…
  • Lost Woman Blues – as in, another blaze of light from Aftershock. 80s mainstream blues vibe. I’m not that audience, but I adore this.
  • Love Can’t Buy You Money – as in, some Beatles joke I guess. I don’t feel the same about the Beatles that Lemmy did.
  • Love for Sale – as in, da na na na – love the way this one kicks off. Has a nice gait, ballin’ chorus. Snake Bite Love is underrated. As in, get over the fact they made the logo vertical. Nobody died.
  • Love Me Forever – as in, high on drama and bombast, featuring oppressive keys and that power ballad pace. Epic, searing solos and a heartfelt vocal delivery. Mature, accomplished, decidedly Motörhead without being predictably overt.
  • Love Me Like a Reptile – as in, how perfectly Ace Of Spades. It’s not exactly metaphor, but a tsunami of swagger by any other name…
  • Lucas Fox – as in, the first Motörhead drummer. Described by Larry Wallis, that being Keith Moon on a busy day wasn’t his forte. 

M is for:

  • Motörizer – as in, the 2008 long player. Motörhead proving themselves as vital as ever.
  • Make ‘Em Blind – as in, heavy, brooding, ominous – as all great Sacrifices must be. When it steps up though, a dazzling display of power!
  • Make My Day – as in, raucous blues squelcher. Sassy, bright and ballsy. Raging solo trade offs in the middle section. Motörhead party anthem #2.
  • March ör Die – as in, closer of the LP of the same name. As in, March or croak, all your lives a cosmic joke. As in, 1916 revisited, but less effective.
  • Marching Off to War – as in, another illustrious Another Perfect Day cut recounting the perils, and untold human waste that is war.
  • Mean Machine – as in, that main riff, the hellish panning, Lemmy’s vocals, lyrics and that searing pre-chorus section. This belongs on high rotation.
  • Metropolis – as in, inspired by the Fritz Lang film from 1927. As in, not exactly thematically on point.
  • Mine All Mine – as in, a meritorious rocker from the Hammered LP of 2002. Really nice Hammond-esque keys on display.
  • Motörhead – As in, a balcony in 1973. As in the B-side to Hawkwind’s Kings Of Speed 7”. As in, the nomme de guerre for Lemmy and his co-conspirators to wage sonic war for 40 years. As in, American slang for speed freak!
  • Murder Show – as in, Mikkey knows how to play a hard rock beat that aggressively advances the puck!

N is for:

  • Name in Vain – as in, don’t you take my…
  • Night Side – as in, Mikkey declared Night Side as the worst shit they’d ever done. I’m going to go on the record and say he’s wrong. I don’t know what the worst Motorhead cut is – I’d say America if forced into a corner. Only because I don’t know if The Game counts as a Motörhead song.
  • Nightmare / The Dreamtime – as in, Motörhead’s surreal expedition from 1916.
  • No Class – as in, this one’s for me and Eddie. It’s called No Class!
  • No Remorse – as in, the greatest compilation LP ever compiled. Snaggletooth, Locomotive, Killed By Death, and Steal Your Face.
  • No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith – as in, the greatest live LP ever recorded.
  • No Sleep At All – as in, the LP hoped to usurp Hammersmith as the greatest live LP ever recorded.
  • No Voices in the Sky – as in, fuck religion.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve – as in, one of Orgasmatron’s cuts where Laswell made his vilest impact. Just kidding, this song is diabolically good.

O is for:

  • On Parole – as in, the Motörhead debut, that wouldn’t surface until four years after it was recorded. As in, one of Larry’s exceptional contributions to the band.
  • On Your Feet or on Your Knees – as in, what a colossal track for Bastards to storm the gates with!
  • One More Fucking Time – as in, the brooder from We Are Motörhead. All life is a mystery – never a truer word spoken!
  • One Night Stand – as in, wish every night was…
  • One Short Life – As in, If you don’t know how to live, the world will be unkind! As in, the best advice you could get!
  • One Track Mind – as in, how killer is Philthy’s roll at the start! This could be about gambling, or fighting, or something entirely else.
  • Order/Fade to Black – as in, that kinda frustrating, go nowhere fast, Chuck Berry would never have come up with this riff. The faster parts of this slow/fast special are much better.
  • Orgasmatron – As in, my most revered Motörhead LP of all time. As in, Bill Laswell’s crazy production. As in, that magickal sequence of Claw > Mean Machine > Built For Speed.  The production of this album was designed for this track to shine. It’s not quite a dirge, but heavy, oppressive, and focuses on the forces of misery in the world.
  • Out of the Sun – as in, what an incredible closer to Sacrifice. As in, four to the four rock ‘n’ roller with no sign of stopping. As in, look up underrated in the dictionary, and this is what you’ll get back!
  • Out to Lunch – as in, crazy! That term lost its meaning. Probably same time that FTW became for the win???
  • Outlaw – as in, a thematic reimagining from the Ace Of Spades era.
  • Over the Top – as in, Bomber B side.
  • Over Your Shoulder – as in, we know all the words of power!
  • Overkill – as in, the band’s first LP for the Bronze label. As in, Eddie’s inimitable words Hey man, this song’s called Overkill. Anyway why don’t we fuckin’ finish, and start it again. Yeah, fucking great man. In fact, let’s fucking do it again! So we did it three times. Fucking awesome man.
  • Overnight Sensation – as in, I know you’re only talking, to keep the silence out. As in, title track from a ripper LP. Tight, focused and more metallic than thou.

P is for:

  • Pete Gill – as in, the former Saxon drummer who joined Motörhead in 1984, and played on the mighty Orgasmatron. He who either played like Philthy to begin with, or emulated his style. Either way, correct approach.
  • Phil Campbell – as in, Motörhead guitar player du jour, 1984 – 2015. Knows how to write a riff, knows how to play a dazzling lead, knows how to put a song together. Legend!
  • Philthy “Animal” (for sexual reasons) Taylor – as anointed by Motörcycle Irene. Motörhead drummer from 1975 – 1984, and 1987 to 1992. Always my favourite Motörhead drummer. Master of the fast and loose.
  • Pappy – as in, this one’s for… As in (We Are) The Road Crew. As in Going To Brazil. As in – sitting in second class.
  • Paralyzed – as in, barnstorming riff – reminds me a little of Going Down from Kiss Of Death. And that has to be good, because that cut rules the wasteland. Being even 50% as good as that is awesome. Paralyzed is a tidy cut to resolve Aftershock.
    Phil Lynott – as in the Thin Lizzy frontman. As in the publicity ligger.
  • Poison – as in, artichoke! As in, another of my all time favourite Motörhead cuts. That verse riff – face melter. It’s better than marrying a wife – oh!

Q is for:

  • Quebec – as in, one of the cities toured through on the Bad Magic tour, September 2015.
  • Queen of the Damned – as in, great Black Flag-esque bass intro.

