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"We are Motörhead.......
......And We Play Rock and Roll!'
This is the usual opening line for a live Motörhead show and everyone can be sure that this band will kick some ass, because Motörhead’s approach has remained the same over the band’s career, preferring to play what they enjoy and do best – bone-crunching rock’n’roll! Their appreciation of said-music is enriched with a dash of punk, a pinch of heavy metal and their well known sound intensity with lots of decibels, the bass rumbling in your stomach and suggesting you’d maybe better protect your ear canals. And nobody does it quite like Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister (1975-
present, founding father) on bass and vocals, PhilCampbell (1984-present) on guitar and Mikkey Dee (1992-present) on drums. “I come from way before Metal,” states Lemmy, “I’m playing Rock’ n’ Roll and I think Rock’ n’ Roll should be sacred – it is to me. I don’t see why it should not be for everybody else."
Motörhead was and is unquestionable influential to many, many other bands.The famous ‘snaggletooth’, or war pig, one of the best known logos around the world, is the fanged ace that serves as the symbol of Motörhead. Collaborating with Lemmy to create this iconic masterpiece, artist Joe Petagno drew it in 1977 for the cover of the band’s debut album. Petagno stated: "The inspiration came from just being a naturally pissed off bastard! And Lemmy is the same way! So it was bound to be an alchemal wedding of a more ‘primordial nature’. I did a lot of research on skull types and found an x-breed gorilla-wolf-dog combination would work nicely with some oversized boars horns. Lemmy added helmet, chains, spit, spikes and grit.”
But before that, there had to be a band. A band that would NOT be called Bastard (this was the early front-runner for a name!) and a band to be formed in 1975 by bassist, singer and songwriter Ian Frazer Kilmister, AKA, Lemmy. Lemmy had been fired from Hawkwind in May 1975 for, as he says, “ oing the wrong drugs". He was arrested on suspicion of possessing cocaine at the Canadian border and spent five days in prison,
causing the band to cancel some of their North America tour dates. Now on his own, Lemmy decided to form his own band and call them Motörhead, inspired by the final song he had written for Hawkwind. Lemmy always concentrated on very basic music: loud, fast, raucous, rock n roll... By April 1977, living in squats and with little recognition, and after some debate, the band agreed to do a farewell show at the Marquee Club in London. Lemmy had become acquainted with Ted Carroll from Chiswick Records and asked him to bring a mobile studio to the show to record it for posterity. Carroll was unable to get the mobile unit to the Marquee Club but showed up backstage after the gig and offered two days at Escape Studios with producer Speedy Keen to record a single. The band took the chance, and instead of recording a single they laid down 11 unfinished tracks. Carroll gave them a few more days at Olympic Studios to finish the vocals and the band completed 13 tracks for release as an album. Chiswick issued the single "Motörhead" in June, followed by the album Motörhead in August, which spent one week in the UK Albums Chart at number 43. The
band toured the UK supporting Hawkwind in June, then from late July they commenced the 'Beyond the Threshold of Pain' tour with The Count Bishops. The 1976–1982 Motörhead line up: Lemmy Kilmister, Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor and "Fast" Eddie Clarke
In September 1978, the single "Louie Louie" was issued peaking at number 68 on the UK Singles Chart, and the band toured the UK to promote it and appeared for the first time on BBC Television's Top of the Pops on 25 October. Chiswick capitalized on this new level of success by re-issuing the debut album Motörhead on white vinyl through EMI Records. By this time, the standard of their performances had improved considerably, and the uncompromising nature of their music was beginning to garner a following from enthusiasts of both metal and punk. The single's success led to the studio to record an album On 9 March 1979 when the band played "Overkill" on Top of the Pops to support the release of the single ahead of the Overkill album, which was released on 24 March. It became Motörhead's first album to break into the top 40 of the UK Albums chart, reaching number 24, with the single reaching number 39 on the UK Singles A year later the band were working on their next album, Bomber. It reached number 12 on the UK Albums Chart. On 1 December, it was followed by the "Bomber" single, which reached number 34 on the UK Singles Chart. The 'Bomber' Europe and UK tour followed, with support from Saxon. The stage show featured a spectacular aircraft bomber-shaped lighting rig. The title-track of the Bomber album was inspired by the Len Deighton novel Bomber, which was a real-time chronicle of an RAF bombing raid from the points of view of all concerned: from the RAF crews, the Luftwaffe, and the civilians on the ground. During the 'Bomber' tour, United Artists put together tapes recorded during the Rockfield Studios sessions in 1975/6 and released them as the album On Parole, which peaked at number 65 on the UK Albums Chart in December.
