Today on Blogcritics
Home » Motormania-30 years of malevolent chaos starring Lemmy

Motormania-30 years of malevolent chaos starring Lemmy

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

When I read that Motorhead won a Grammy for best Metal performance with a cover of Metallica’s “Whiplash”, the irony seemed thicker than the head on Lemmy’s pint of Carlsberg Special Brew.

After guiding Motorhead for 30 years through its 10 lineup changes and amassing a vast catalogue of over 40 releases, including live and compilations, Lemmy and company were finally getting some much overdue recognition covering a song by a band they influenced 25 years prior. And while Lemmy bristles at the term Heavy Metal, always referring to Motorhead as a Rock and Roll band, there’s no doubt that taken in a historical context the music he’s created has been similarly influential as the best from the punk and new wave eras of the 70’s and 80’s. Motorhead’s brand of over the top amphetamine laced rock and roll boogie was the seed that led to Speed Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Punk Metal and anything else that followed.
So while the Grammy was nice, hopefully it will open Motorhead to a wider audience. In case you missed them the first time, here are some good places to start:

1. “Ace of Spades”-The 1980 classic from the Lemmy, Phil Taylor and Fast Eddie Clark era is one of the most gloriously grimy rock records ever. Imagine ZZ Top going through a steroid rage. Heck, this was grunge before the term was ever invented! The title cut “Ace of Spades” beats punk at its own game with its rampaging fury and Lemmy’s fatalistic approach to life when he shouts, “I don’t wanna live forever!” The relentless pace set forth on this release no doubt caught the attention of the hardcore punk fans as well with Motorhead being one of the few bands to make that crossover appeal. Other favorites include “Love me Like a Reptile”, “The Chase is Better than the Catch” and “JailBait”.

2. “Another Perfect Day” -This lost classic from 1983 is one of my favorite releases of all time. It’s also the only Motorhead lineup to feature former Thin Lizzy whiz kid guitarist Brian Robertson who was originally hired to assist in the fall 1982 tour after Fast Eddie abruptly quit. It may have seemed a strange meeting of minds at the time, but the more melodic Robertson quickly added his magic touch and texture to these 10 scintillating cuts. Not content to let Lemmy’s trebley Rickenbacker bass overpower him, Robertson proved he could battle toe to toe as his multi-tracked wah-wah’d solos claw and fight their way out the speaker. After the carnage was over and the smoke had cleared it was deemed a draw. Unfortunately Robertson was gone by the end of the year.

3. The mid to late 80s were filled with litigation for the band but of their two Bill Laswell produced efforts, “Orgasmatron” from 1986 has a sharper, crisper overall sound while 1987’s “Rock and Roll” is raunchier relying on those high speed blues influenced riffs. Flip a coin.

4. “No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith” – One of the most violently aggressive and painfully loud releases ever, “No Sleep” simply obliterated the competition and whatever biases one had against live recordings as the terrible trio hammers the audience into submission with a selection of classics from the Fast Eddie era. When “No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith” was released in England in 1981, it went straight to number 1. Here in America they were developing a small cult following, but fans weren’t sure what to make of the feisty trio. Not pretty enough for the girls and too much to handle for the average Journey/Styx fan, Motorhead’s reputation continued to grow as the meanest nastiest band to grace a stage. After hearing “No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith” you’d be hard pressed not to agree.

5. Since 1993 Motorhead has remained a three-piece and of the seven releases during that time, all are worth hearing with “Overnight Sensation” from 1996 and 1995’s “Sacrifice” being top of the list. The latest CD “Inferno” finds Lemmy, Mikkey and Phil with their fullest and fattest sound yet along with some added surprises such as the acoustic “Whorehouse Blues” and a guest appearance by Steve Vai on 2 cuts wailing away in pure Motorhead style glory. They’ve broken no new ground again but what they do they do incredibly well, and man it still sounds good.