R is for:

  • R.A.M.O.N.E.S. – as in, imagine the greatest band in the world wrote a tribute to your band. And they liked it so much they performed it, and a lot! And then the band to whom the tribute was played decided that they too had to play it. That’s what happened here.
  • Red Raw – as in, Motörhead’s most punk as fuck blaster. Well, R.A.M.O.N.E.S. was punky, but in a more 70s rock ‘n’ roll kinda vibe. Red Raw was more 80s, Discharge kinda speed punk.
  • Remember Me, I’m Gone – as  in, Iron Fist B side, that belonged on the LP itself.
  • Ridin’ with the Driver – as in, the working title for Orgasmatron has an almost guitarless mix, bass almost hard into the left hand channel, and a Philthy-esque beat in the right. Laswell’s mix was killer in isolation.
  • Robbo – as in, Brian “Robbo” Robertson, formerly of Thin Lizzy fame, who joined Motörhead in 1982, and spent 18 months in the band, being roundly hated. As in, the guitar player who conspired with Lemmy and Philthy to create one of the band’s most legendary and revered LPs. Thanks for the ruckus Robbo!
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll – as in the LP of the same name from 1987. As in – We are Motörhead and we play rock ‘n’ roll. As in, I’m in love with rock ‘n’ roll.
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Music – as in, Rock ‘n roll even gonna set you free, Make the lame walk and the blind to see, Gonna take you back to where you wanna be, Do it till the day I die.
  • Rock It – as in, Give it to me, loud and free!
  • Rock Out – as in, with your cock out. To have overlooked that line would have been paramount to rock ‘n’ roll treason.
  • Runaround Man – as in, Don’t you mess around with the Runaround Man.

S is for:

  • Sacrifice – as in, the title track of Wurzel’s last hurrah with Motörhead. 1995’s finest Motörhead LP.
  • See Me Burning – as in, speed metal rush ala Burner!
  • Serial Killer – as in, Lemmy’s spoken word piece at the end of Hammered. A little bleaker than the spoken word piece on Rock ‘n’ Roll.
  • Sex & Death – as in, The answer to life’s mystery is, Simple and direct, Sex and Death.
  • Sex & Outrage – as in, two themes eternally intertwined. As in, Iron Fist’s finer end of the scale.
  • Shake the World – as in, I smell it’s rotten breath! As in, a heavy, driving, rifftastic stomper.
  • Sharpshooter – as in, ye olde western themes didn’t originate with Ace Of Spades.
  • Shine – as in, I’m gonna make you. This is such a godly video too!
  • Shoot Out All of Your Lights – as in, referencing one’s songs within one’s songs. Shoot Out All Of Your Lights first woven in Angel City.
  • Shoot You in the Back – as in, what is most likely to occur to you in a Western movie!
  • Short Sharp Pain In The Neck – as in, the mini tour from whence the No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith sessions were captured. As in, the time Philthy was freed from his neck brace after having broken said neck.
  • Shut It Down – as in, I just wanna…
  • Shut You Down – as in, not to be confused with Shut It Down. As in, decidedly more personal. As in, one of those really underrated Motörhead tracks from 1916.
  • Shut Your Mouth – as in, a very tidy tribute to Lemmy’s revered MC5. As in, Kicking out the Jams!
  • Silence When You Speak to Me – as in, thematically this one’s a little over my head.
  • Slow Dance – as in, Woman, Orgasmatron. As in, love it!
  • Smiling Like a Killer – as in, a tidy little stomper; lyrics are a little quirky, but the gait of the vocal phrasing has that certain je ne sais quoi that gives me the right kinda rush. The verse-to-chorus-key-change-perpetuated-by-Mikkey’s-happy-little-snare-fill is a high point.
  • Snaggletooth – as in, one of the first six songs recorded by the Kilmister, Wurzel, Campbell and Gill line up for the No Remorse DLP. As in, one of the many names the Little Bastard has been anointed with.
  • Snake Bite Love – as in,  In the zoo, in the zoo, I wanna see the snakes. As in, weirdly awesome riff.
  • Speedfreak – as in, one of Iron Fist’s great redeemers. As in what Motörhead translates to for the Americans.
  • Stagefright/Crash & Burn – as in, Not me, not me, not me!
  • Stand – as in, you can make it! As in, inspiration with Lemmy. As in, the opening banger from Bastards.
  • Stay Clean – as in, how bad assed is that roll at the start. And that riff. Eddie and yet another dazzling display of talent! As in, Lemmy’s white Rickenbacker. That guitar rules!
  • Stay Out of Jail – as in, good advice, whether it’s Lemmy or someone else giving it to you.
  • Steal Your Face – as in, another of the infamous, 6 day long, No Remorse sessions that also yielded Locomotive, Snaggletooth and Killed By Debts.
  • Step Down – as in, when Eddie commanded the mic. As in, Motörhead’s ode to defiance. As in, Eddie’s larynx, and something about the public gaze. As in, oooorrrrraaaaaaaaaggggghhhhh.
  • Steve – as in (We Are) The Road Crew. As in Going To Brazil. As in – sitting in second class.
  • Stiff Records – as in, the label Motörhead recorded their first 7” for that was barred from release by United Artists.
  • Stone Dead Forever – as in, a heavy and dramatic dose of Bomber. As in, I think you hear me, you better listen fast!
  • Stone Deaf in the U.S.A. – as in, embiggened by a dose of very tidy slide guitar, songs about cities and travelling are always cool. Motorhead’s gift to the fans, in a sense.
  • Sucker – as in, killer pinch harmonics, riffs that rage like Burner, and a great fistbanger of a chorus – elevated just right with that key change!
  • Suicide – as in, humans not as clever as they believe they are.
  • Sweet Revenge – as in, Hello Kittens!
  • Sword of Glory – as in, a really bright sounding key – definitely not typical for the band, and not as an opening riff.
  • Sympathy for the Devil, as in Motörhead’s second Rolling Stones cover. As in, sequentially speaking, the final song of Motörhead’s final studio LP, Bad Magic.

T is for:

  • The World Is Yours – as in, the 2010 full length, from the time where Motörhead didn’t seem to write title tracks any longer.
  • Take the Blame – as in, what a filthy, scouring riff. Talk about wild abandon. Snake Bite Love so unfairly dismissed.
  • Tales of Glory – as in, woah baby, it’s the same old story!
  • Talking Head – as in, Lemmy’s contempt for TV and the personalities captured therein. He was reported not to like the song so much. On this occasion, I believe he is mistaken in this assessment.
  • Teach Them How to Bleed – as in, rager from Bad Magic.
  • Teach You How to Sing the Blues – as in, what a step down into the verse. Great palm muted riffs, rife with accents and highlights. Tight build into the chorus, and that fill beyond its final note – soooo good.
  • Tear Ya Down – as in, Eddie working on his scales. As in, not enough lyrics incorporating toenails. Seems legit.
  • Tell Me Who to Kill – as in, I just got to know, so whisper sweet and low… Sugar replacement? Probably not.
  • Terminal Show – as in, the cut anointed to kick off Inferno.
  • The Chase Is Better Than the Catch – as in, what a profound philosophy. Perhaps not as eloquent as Nietzsche, but does that make it any less poignant? I think not!
  • The Devil – as in, My name is on the list of places you should never go.
  • The Game – as in, I’m generally confused by this. It’s not great.
  • The Hammer – as in, Thee Hammer. As in, …this one’s for little Philthy.
  • The One to Sing the Blues – as in, Lemmy often spoke of his anathema for marriage and monogamy. Sometimes he wrote through the lens of what could be perceived as a conflict over this position. I doubt it was ever done in such a raunchy, blues soaked blaze of rock ‘n’ roll glory.
  • The Thousand Names of God – as in, slide guitarrrrrrrr! Four to the floor rocker. Very very very good Motörhead cut, especially the tasteful key changes, and gang vocals!
  • The Train Kept A-Rollin – as in, the second best Motörhead cover ever recorded. As in, the closing cut from the Chiswick debut.
  • The Watcher – as in, one of the tracks liberated from Hawkwind for Motörhead. As in, reminds me of the book, The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner, for reasons I can’t remotely comprehend.
  • The Wolf – as in, ballsy, tough, declaration of the heartless nature of the world in which we live. Lemmy knew how to inspire however, and this one’s goal is empowerment, on a bed of balls out rock ‘n’ roll.
  • Them Not Me – as in, Motörhead guitar tones not always the dream realised.
  • Thunder & Lightning – as in, a 69 year old has never sounded more vital. Great song, ripper sentiment.
  • Till the End – as in, a surreal, and dramatic ode to the end. I’ve little doubt Lemmy knew he was unwell, and I think it’s incredible to have been able to explore episodes like this – a celebration of the life lived, and a forecast of when there is life no more.
  • Time Is Right – as in, You’re just a step or so from the endless yawning pit, Don’t you recognize, The lust for torture in our eyes.
  • Too Good to Be True – as in, that cut where Lemmy gets all romantic like. As in, one of my personal favourites. Magic!
  • Too Late Too Late – as in, positive reiteration that the chase IS better than the catch.
  • Traitor – as in, One of the weaker tracks from Rock ‘n’ Roll, which as good as it is, could have benefited from a few more high pressure cookers. Middle eight is tight, has a sassy, boogie-esque vibe. Is Motörhead to the bone – in intent if nothing else.
  • Trigger – as in, You know I’m weird, I know I’m weird, I´’m crazy. As in, what a magickal little guitar fill before the chorus kicks in!
  • Turn You Round Again – as in, Robbo’s searing guitar playing, Lemmy’s thunderous bass, and Philthy’s fast and loose. As in, It’s all, an uphill run, you know it ain’t much fun! As in, the way Lemmy sings that line – ah, so fucking good. 

U is for:

  • Under the Gun – as in, We don’t have to live under.
  • Under the Knife (Fast) – as in, what’s better than having one destroyer called Under The Knife? Having two.
  • Under the Knife (Slow) – as in, the slow version of Under The Knife, from the B side of Killed By Death 12”.
  • United Artists – as in, the label that signed Motörhead and then refused to release On Parole until the band were independently successful. Not cool U.A.

V is for:

  • Vibrator – as in, Larry Wallis’ peculiar tale of a lady’s love affair with her vibrator. Guaranteed never to fail. It even has its own thoughts, and dialogue. New battery, is that for me? That’s something I could really use.
  • Vic Maile – as in the producer that brought the ruckus to Ace Of Spades, and No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith. As in, the producer that Eddie wasn’t able to shake (literally, nothing metaphoric about it). As in, the guy who would have made Iron Fist the masterpiece is should have been – if only he weren’t uninvited to the party.
  • Victory or Die – as in, the song to storm the gates on Motörhead’s final studio record.
  • Voices from the War – as in, did they believe, or did they die in vain?

W is for:

  • Waiting for the Snake – as in, it’s funny when you listen to some of these albums as stand alone tracks. Without the context of an album, they have a completely different vibe. 2010 was a great year (read: yahrrr as per Lemmy’s preferred pronunciation) for Motörhead. This is evidence of said goodness.
  • Wake the Dead – as in, Phil showing that he could do the big, open chord thing. Wasn’t exclusively Eddie’s domain.
  • Walk a Crooked Mile – as in, lead cut from Motörhead’s 2002 platter – Hammered. You want multi-part harmonies? Here’s where you’re gonna find them!
  • War for War – as in, the time Motörhead sounded like Slayer in their Seasons period.
  • Warpig – as in, the name Mr. Joe Petagno gave to his diabolical creation that gave a vision to Motörhead’s voice. As in, also known as Snaggletooth, and the Little Bastard.
  • Waltz Of The Vampire – as in, Dance, before it was called Dance and it had less words and a zanier title.
  • We Are Motörhead – as in, Motörhead’s grandest declaration for some time. Motörhead’s manifesto no less. As in, the blowerest, most overkill bass intro since Iron Fist. As in, perfection!
  • We Bring the Shake – as in, Second best cut on Bastards; this is epic, has that magickal multi-tracked, chorus effect vocal track, and a ballsy as fuck chorus. Riffs are heavy, song is punchy and tight. Melodious in all the right places, solos that soar. Mikkey sounded his most organic on this record, a plus by any other name. If only I knew what this shake was, and how one acquires one.
  • What’s Words Worth – as in, the live LP released by Atsan, which features the 1978 show where Motörhead performed as Iron Fist and the Hordes From Hell. This appears under a number of different titles, but it’s killer, and especially the bass sound. Unlike the Motörhead we experienced from 1979 and beyond, it really gives Motörhead a different aura.
  • When the Eagle Screams – as in, when the eagle screams, you die!
  • When the Sky Comes Looking for You – as in, the final Motörhead track, from the final Motörhead LP. An exhilarating rush of a song!
  • White Line Fever – as in, the OG 7” version. As in Lemmy’s ode to the toot. As in a song I expect to be about the endless road. As in, a great version with that classic 70s reverb dialed up to 11.
  • Whorehouse Blues – as in,  I found this one to be kinda tricky – for at least 11 years. Finally, I came around to it. My favourite part is when Phil says, “Can we go now?” It’s divisive, but worthwhile – if you give it enough attention. I tapped into the message – if you can call it that. The perceived truth behind it is interesting; even if only metaphor
  • Wurzel, as in, Michael Burston, guitar player for Motörhead from 1984 to 1995. What an axeslinger and riffmaster. As in, no one less famous than me. Legend! RIP Wurzel!

X is for:

  • X-ray – as in, imagine being Motörhead going through airports. Is there a radiation cap on those machines?
  • X – as in, the least popular letter in the alphabet.
  • X – as in, I don’t believe Motörhead ever made it to China, so there’s almost zero chance of them playing in  a city starting with X.
  • X – as in, one of the letters in Mexico. As in Going To… 

Y is for:

  • You Better Run – as in, one of those annoying der ner ner ner ner songs. I can’t almost only hear Bad To The Bone when I listen to this, and that kind of gives me the bleeps. The upshot is that it’s still Motörhead, and even bad Motörhead rules. 

Z is for:

  • Zoom – as in, Phil Campbell’s will they/won’t they stick with this nickname.
  • Zodiac – as in Capricorn. As in, he who is born in the dying days of December. The dark star.
  • ZZ Top – as in, Beerdrinkers and Hellraisers. Best Motörhead cover ever.


Stay clean, be true.

beerdrinkers-12

In order of recording:

  1. What’s Words Worth, #1978. Atsan.
  2. Motörhead Peel Session, #1978.
  3. Motörhead Live in London, #1979.
  4. Motörhead  Live Rockstage, #1980.
  5. No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith, #1981. Bronze.
  6. BBC Live and In Session Vol 1 & 2.
  7. Motörhead Live in Newcastle, #1982.
  8. Orgasmatron, #1986. GWR.
  9. Rock ‘n’ Roll, #1987. GWR.
  10. No Sleep At All, #1988. GWR.
  11. 1916, #1991. Epic.
  12. Bastards, #1993. ZYX.
  13. Sacrifice, #1995. Steamhammer/SPV.