The "Ace of Spades" single was released on 27 October 1980 as a preview of the Ace of Spades album, which followed on 8 November. The single reached #15 and the album reached #4 on the UK charts and reached gold. The album has been described as "one of the best metal albums by any band, ever".The band had more chart hits in 1981 with the releases St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP, their collaboration with Girlschool which reached #5 on the UK Singles Chart in February; the live version of "Motörhead", which reached #6 on the UK Singles Chart in July; and the album it was taken from, No Sleep 'til Hammersmith, which reached #1 on the UK Albums Chart in June. Between 26 and 28 January 1982, the band started recording their self-produced new album. On 3 April the single "Iron Fist" was released, reaching #29 on the UK Singles Chart, followed by the parent album Iron Fist, released on 17 April and peaking at #6 on the UK Albums Chart.
Clarke left as a consequence of the band recording Stand By Your Man, a cover version of the Tammy Wynette classic, in collaboration with Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics. Clarke felt that this compromised the band's principles, refused to play on the recording and resigned, later forming his own band, Fastway. Lemmy and Taylor made numerous telephone calls to find a guitarist, including one to Brian Robertson, formerly with Thin Lizzy, who was recording a solo album in Canada. He agreed to help out and complete the tour with them. Robertson signed a one-album deal resulting in 1983's Another Perfect Day and the two singles from it, "Shine" and "I Got Mine".
After Robertson's departure in 1983, the band received tapes from all over the world from potential guitarists. The group returned to the concept of dual lead guitars by hiring unknowns Würzel and Phil Campbell (ex-Persian Risk). In February 1984, the Lemmy, Campbell, Würzel and Taylor line-up recorded "Ace of Spades" for the "Bambi" episode in the British television series, The Young Ones. Taylor quit the band after that recording, causing
Lemmy to quip: "Did I leave them or did they leave me?" Before joining Motörhead, Phil Campbell had met ex-Saxon drummer Pete Gill, and the trio decided to call him to see if he would like to visit London. The try-outs went well and Gill was hired. During the sessions between 19 May and 25 May 1984 at Britannia Row Studios, London, the band recorded six tracks for the single's B-side and a new album. The single "Killed by Death" was released on 1 September and reached #51 in the UK Singles Chart, the double album No Remorse was released on 15 September and reached silver disc status, attaining the position of #14 in the UK Album charts.
With the court case resolved, the band signed to Epic/WTG and spent the last half of 1990 recording a new album and single in Los Angeles. The single "The One to Sing the Blues" issued on 5 January 1991, was followed by the album 1916 in February. The single, which was issued in 7", cassette, shaped picture disc, 12" and CD single, reached #45 in the UK Singles Charts, the album reached #24 in the UK Album Charts.
On 28 March 1992 the band played what would turn out to be Taylor's last gig at Irvine Meadows, Irvine, California. The band had wanted Lemmy to get rid of their manager, Doug Banker, for some time and after an unsolicited visit from Todd Singerman, who insisted he should manage them despite never having managed a band before, the band met with Singerman and decided to take him on board, firing Banker. In the midst of this, the band recorded an album at Music Grinder Studios, in the city's east part of Hollywood during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Three
drummers participated in the making of the March ör Die album: Phil Taylor, who was fired because he did not learn the drum
tracks on the song "I Ain't No Nice Guy"; Tommy Aldridge who recorded most of the material on the album; and Mikkey Dee, who
recorded "Hellraiser", a song originally written by Lemmy for Ozzy Osbourne's No More Tears album. The March Ör Die album features guest appearances by Ozzy Osbourne and Slash.