Powered by

About Mario Becerra

  • Vern Halen

    Very cool review – you hit all my fave Motorhead vinyl slabs – Ace of Spades, Hammersmith & Perfect Day. For me, they always were the bridge between the gap that separated metal form punk – I never knew just where to put them in my collection.

    I;d also like to thank them for putting the lyrics to Louie Louie on their inner sleeve. I had to rely on the Iggy & The Stooges version from Metallic KO for years before I found out Iggy had been improvising. He got them all wrong – imagine that!

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Nice. Any mention of Lemmy improves this site.

    In my interview with Lemmy I didn’t think it was politic to mention that I was disappointed when I went to see Metallica / GnR and Motorhead had replaced Faith No More. I was a young pup then.

  • http://trinimansblog.blogspot.com/ Triniman

    One of my all-time favorite Motorhead songs is “I’ve Got Mine” from Another Perfect Day.

    I’m going to see Motorhead for the second time in five years and at the same venue, but this time, I have much better seats!

  • Nice review!

    I’d agree on all those albums *except* for Another Perfect Day. It was different, for sure, thanks to Robbo but for my money the classic Bomber (esp. Stone Dead Forever, Sharpshooter, Sweet Revenge and the title track) would take that spot.

    Bastards isn’t bad either.

    Ah, hell, it’s Motorhead… it’s ALL GOOD! and they’re playing my town April 22 again! Woo Hoo! Deaf until the 25th!

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Ah, reliivng all these in my head. Thanks.

    Mario,

    Launched this on the world – or at least the part of the world that scours Advance.net for the (family-friendly) cream of the BC Web log. That’s hundreds of thousands of people a week.

    Here’s the link. Sorry here.

    – Thanks. Temple

  • Reisa L. Gerber

    “Motorhead, motorhead,motorhead!
    But you’re motoring, you’re motoring…
    Sister C…And all I can see is a cutish, tired, and sad bigmouth who knows…
    the time has come…
    but…you’re motoring
    mi-mi-mi-mi-re-do-is @special for how I phrase
    my favorites!
    “Sol-mi! mi sol la re———-”
    I can take the old rejection right in the face
    and “Come from where it comes”!
    Thanks-
    Reisa L. Gerber
    November 30, 2005

  • Reisa L. Gerber

    “But you’re motoring…you’re motoring!”
    Yes, I am tonight. When I found out that
    Sister Christian was this doctor’s secret song
    for me…that he meant to make real…I almost
    fainted. He was sooooo cute and so caring.
    And all I knew, was, after his motorcycle
    disappeared from the parkin’ lot, and our
    counsellor at the day program said “he’s out on
    leave”-and “would you like to talk to him about
    causing trouble as a client who merely,
    “had a crush”, with a positively answer that you
    were never the cause of anything bad just
    because you liked him, you know?” I said “yes”-
    by the next week, the poor guy split…I’m
    sure I drove him out of there. Noone needs that
    kind of publicity…you know,” a member of the
    crew had a go with one of the guests”-
    I think Lynnard Skinnard…whatever…You know,
    it hurts…okay? okay. If he ever has this
    article drawn to his attention, he should say,
    “Mama, I’m a psychiatrist…but that’s not it.”
    And since that’s not it…the only reason I have
    for droppin’ him a line is because I felt like
    talkin’ about it…And if anyone out there
    recognizes the pain…which actually seems to be
    “psychotic incest”…(In my head, the shrink
    loves my baby sister)….it’s so painful I just
    have to write it out here.
    I gave him Tom Petty’s “Break Down”, song, you
    “give it to me”….

  • Reisa L. Gerber

    “M-m-motorhead, what’s your price tonight
    At finding Mr. Right….
    You’ll be alright tonight…But you’re
    motoring, you’re motoring, you’re motoring!
    Sister Christian now the time has come
    I don’t have to tell you “you’re the only one-“……la la la…alright Happy Holidays.. la////um…lots.SINCERELY,