Total Week 51 album plays = 35

Total MotörMania Hellbanging Listening time for week 51 = 25:05


Clouds and poison rain: Fast Eddie on Lemmy’s approach in the studio:

“Fucking hell, what’s the point in having a dog and barking yourself?”

Source: The Guts and the Glory.

How can you keep up to date with this crusade?

Good question, glad you asked.
Twitter: @Motorhead366 – Post at least once a day.
Facebook: 366 Days Of Motorhead – Post once or twice a week.
Instgram: @jaseovspades
e: jaseofspades366@gmail.com

And in this very location. Each channel serves a different purpose, but the math ain’t hard.

What, there are Rules for 366 Days of Motörhead?

The Rules have all but stagnated, so unless something clever occurs to me, they is what they is. For your reading pleasure, the Rules of 366 Days of Motörhead.

 

 

366 Days of Motörhead – Dissecting Week 50

We run through the city, got everything we need, We got all the aces and we got them up our sleeve.

Wow, this is the third last blog of the 366 Days crusade. I may elect to do one wrap up edition beyond the post of December 29th, but only if I feel that I haven’t managed to say everything I needed to at that time. With only two days of the year remaining beyond that point, the most interesting thing I’ll probably have to discuss is withdrawal. But there’s a simple remedy to that – listen to Motörhead. I don’t foresee this being a problem.

I’m going to proceed what I pretty much think is a dumb idea, and rank all the Motörhead studio LPs. Those who saw the 2005 – 2016 post will have observed raking by:

  • Spins/Times Played.
  • Personal preference.
  • Duration – as in 100 spins of a 14 minute record effectively got less airtime than 50 spins of a 30 minute record. If that makes sense.

This isn’t a crass attempt to generate debate; like many of these other lines of inquiry, it’s born of compulsion. It’s not about producing something definitive either. I remain aggressively aligned to the idea that music is subjective. It’s what you feel when you listen to it that makes it great. Affectations of that may contribute, but I’ll take feeling over complexity, sophistication, style, production etc etc any day.

Motörhead – Ranked In order of Spins/Plays – Jan to Dec 2016.

Title Spins
Orgasmatron (1986). GWR. 172 Spins.
Sacrifice (1995). Steamhammer/SPV. 125 Spins.
Bastards (1993). ZYX. 113 Spins.
We Are Motörhead (2000). Steamhammer/SPV. 106 Spins.
Motorizer (2008). Steamhammer/SPV. 105 Spins.
Overnight Sensation (1996). Steamhammer/SPV. 98 Spins.
Rock ‘n Roll (1987). GWR. 84 Spins.
Hammered (2002). Steamhammer/SPV. 83 Spins.
1916 (1990). Epic. 79 Spins.
Bomber (1979). Bronze. 75 Spins.
Ace Of Spades (1980). Bronze. 72 Spins.
March or Die (1992). Epic. 69 Spins.
Another Perfect Day (1983). Bronze. 66 Spins.
Motörhead (1977). Chiswick. 64 Spins.
Overkill (1979). Bronze. 64 Spins.
Iron Fist (1982). Bronze. 64 Spins.
Snake Bite Love (1998). Steamhammer/SPV. 64 Spins.
Inferno (2004). Steamhammer/SPV. 58 Spins.
Bad Magic (2015). UDR. 52 Spins.
Aftershock (2013). UDR. 42 Spins.
On Parole (1975). United Artists. 36 Spins.
The World Is Yours (2010). UDR. 34 Spins.
Kiss Of Death (2006). Steamhammer/SPV. 30 Spins.

The by spins view, as in what I played the most frequently during 2016. Looks like Orgasmatron pushed my buttons pretty hard. Wouldn’t have cited it as my numero uno this time last year, so that’s novel. I would have told you that No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith reigned the Motörhead throne. I didn’t include live LPs as it becomes unnecessarily complicated. The # of plays of Hammersmith wasn’t that excessive either – the difference to the outcome above would have been negligible.

What I do see is a tendency towards Motörhead records that I wasn’t as zealous about before starting the 366 Days of Motörhead crusade. When you’ve got nothing but time, it’s easy to dedicate it to those LPs that, up to that point, weren’t as overwhelming as others. Doubt I’m alone in this instance. Difference is that I’ve broken through. Oh yeahhhh!

Motörhead – Ranked in order of Time/Duration. Jan – Dec 2016.

Title Hours
Orgasmatron (1986). GWR. 102:03:12
Bastards (1993). ZYX. 90:05:10
Sacrifice (1995). Steamhammer/SPV. 75:00:00
Motorizer (2008). Steamhammer/SPV. 68:15:00
We Are Motörhead (2000). Steamhammer/SPV. 67:43:20
Overnight Sensation (1996). Steamhammer/SPV. 66:58:00
Hammered (2002). Steamhammer/SPV. 63:18:38
March or Die (1992). Epic. 53:46:54
1916 (1990). Epic. 51:57:52
Inferno (2004). Steamhammer/SPV. 49:16:04
Another Perfect Day (1983). Bronze. 48:33:54
Rock ‘n Roll (1987). GWR. 47:30:24
Snake Bite Love (1998). Steamhammer/SPV. 46:56:00
Bomber (1979). Bronze. 46:00:00
Ace Of Spades (1980). Bronze. 44:02:24
Iron Fist (1982). Bronze. 38:39:36
Overkill (1979). Bronze. 37:36:00
Bad Magic (2015). UDR. 37:13:24
Motörhead (1977). Chiswick. 34:08:00
Aftershock (2013). UDR. 32:49:48
Kiss Of Death (2006). Steamhammer/SPV. 22:27:00
On Parole (1975). United Artists. 22:11:24
The World Is Yours (2010). UDR. 22:11:06


The by time view is interesting in that only five of these LPs are preserved in the order of plays. Dull reason to include this, but novel to observe the commitment to different records based on their length, vs the number of times they were flipped over and played again. Generally speaking, most were affected by this. Orgasmatron one obvious exception. Nearest comer was 17 hours or 47 plays short. Seems unanimous, doesn’t it?

Where this gets interesting is when I apply person preference to this list, and work through what I believe to be my favourite Motörhead records – from Great to Fucking Great. We need to agree here that Motörhead records are all ranked great to Great to Fucking Great. On a continuum, we’re talking about ground zero being the equivalent of a 70, with fucking great in the 90-100 end of the spectrum.

Here’s a little diagram I made to illustrate:

motorhead-chart

 

See how all of Motörhead exists on the right hand side of the continuum? While all things have a beginning and an end, Motörhead’s studio output is bunched up on the Great to Fucking Great end of the scale.

Motörhead – Ranked in order of Personal Rush.

Preference column is where I rate it (out of the 23 studio albums represented) based on what I feel to be the records I most revere. Spins is the rank based on the number of times each was played.