Lemmy had known Mikkey Dee from the time when King Diamond had toured with Motörhead. He had asked Dee to become Motörhead's drummer before, but Dee had declined due to his commitment to King Diamond. On this occasion, Dee was available and met the band to try out. Playing the song "Hellraiser" first, Lemmy thought "he was very good immediately. It was obvious that it was going to work." After recording "Hellraiser" and "Hell on Earth" in the studio, Dee's first gig with Motörhead was on August 30 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. On 27 September, the band played at the Los Angeles Coliseum with Metallica and Guns N' Roses. The band toured Argentina and Brazil during October and conducted the 'Bombers and Eagles in 92' tour of Europe with Saxon throughout December. The band recorded at A & M Studios and Prime Time Studios in
Hollywood and the resultant album, Bastards, was released on 29 November 1993. The single "Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me" included the song "Born to Raise Hell" which also appeared on the album and would later be rerecorded and released as a single in its own The band's 1995 touring schedule began in Europe in late April. In June, they went on a second tour with Black Sabbath, this time supported by Tiamat, until the band succumbed to influenza and headed back to Los Angeles, to Cherokee Studios in Hollywood where they were to record an album. During the sessions it became clear that Würzel was not extending himself and left the band after the recording. The title track from the album, Sacrifice, was later used in the movie Tromeo and Juliet, a film in which Lemmy appears as the narrator. The band decided to continue as a three-man line-up and a tour of Europe was performed throughout October. Lemmy celebrated his 50th Birthday later that year with the band at the Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles; Metallica played at the event under the name "The Lemmy's".A tour of the USA with Dio and Speedball began with two shows (Los Angeles & Hollywood) in early October 1996 and concluded in Washington on December 4. During this time the band had recorded Overnight Sensation, at Ocean Studio and Track House Recording Studio. The album was released on 15 October, the first official album of the band as a three-piece since Another Perfect Day and the best distributed album the band had had for years. The band concluded the year's touring with thirteen dates in Lemmy recalled that the touring was going particularly well, with some countries like Argentina and Japan putting the band in larger venues. In his opinion the three-piece line-up were performing excellently and it was high time they made another live record. The band did eventually, but made another studio album first, Snake Bite Love, recorded in various studios and released on 10 March 1998.On 21 May, Motörhead were recorded at The Docks in Hamburg.
The tracks from this performance were later released as Everything Louder Than Everyone Else. The band were invited to join the Ozzfest Tour and played dates across the States during early July until early August and were in Europe from early October until late November. In 1999 Motörhead made a tour of the states between 20 April and 2 June, before going to Karo Studios in Brackel, Germany to record their next album, We Are Motörhead, which was released in May the following year. In May 2000, the release of We Are Motörhead and the single from it, "God Save the Queen", coincided with the start of the band's 'We Are Motörhead' tour across South and North America during May and June, with a further nine shows across in Europe in July. Shows in the USA and France were followed by the release of a double-disc compilation album, The Best Of, on 12 September.
Four dates in Japan preceded the band's 25th Anniversary concert on 22 October at the Brixton Academy in London, where guest
appearances were made by "Fast" Eddie Clarke, Brian May, Doro Pesch, Whitfield Crane, Ace, Paul Inder and Todd Campbell. The
show also featured the return of the Bomber-lighting rig. The event was filmed and released the following year as the 25 & Alive Boneshaker DVD, and the CD of the show, Live at Brixton Academy, was released two years after that. Lemmy states the reason for the DVD as wanting "to record it for the posterity or whatever it is. I nodded off through the 10th Anniversary, we never did anything on the 20th , so the 25th made sense."
After taking a month off, the band began working on a new album at Chuck Reid's house in the Hollywood Hills. This album, Hammered, was released the following year. On 1 April 2001 the band gave a one song performance for Triple H's entrance at WrestleMania X-Seven at the Reliant Astrodome in Houston. The second leg of the 'We Are Motörhead' tour began in May in Ireland, moving across to the United Kingdom. Between June and August, Motörhead played at a number of rock festivals in Europe; including as the Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium, the Quart Festival in Norway, and the Wacken Open Air on August 4, where four songs were recorded for the 25 & Alive Boneshaker DVD. The band returned to the States for a seven show tour between late September and early October. In April 2002 a DVD of some of Motörhead's performances from the '70s and '80s along with some stock footage of the band was released as The Best of Motörhead. Two weeks earlier, the Hammered album was released and supported by the 'Hammered' tour, which kicked off in the States at around the same time. The USA dates continued until late May, and a European leg followed between June and August In April and May 2003, the band continued to promote the
Hammered album in the States, and on the three dates Phil Campbell had to miss, his mother having died, Todd Youth stood in for him. Between late May and mid-July the band played seven dates at Summer Festivals in Europe and from late-July until the end of August, they were touring the USA with Iron Maiden and Dio. On 7 October a comprehensive five-disc collection of the band's recordings covering 1975–2002 was released as Stone Deaf On 22 February 2004 Motörhead performed an invitation only concert at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London; at Summer Festivals in South America during May; and also Europe during June, July and August. The band had already spent time in the recording studio, working on their next album, Inferno, which was released on 22 June and was followed by the 'Inferno' tour of all thru Europe. The show on 7 December at the Philipshalle in Düsseldorf was recorded and later released as the Stage Fright
Motörhead picked up their first Grammy in the awards of 2005 in the Best Metal Performance category for their cover of Metallica's "Whiplash" on Metallic Attack: The Ultimate Tribute. From March until early May, the band toured the USA, and in June and August were on the '30th Anniversary' tour in Europe. Kiss of Death, was released on 29 August 2006 with a video for "Be My Baby". The tour ended with a gig on 25 November at the
From March through to June 2008, the band convened in Los Angeles with producer Cameron Webb to begin work on their 19th album Motörizer. Mikkey Dee's drum tracks were recorded at Dave Grohl's studio. Motörizer was released on 26 August. In June 2008 the band performed at the main stage of the Download festival. Between August 6 and August 31, Motörhead joined with Judas Priest, Heaven & Hell and Testament on the
Metal Masters Tour.
