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.