Title Preference Spins
Orgasmatron (1986). GWR. 1 1
Bastards (1993). ZYX. 2 3
Another Perfect Day (1983). Bronze. 3 13
1916 (1990). Epic. 4 9
Motörhead (1977). Chiswick. 5 15
Bomber (1979). Bronze. 6 10
Ace Of Spades (1980). Bronze. 7 11
We Are Motörhead (2000). Steamhammer/SPV. 8 4
Sacrifice (1995). Steamhammer/SPV. 9 2
Motorizer (2008). Steamhammer/SPV. 10 5
Overkill (1979). Bronze. 11 15
Rock ‘n Roll (1987). GWR. 12 7
Overnight Sensation (1996). Steamhammer/SPV. 13 6
Iron Fist (1982). Bronze. 14 16
Hammered (2002). Steamhammer/SPV. 15 8
Snake Bite Love (1998). Steamhammer/SPV. 16 17
Inferno (2004). Steamhammer/SPV. 17 18
On Parole (1975). United Artists. 18 21
Bad Magic (2015). UDR. 19 19
Kiss Of Death (2006). Steamhammer/SPV. 20 23
The World Is Yours (2010). UDR. 21 22
Aftershock (2013). UDR. 22 20
March or Die (1992). Epic. 23 12

Orgasmatron being at the top of the list is mostly about the obsession I developed with it over the year. That fucked up production bewitched me, and beneath the conflict between Laswell and the band, it’s a ripper set of songs, and I find it hard to get enough.

It makes sense that there is some divergence between records I most adore, and the number of times they were played. Making room – not always intentionally – for records I hadn’t explored as deeply was going to be an inevitability, and as a result, some of those played to death took a secondary position. And that’s the cool thing about one’s most revered. Doesn’t need to be justified. It’s the rush of Motörhead, spanned across 40 years. What each of us gets from it, and how we sort that is superfluous really. That the rush continues to exist; that’s what matters!

In other news…

Pleased to say I have completed, and submitted the Motörhead history piece I wrote for the official Motörhead site, to the Motörhead Minister of Propaganda. Initial thoughts appear on the enthusiastic end of favorable, but I’m not getting ahead of myself. At 15,000 words, it’s epic, and I hope at least one other person gets to the bottom of it. Will be great to see it posted on the site – may be an update for next week.

And today is day 350 of the 366 Days crusade. 350 days of listening to nothing by Motörhead. Oh yeah!


Stay clean, be true.

Motorhead-Orgasmatron

In order of recording:

  1. Bomber, #1979. Bronze.
  2. No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith, #1981. Bronze.
  3. No Remorse, #1984. Bronze.
  4. Orgasmatron, #1986. GWR.
  5. Rock ‘n’ Roll, #1987. GWR.
  6. No Sleep At All, #1988. GWR.
  7. 1916, #1991. Epic.
  8. March or Die, #1992. Epic.
  9. Bastards, #1993. ZYX.
  10. Sacrifice, #1995. SPV.
  11. Overnight Sensation, #1996. SPV.
  12. We Are Motörhead, #2000. SPV.


Total Week 50 album plays = 57

Total MotörMania Hellbanging Listening time for week 50 = 40:15

Clouds and poison rain: Lemmy on god. Oh the irony…

“If there is a God he hasn’t been paying attention. He should retire and hand over to a younger man, because he’s making a real bollocks of everything.”

Source: Good Reads. White Line Fever quotes.

How can you keep up to date with this crusade?

Good question, glad you asked.

Twitter: @Motorhead366 – Post at least once a day.
Facebook: 366 Days Of Motorhead – Post once or twice a week.
e: jaseofspades366@gmail.com

And in this very location. Each channel serves a different purpose, but the math ain’t hard.

What, there are Rules for 366 Days of Motörhead?

The Rules have all but stagnated, so unless something clever occurs to me, they is what they is. For your reading pleasure, the Rules of 366 Days of Motörhead.

366 Days of Motörhead – Dissecting Week 49

beI know the way you feel, I know you ain’t too good / I know it feels like there’s detergent in your blood.

I guess it was around week 12 or 13, I published a blog about all the Motörhead covers from the first decade – 1975 to 1984. As I wanted this crusade to focus more on what Motörhead composed, than the songs they chose to cover, I have ignored the last 30 years beyond 1984 where any comprehensive overview was concerned. And Motörhead’s studio albums aren’t even remotely representative of the number of covers that the band recorded.

It’s my contention that the objective of a good cover song is to make it your own. There is probably no artist who has reimagined the offerings of others quite like Laibach. And there’s no debate that the modus of both Motörhead and Laibach is decidedly different. Benchmarking the success of a cover version by that baseline may exclude pretty much all comers, but when you’re trying to trade off between an interpretation, and a stone cold classic, remotely proximate versions are destined for disappointment.

This is unlikely to be the most favourable collection of words I’ve written about Motörhead – mostly because unlike their own arrangements, which lay waste the heaven and earth, I think a lot of their post 1985 covers are whelming at best. Exceptions? Of course, but if you’re inclined to think that my opinion equates to derision, perhaps best not to read.

IMPORTANT: Some of these inclusions are of course tracks Lemmy recorded with other musicians, so their inclusion as Motörhead is a stretch. I’ve clearly annotated that where applicable.

Covers from 1985 to 2015. Non exhaustive list, even if that’s the vague aspiration.

Song: It’s A Long Way To The Top, 1975.
OG Artist: AC/DC.

It hurts me to say this, but this cover is not so hot. Those reading this blog since inception would have to have picked up my love of Bon Scott era AC/DC, and I’m gonna play the puritan card and say that some songs are best left alone. This is definitely one of them.

This isn’t a Motörhead cover as much as it is a Lemmy collaborated with former Ozzy guitarist Jake E. Lee. And you know, repeated listening diminishes some of the initial recoil of this effort, but it’s really not a place I want to be.

Song: Highway To Hell, 1979.
OG Artist: AC/DC.

Motörhead are effectively off the hook on this one with regard to and shame they may have unwillingly inflicted on the almighty name of Bon Scott era AC/DC. This is a collaboration with A.N.I.M.A.L. who are/were an Argentinian band. It’s novel in that the vocals which are split between Lemmy and Andrés Giménez are also alternately English and Spanish.

Song: The Trooper, 1983.
OG Artist: Iron Maiden.

It’s really interesting to hear Lemmy play bass like a regular human, and it’s nice to hear Iron Maiden performed without that heinous clacking bass sound. I also like his diction here – the lyrics come across a lot more readily with the air raid siren turned off. It’s a faithful cover – I probably don’t love Iron Maiden enough to care about it; and it doesn’t enhance the Motörhead catalogue in any way that would cause feelings of incompleteness. I’m pleased it’s not tethered to a studio LP. That would be less than ideal,

Song: Breaking The Law, 1980.
OG Artist: Judas Priest.

After Painkiller, British Steel is my favourite Priest LP. Anyone (except that Ripper Owens guy who did Halford better than Halford!) would struggle to deliver this. It’s interesting to see Lemmy venturing into territory not native to his visceral roar, but did we really need this? Motörhead were perfect. What does this give us one wonders?

Song: Shout It Out Loud, 1976.
OG Artist: KISS.