Between March and May 2010 Motörhead entered the studio again to rehearse, write and record their 20th studio album. Produced by Cameron Webb again and Welsh producer Romesh Dodangoda in Longwave Studio, Cardiff as this time around Phil Campbell’s father died. The Wörld Is Yours has been released in December 2010.
As the band was celebrating their 35th Anniversary on the road the adventure was captured in audio and visually. The Wörld Is Ours Vol 1 – Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else was their brand new live DVD / CD and was shot by Banger Films and Sam Dunn (Iron Maiden Flight 666, Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage). The Wörld Is Ours Vol 1 gave every click from every pick and kick from the band's supreme performance in Chile, plus some tasty morsels from New York’s Best Buy Theater and the Manchester Apollo. Released in November 2011, it was followed in September 2012 The Wörld Is Ours Vol 2.
Meanwhile Motörhead and Lemmy were showered with more awards. Lemmy received the Mojo Icon Award in May 2013 in LA for best player and the band was handed another prestigious Metal Hammer Award in June 2013. First time ever they played at an Award Show – a small but raucous set. Ever busy Motörhead finished their studio work for the Aftershock album, which was released in October 2013. Produced by Cameron Webb, it
featured 14 new gun-slingers such as “Heartbreak”, the bombastic “Queen Of The Damned” and the smokey, bourbon-drenched lament of “Lost Woman Blues”. Touring activities saw the band roll across the world in their usual ‘move-aside-bastards’ fashion, but in late ’13/early ’14, Lemmy found his own frame catching up to him, and a combination of fatigue and some heart issues rendered the invincible as proving himself to be mortal. This basically means that Lemmy took a long rest, changed his lifestyle and slowly built up his strength again. With a steady diet of support from friends and the fans, plus some cracking gigs as 2014 drew to a close, Motörhead geared up to hit the studio hard in early 2015.
Drawing on their own vast catalogue of road-warrior freewheeling rock’n’roll spirit, Bad Magic (released on August 28th 2015) strides confidently into some of the earlier attitudes of Motörmusic. Produced at NRG Studios with long-time producer Cameron Webb, the album was written and recorded in the studio together for the first time in the Kilmister/Campbell/Dee era. This more ‘live’ approach to writing and recording has obviously paid
dividends, and that live-in-the-studio equation producing some explosive, dynamic results. There is the driving malevolence of “Choking On Your Screams”, with Lemmy in magnificently omnipotent vocal mood, “Electricity” carries a hefty chunk of punk attitude married with some of Phil Campbell’s best lead work in years, while “Shoot Out All of Your Lights” is all devilish, greasy biker-borne-screw-you-and yours, Mikkey Dee’s tribal drums pounding out a great path for more Kilmister proclamations. The boys even enjoyed a guest appearance from Queen’s Brian May on “The Devil”, adding a scintillating solo on this thunderous Motörstomper.
Lemmy’s personal performances on Bad Magic rank as some of the most wide-ranging and unique he has delivered in years, and on the ballad “Until The End”, Lemmy opens up with equal levels explanation and intent on the simple but important matters which life conjures for us all. Add to all of this a wonderfully executed, gritty delivery of The Rolling Stones classic “Sympathy For The Devil”, and it will be clear to anyone with a pair of ears that Bad Magic is Motörhead’s finest work in over two decades. This year also signals the 40th year of Motörhead’s triumphant existence, sadly we mourn the death of Lemme Lead singer of the band but will live on through his fans and great merchandise.