I know the true KISS zealots can cite a hundred songs deemed infinitely more classic than the “hits”, but hits summarises the extent of my journey on the KISS continuum. Half a dozen ball tearers, the rest I could care less about. There’s a reasonably kind way to describe a decent enough cover – faithful, and that’s pretty much what this is. Translated, it means that it’s more or less quite very OK. This is also a questionable inclusion on the Motörhead covers list, as it doesn’t feature Phil or Mikkey; but guitarist Jennifer Batten who played with Michael Jackson and Jeff Beck, and drummer Samantha Maloney of Hole, and Mötley Crüe fame. The backing vocals are probably the most interesting element here – some sense of Paul Stanley’s overt musicality and harmony. Lemmy executes this better than some of the other covers his vocal chords aspired to, but you know, his voice was generally best served as the indomitable roar of Motörhead.

Song: Hellraiser, 1992.
OG Artist: Lemmy Kilmister, Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde.

I’ve included this as I dig both the song, and the Hellraiser Trilogy. It’s not really a cover, as Lemmy penned it for Ozzy. Ozzy recorded it, and so did Motörhead. It’s almost disjointed on March or Die but that may come from understanding its origins. Lemmy playing cards with Pinhead is awesome. I was quite fond of I’m reasonably new to LA, how does this side-part suit me? Lemmy.

Song: Whiplash, 1983
OG Artist: Metallica.

It’s novel that Motörhead should cover an artist they were such a profound influence on. One of those righteous details about Lemmy and Motörhead – that egalitarian spirit. And Motörhead really dialed up the heaviness factor for this one – in fact, I can’t really think of the band elsewhere in this general context. Lemmy, as one who typically ridiculed your average, run o’ the mill bass player, did a pretty good job at being one when required. And this non-rhythm guitar stle of bass playing is what makes this version so heavy. Lemmy’s vocals interface with Metallica’s arrangements well, and Phil and Mikkey were definitely schooled in this approach back when they did Burner on Bastards. Can I say that Burner is the better of the two songs? I know Motörhead won a Grammy award for this (2005, Best Metal Performance), but when did that ever mean anything? This is probably the best Motörhead cover of the band’s final decade. Oh and yes, Burner is the superior of the two songs. As if you needed me to tell you that!

Song: Enter Sandman, 1991.
OG Artist: Metallica.

Lemmy teamed up with Zebrahead for this rendition of Metallica’s world destroyer, and while he is a suitable changeover for James Hetfield, the music bed (bass aside) is unremarkable. Would it have been better with Phil and Mikkey? I expect so. Would the world have been a better place for it? Guess there would be some Metallica fans whose interested transcended 1988 and want to hear the old Lemola’s take on the cut that truly pushed Hetfield’s voice to the world arena.

Song: Sympathy For The Devil, 1968
OG Artist: The Rolling Stones.

The final song on Motörhead’s final studio LP – you gotta attach some sort of prophetic imagining to it. I’ve listened to this so much this year that I’ve pretty well forgotten what the Stones’ version was like, although I rate it extremely highly – as a Stones classic, and as a rollicking good song period! It’s better than pedestrian, but one of the most thrilling sections is where Phil elevates it with some smoking lead playing. It’s gonna be difficult for anyone approaching this type of cut from the late 60s in a reasonably standard manner to exceed the initial communique, but kudos to Motörhead for giving it a red hot go. The lyrical theme works very well for Mr. Kilmister – he’s totally the correct person to deliver it.

Song: Jumpin’ Jack Flash.
OG Artist: The Rolling Stones.

Bolted on to some versions of the Bastards CD, but recorded a number of years beyond those sessions, it’s another interesting inclusion, though for me personally, it doesn’t enhance that bordering on perfect LP in any way. Lemmy does well on the harmonies, and Phil plays the hell outta that classic riff, while Mikkey’s heavier-than-thou command of the drum kit provides a weight that the Stones would have never approached. As a standalone it’s pretty good. Hearing Lemmy approach a song decidedly different to Motörhead’s style is appealing. I don’t know, you decide what to do with it. I’m happy it’s not on the vinyl version.

Song: God Save The Queen, 1977.
OG Artist: The Sex Pistols.

We Are Motörhead is such an ass kicker LP. And while rock ‘n’ roll is rock ‘n’ roll in each and every one of its varied incarnations, The Sex Pistols were different enough from Motörhead for this to stand out, but also stylistically proximate enough for it to work. Beyond Phil’s lead playing and the excellent No Future trail out, it is a (there’s that word again) faithful rendition. Is We Are Motörhead better or worse for its inclusion? That’s in the lap of the gods…

Song: Cat Scratch Fever, 1977.
OG Artist: Ted Nugent.

Motörhead did this cover waaaaaay better than the original from 1977. My only beef is its location on March or Die, but if you were unaware it was a cover, its position in the sequence unlikely to ruffle your feathers. What I do like about this song’s inclusion is that it improves significantly on one of my least rated Motörhead cuts – (Don’t Need) Religion. Appreciate it’s not the same song, but it’s similar enough for me to trade it off. Yes, much better added to Iron Fist than March or Die. Can we revisit that? There are holograms out there touring these days – surely this isn’t a bridge too far?

Song: Are You Ready, 1981
OG Artist: Thin Lizzy

I haven’t encountered a studio version of this recorded by Motörhead, but chose to include it out of love/respect for Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott. Phil and Lemmy were mates, as I expect anyone who has got this far in will be all too aware of – a publicity ligger, just like me!  Motörhead live was a whole other thing. Left to their own devices, Thin Lizzy could never have conjured this. Worthy of attention for that reason alone. And because Thin Lizzy. I pondered the feasibility of this with Robbo on guitar. The thought kinda went nowhere. Maybe I’ll go an listen to Another Perfect Day.

 

Song: Shoot ‘em Down
OG Artist: Twisted Sister.

Oh yeah, this could have been a Motörhead song, and it pretty damn good one too! Lemmy’s style is definitely different to Dee Snider’s, but it definitely adapts well to the New Yorker’s 1982 rocker. Recorded in 2001, it adds little that the original possessed, but it rocks like a hurricane, and that’s enough for me. Nothing holy was profaned here.

In a vaguely related current, there’s a great story told by Dee Snider of Twisted Sister’s first trip to the UK. The band didn’t seem to be going over so well, and Snider reflects on how Lemmy introduced them; endorsing the New Yorkers if you will. Of course, Twisted Sister became world destroyers, and Lemmy and Dee remained pals. The footage of Robbo and Lemmy onstage with TS on Top Of The Pops is gold. What a great fuckin’ character our Lemmy was.

The Motörhead Band History

I’ve commented a few times about writing a band history for the official Motörhead site, and I’m pleased to say it’s done! My imbecilic enthusiasm overpowering the voice of reason that was trying to tell me how colossal an effort it would be ha ha, but despite the effort, it was enjoyable compiling it. It was a pretty hard offer to refuse as well. Not every day that you get invited to write something of this nature. Rounded out just shy of 15,000 words – an equivalent to seven or so of these posts. Here’s hoping our friends at Motörhead HQ dig it.

Stay clean, be true.

Motorhead-Bastards

In order of recording:

  1. Motörhead, #1977, Chiswick.
  2. Overkill, #1979. Bronze.
  3. Bomber, #1979. Bronze.
  4. Ace Of Spades, #1980. Bronze.
  5. Iron Fist, #1982. Bronze.
  6. Another Perfect Day, #1983. Bronze.
  7. Orgasmatron, #1986. GWR.

Total Week 49 album plays = 42

Total MotörMania Hellbanging Listening time for week 49 = 27:02

 

Clouds and poison rain: Lemmy on performing beyond the grave:

“What, after death? No! I’ll have to stop then – I think. But you never know, I could haunt somewhere, mess up somebody else’s gig.”

Source: German TV ZDF from November 20th, 2015.

How can you keep up to date with this crusade?

Good question, glad you asked.
Twitter: @Motorhead366 – Post at least once a day.
Facebook: 366 Days Of Motorhead – Post once or twice a week.
e: jaseofspades366@gmail.com

And in this very location. Each channel serves a different purpose, but the math ain’t hard.

What, there are Rules for 366 Days of Motörhead?

The Rules have all but stagnated, so unless something clever occurs to me, they is what they is. For your reading pleasure, the Rules of 366 Days of Motörhead.

366 Days of Motörhead – Dissecting Week 48

Murder I am, you know it was me / I was the one, that you didn’t see / I was the cut, down to you bone / I put you there under that stone

Officially, it is the first day of summer today, here in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia. You wouldn’t know it were you to use the weather as a barometer (meteorological joke? Who knew?) But que sera I suppose.

Summer is where the 366 Days crusade began, and if the namesake is any indicator, where it will end. The 1st of December kicking off the campaign’s final month.

Though each decade of Motörhead was to coincide with a specific period of the year – Jan to Mar = 1975 – 1984, Apr – Jun = 1985 – 1994 and so on, I’ve decided it would be much more entertaining to cast this aside for December, and dedicate each day to a sole Motörhead release. As December is a bumpy month, I won’t get through 31 records, but I’ll give it a red hot go. I’ll start with the studio LPs and depending on how far that takes me, move on to some of the other rip-roaring collections bolstered by the almighty name of Motörhead.

Today’s post will go no further than On Parole, but that’s OK, On Parole is a great fucking record! It seems contemporaneously marginalised more than it should be, and I suppose it’s proximate enough to the self titled for people to disregard it. As it is a lot like the Chiswick official debut from ‘77, this gives me license to focus here about how bad assed Larry Wallis was. The former Pink Fairies guitarist contributed four of the nine cuts that featured on the LP that United Artists would Foolishly shelve until the bottom of 1979, when Motörhead had proven themselves worth the candle; successful with three more studio albums beyond their 1975 communique.

Wallis handled lead on vocals on Vibrator and Fools. As Lemmy’s vocals hadn’t quite achieved that visceral roar status he would become notorious for, the trade off between the two singers is less obvious that you may imagine. It doesn’t break the flow of the record at any rate.

“This is a song for all you managers and agents out there. Are ya listening? Good!”

 

Interestingly, like Lemmy’s embryonic contributions having originated as Hawkwind compositions – Motörhead, The Watcher and Lost Johnny, of Wallis’ four contributions, On Parole, Vibrator, Fools and City Kids, the last listed was a liberated Pink Fairies cut from 1973’s Kings of Oblivion LP.

I’d be surprised if anyone reading this didn’t already know, but it was during these sessions that Philthy “Animal – For Sexual Reasons” Taylor made the scene. Lemmy and Larry were whelmed by original drummer Lucas Fox’s performance, and Mr. Taylor tracked his drums to the music that was already laid down. Not the tried and true approach – you’d never know it by listening to this record, that’s for sure. Curious if the three were ever photographed together: Taylor, Wallis and Kilmister that is.

I did stumble across this in White Line Fever and it does depict the three members who cut On Parole together. I was thinking something more proximate to 1975, than 1985. Classic photo – straight out of the book.

motorhead-birthday-party

As would be the case on March or Die where Philthy managed to impress himself on to a solitary track – Ain’t No Nice Guy; Fox also managed one minor feat where his drum tracks were maintained on Lost Johnny. Forgetting he is a person for a moment, his performance on this track was kinda pedestrian by comparison. But comparing anyone to little Philthy is, well, not ideal for the comparee. Fox managed to stay outta jail at least…

Lucas Fox didn’t completely fade away after Motörhead. A little research turned up a couple of really interesting details for me. He toured Europe with Australian band The Scientists in 1985, and he also worked with Sisters Of Mercy mainman Andrew Eldtritch (don’t worry, he cites Motörhead as an influence on the Sisters) on his Gift EP released under the flag of the Sisterhood. I guess Fox knew he’d be secondary to a drum machine on that occasion – eyes wide open and all that.

As it fairly typical of most Motörhead records, there are clear indicators when the recording was made. On Parole literally reeks of the 70s, and the big, unrefined bass sounds, and brittle lead guitar. I love imagining the music almost bursting out of the two inch tape. There’s also that undeniable odyssey-like aura – expansive leads, chord progressions, meandering bass, and a gentle brush with psychedelia – homage never flies this close, so you know it’s the real deal.

The photo below is of one of my own Motörhead LPs. I picked this up in New Zealand in 2000 when we were touring there. A cherished possession to be sure. It’s the right degree of beat up. Having said that, the reissues with the alternate/demo takes of On Parole, City Kids, Motörhead and Leaving Here totally rival the studio versions and must be heard!


Stay clean, be true.
img_0796

In order of recording:

  1. On Parole, #1975/1979. United Artists.
  2. BBC Live and In Session.
  3. Bomber, #1979. Bronze.
  4. Iron Fist, #1982. Bronze.
  5. Live in Toronto, #1982.
  6. Another Perfect Day, #1983. Bronze.
  7. No Remorse, #1984. Bronze.
  8. Orgasmatron, #1986. GWR.
  9. Rock ‘n’ Roll, #1987. GWR.
  10. No Sleep At All, #1988. GWR.
  11. 1916, #1991. Epic.
  12. Bastards, #1993. ZYX.
  13. Sacrifice, #1995. Steamhammer.
  14. Overnight Sensation, #1996. Steamhammer.
  15. Snake Bite Love, #1998. Steamhammer.
  16. Hammered, #2002. Steamhammer.
  17. Kiss Of Death, #2006. Steamhammer.
  18. Motörizer, #2008. Steamhammer.
  19. The World Is Yours, #2010. UDR.
  20. Aftershock, #2013. UDR.
  21. Bad Magic, #2015. UDR.


Total Week 48 album plays = 48

Total MotörMania Hellbanging Listening time for week 48 = 36:25

Clouds and poison rain: Lemmy on the lyrical inspiration on Ace Of Spades:

“My lyrics on Ace Of Spades came from what I know personally. Like The Chase Is Better Than The Catch – well it is, isn’t it? I mean, whenever you move in with somebody, it’s fucking gone, you know?”

Source: White Line Fever

How can you keep up to date with this crusade?

Good question, glad you asked.
Twitter: @Motorhead366 – Post at least once a day.
Facebook: 366 Days Of Motorhead – Post once or twice a week.
e: jaseofspades366@gmail.com

And in this very location. Each channel serves a different purpose, but the math ain’t hard.

What, there are Rules for 366 Days of Motörhead?

The Rules have all but stagnated, so unless something clever occurs to me, they is what they is. For your reading pleasure, the Rules of 366 Days of Motörhead.

366 Days of Motörhead – Dissecting Week 47

You are the people, now you shine / You and you and you / Stay together, let me speak the line / What you gonna do?

I’ve tried to avoid the whole rating of the albums thing – vacillating between the will I, won’t I? And feeling some compulsion not to let it go when windswept in the upward arc of the axe’s swing. I’m also lacking a little (read tiny) inspiration at present, should the truth be known. After 327 days (at time of writing) I’m starting to look forward to the year’s end,.

While I’ve long considered this quest one that is completely attainable, it’s starting to manifest within me, that the sustainable duration of this crusade may be what I’m dawning on. There’s no part of me that believes this romance with Motörhead will ever wane – merciless listening certainly hasn’t quelled that during this year, any more than it did the 25 years before, but when I focus on the longer term sustainability for myself, I’m thinking that December is going to be a tough gig ha ha. The simplest cure however, is Motörhead on the screen. Watching some of the Bronze Age live footage last night – man, what a rush. The rush of rushes! The Lemmy doco/movie is a mandatory. The interview on disc 2 with Fast Eddie could be the greatest suite of quotable quotes captured. Legend the word!

None of these comments are designed to detract from this quest – it’s straight up shinfo – as so many posts were before. I’ve definitely been a little underwhelmed in months past by what I thought may have been a more difficult challenge – listening to one band exclusively for an entire year. I thought that someone as obsessed as I am when it comes to listening a diverse array of hideous guitar music would have found this solitary quest more onerous. I did elect my most revered for this ambition however, so that undoubtedly upped the success ante exponentially. And really, who other than characters like Lemmy, Philthy, Wurzel, Phil, Eddie, Robbo, Milkey and Larry could inspire such zealotry? I tell ya who? No one!

Music is for me liberating, cathartic, and I often find myself interpreting and channelling my perception of what the artist had in mind when composing. There’s a part of me that has considered that one artist cannot provide that breadth of human experience, and I think this is as valid an argument as fatigue.

One thing that I definitely haven’t spoken about in these posts, and it’s been amplified considerably by listening to Motörhead in a reasonably serial manner, is the underlying narrative of this alignment to Lemmy’s personal journey. It would be misleading to say that there was some grand scheme that played out across these 20 odd records, but as  time marched on, the mood grew decidedly more ominous. His lyrics richer; I wouldn’t say they were any more poignant, but there was a reflectiveness that flowered within these words, and I’d argue that much of Bad Magic mirrored a belief that this would most likely be the final offensive.

Oh, and happy birthday to the Beerdrinkers EP. 36 years old this week!

What was it we came for?

So rather than go berzerk trying to rate every single living Motörhead studio LP in some static sequence, I’m gonna look at those of the decade I find myself focused on during the October to December period – namely, the 2005 to 2015 era.

There are a few different ways to look at this list, so I’ll bang out a couple of variables.

  1. Order of plays.
  2. Order of preference.
  3. Order of hours listened.

Note: if this seems an absurd waste of time, with a truly meaningless outcome, you are absolutely correct.

I may have a touch of the Mikkey’s at the moment, but it’s not quite this dramatic for me:

“We had no time to write another tune, we had nothing left. I remember me and Phil, we were drained; our manager called and said, ‘Mick, you have to write maybe two or three more songs’ and I said ‘I can’t even write one riff more, I’m exhausted.’”

Source: Metal-Rules.

Order of plays (October 1st – November 24th).

  1. Motörizer, #2008. SPV – 99 spins.
  2. Bad Magic, #2015. UDR – 52 spins.
  3. Aftershock, #2013.UDR – 41 spins.
  4. The World Is Yours, #2010. UDR – 32 spins.
  5. Kiss Of Death, #2008. SPV – 29 spins.

Order of preference. As in, anecdotally, the records I’d tell you I revere most.

  1. Kiss Of Death, #2008. SPV.
  2. Motörizer, #2008. SPV.
  3. Bad Magic, #2015. UDR.
  4. The World Is Yours, #2010. UDR.
  5. Aftershock, #2013. UDR.

Order of time (hours). They all run for different durations of time.

  1. Motörizer, #2008. SPV – 64:21
  2. Bad Magic, #2015. UDR – 37:13
  3. Aftershock, #2013.UDR – 32:03
  4. Kiss Of Death, #2008. UDR – 21:42
  5. The World Is Yours, #2010. UDR – 20:52

Small deviation where The World went round more times than Kiss but shorter duration.

Prevailing logic?

Yeah, that’s a tricky thing to quantify. Motörizer was definitely my least listened to from this decade before starting the 366 Days crusade. Contrasting with The World Is Yours as my the one I’d tuned in to most (at  least relative to the latter part of the decade), I can readily see why I may have laid off that one a little in recent months. It’s a great record – arguably one of the band’s most end-to-end consistent (I’ve probably said that about ten others), and despite thinking it one of the aesthetically weakest covers Motörhead ever attached their name to, it’s a tough, insolent collection, and no real reason to find it on the lower rungs, except for that saturation. Kiss Of Death would also rank in that heavy concentration logic, but I’m so fucking psyched by Going Down, I’ve been playing it on repeat, 5, 6, even 10 times in a row. Greatest Motörhead cut of this decade. And there were some rippers. Rock Out, The 1000 Names Of God, Devils In My Head, End Of Time, and When The Sky Comes Looking For You to name but a few!

In other news, I’m 10,000 words +/- through the band history for the http://imotorhead.com/ site. It’s slowly taking form. My goal is for it to be interesting, but not aggressively linear; allowing the records to create the timeline, but tethering anecdotes and events to each. I think it will be something when it’s done, and I’ll publish it here, in original form, irrespective of what http://imotorhead.com/ decide to do with it. My dream is that it is published verbatim, but I need to consider that there may be events and anecdotes I haven’t featured that would be essential to include. It needs to live/breathe/evolve, and there’s some degree of surrender required from me. Besides, it’s not my story, I’m just a person trying to tell it in a way I deign interesting to read. My passion for Motörhead the force.

Stay clean, be true.
beerdrinkers-12

In order of recording:

  1. Motörhead, #1977. Chiswick.
  2. Overkill, #1979. Bronze.
  3. Bomber, #1979. Bronze.
  4. Orgasmatron, #1986. GWR.
  5. Rock ‘n’ Roll, #1987. GWR.
  6. Bastards, #1993. ZYX.
  7. Sacrifice, #1995. Steamhammer.
  8. We Are Motörhead, #2000. Steamhammer.
  9. Kiss Of Death, #2006. Steamhammer.
  10. Motörizer, #2008. Steamhammer.
  11. The World Is Yours, #2010. UDR.
  12. Aftershock, #2013. UDR.
  13. Bad Magic, #2015. UDR.


Total Week 47 album plays = 58
Total MotörMania Hellbanging Listening time for week 47 = 40:08

Clouds and poison rain: Lemmy on what it means to be a friend:

“As you go through life’s rich tapestry, you realize that most people you meet aren’t fit to shine your shoes. It’s a sad fact, but it’s true. A good friend is someone who’d hide you if you were on the run for murder. How many of them do you know?”

Source: The Independent

How can you keep up to date with this crusade?

Good question, glad you asked.

Twitter: @Motorhead366 – Post at least once a day.
Facebook: 366 Days Of Motorhead – Post once or twice a week.
e: jaseofspades366@gmail.com

And in this very location. Each channel serves a different purpose, but the math ain’t hard.

What, there are Rules for 366 Days of Motörhead?

The Rules have all but stagnated, so unless something clever occurs to me, they is what they is. For your reading pleasure, the Rules of 366 Days of Motörhead.