Motörhead was an English metal band formed in June 1975 by the late bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, who was the sole constant member, guitarist Larry Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox. Motorhead was often considered a precursor to the new wave of British heavy metal, that regenerated heavy metal music in the late 70's and early 1980's. Motörhead has seen several drummers and guitarist through the years, but most of their best-selling albums and singles feature the work of the late Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor on drums and the late "Fast" Eddie Clarke on guitars.
Motörhead has released 22 studio albums, 10 live recordings, 12 compilation albums, and five EPs over a career spanning 40 years. The band usually played as a power trio, often bringing in special guest artist on many albums to sweeten' the lineup. Motorhead had great success in the early 1980s with several successful singles, many of these topping the UK Top 40 chart.
The albums "Overkill", "Bomber", "Ace of Spades", and more than any the live album "No Sleep 'til Hammersmith" cemented Motörhead's reputation as a top-tier rock band.
The band is ranked number 26 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, and as of 2016, they have sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.
Motörhead's unique style of metal gained fans worldwide alike, their heavy metal was a fusion of punk rock, speed metal and thrash metal. The bands lyrics typically covered such topics as war, good versus evil, abuse of power, promiscuous sex, substance abuse, and, most famously gambling, the latter theme being the focus of their hit song "Ace of Spades".
Motörhead credited with being part of and influencing numerous musical scenes, thrash metal and speed metal especially. From the mid-1970s onward, however, Lemmy
insisted that they were a rock and roll band. He has said that they had more in common with punk bands, but with their own unique sound,
Motörhead is embraced in both punk and metal scenes.
On 28 December 28TH 2015 The fist of Motorhead, Lemmy passed on from cardiac arrhythmia and congestive heart failure. Lemmy was diagnosed with prostate cancer before his death. Drummer Mikkey Dee and guitarist Phil Campbell both confirmed that Motörhead would not continue as a band after Lemmy's death in 2015.
By 2018, all three members of Motörhead's classic line-up had died.
Lemmy | Motorhead Discography
The Making Of Motorhead (Lemmy Kilmister)
Lemmy's First notable gig on the metal scene was with the vintage rockers Hawkwind. Lemmy was dismissed from the band in May of 1975 after being arrested in Canada for drug possession; Lemmy said the band dismissed him for "doing the wrong drugs". Now on his own, Lemmy decided to form a new band called Motörhead. The band name was inspired by the final song he had written for Hawkwind before being let go.
Lemmy wanted his music to be fast and vicious, just like the MC5 jams he himself grew up jamming on. MC5 was an American rock and metal band from Lincoln Park, Michigan, formed in 1964. The original band line-up consisted of vocalist Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson. MC5's leftist political ties, anti-establishment lyrics and music positioned them as emerging innovators of the punk movement in the United States. Their loud, energetic style of back-to-basics rock and roll included elements of garage rock, hard rock, blues rock, and psychedelic rock.
His stated aim was to "concentrate on very basic music: loud, fast, city, raucous, arrogant, paranoid, speedfreak rock n roll ... it will be so loud that if we move in next door to you, your lawn will die". He recruited Larry Wallis (Pink Fairies) on electric guitar on the recommendation of Mick Farren, based on Wallis' work with Steve Peregrin Took's band Shagrat. Lemmy then recruited Lucas Fox on drums. According to Lemmy, the band's first practice was at the now defunct Sound Management rehearsal studios, located on Kings Road, Chelsea in 1975 (Sound Management leased the basement area of furniture store "The Furniture Cave", located in adjacent Lots Road). Kilmister has said they used to steal equipment, as the band was short on gear required to perform gigs in the early years of the band.Their first engagement was supporting Greenslade at The Roundhouse, London on 20 July 1975. On 19 October, having played 10 gigs, they became the supporting act to Blue Öyster Cult at the Hammersmith Odeon.
Motorhead was contracted to United Artists by Andrew Lauder, the A&R man for the band Lemmy was previously in, Hawkwind. They recorded sessions at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth with producer Dave Edmunds, during which Fox proved to be unreliable and was replaced by drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, a casual acquaintance of Lemmy's. Their record label was dissatisfied with the material and refused to release it, although it was subsequently issued as "On Parole" in 1979 after the band had established some success.
In March 1976, deciding that two guitarists were required, the band auditioned a friend of drummer Taylor named "Fast" Eddie Clarke. Wallis, who was continuing to tour with a
reformed version of the band Pink Fairies, quit immediately after the auditions and Clarke remained as the sole guitarist. This trio of Lemmy/Clarke/Taylor is today regarded as the "classic" Motörhead line-up. In December, the band recorded the "Leaving Here" single for Stiff Records, but United Artists intervened to prevent its general release as the band were still under contract to them despite their refusal to issue their debut album. Initial reactions to the band had been unfavorable; they won a poll for "the best worst band in the world" in the music magazine NME.
By April 1977, Taylor and Clarke were living in squats with little recognition, they decided to quit the band. After some debate, they 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 engagement and offered them 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 "Motorhead" in June, followed by the album "Motörhead" in August. The newly recorded album spent one week in the UK Albums Chart at number 43. The band toured the UK supporting Lemmy's former band Hawkwind in June, then from late July they commenced the "Beyond the Threshold of Pain" tour with The Count Bishops. Despite some possible success in August, Tony Secunda took over the management of the band which soon became so unstable that by March 1978, Clarke and Taylor had formed and were performing as The Muggers with Speedy Keen and Billy Rath.
Next will look at Motorheads Rise To Success 1979 thru the 1980's - PART II
Motorheads Rise To Success: "Overkill" and "Bomber", 1978–1979
The 1976–1982 Motörhead line-up:
Lemmy Kilmister, Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor and "Fast" Eddie Clarke
In July 1978, the band returned to the management of Douglas Smith, who secured a one-off singles deal with Bronze Records. The resulting "Louie Louie" single was issued in September peaking at number 68 on the UK Singles Chart, and the band toured the UK to promote it, recorded a BBC Radio 1 John Peel in session on 18 September (these tracks were later issued on the 2005 "BBC Live & In-Session album"), 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.
The single's success led to Bronze Records extending their contract, and put the band back into the studio to record an album early in 1979, this time with producer Jimmy Miller at Roundhouse Studios. A hint of what the band had recorded for the album came on March 9TH 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 later released on March 24TH 1979. 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 Chart. These releases were followed by the "Overkill" UK tour which began on 23 March 23RD, followed up with the"Overkill" single release in June, coupling the album track "No Class" as the A-side with the previously unreleased song "Like a Nightmare" on the B-side. Unfortunately the release performed worse than both the album and previous single but reached number 61 on the UK singles chart. Motorhead driven to produce a successful album, during July and August the band continued working on the next album "Bomber" except for a break to appear at the Reading Festival.
Finally "bomber" was released on 27 October 27TH and reached number 12 on the UK Albums Chart signifying a rise in the bands following. On 1 December, it was followed by the "Bomber" single, which reached number 34 on the UK Singles Chart on December 1ST. The "Bomber" Europe and UK tour followed, with support from Saxon. Saxon an English heavy metal band formed in 1977, in Barnsley. Saxon was also considered one of the leaders of the new wave of British heavy metal, they had eight UK Top 40 albums in the 1980s including four UK Top 10 albums and two Top 5 albums. The band also had numerous singles in the UK Singles Chart and chart success all over Europe and Japan, as well as success in the United States. During the 1980s, Saxon established themselves as one of Europe's greatest metal acts, touring regularly and sold more than 23 million albums worldwide. They are considered one of the top classic metal acts of the 80's. This was a big break for Motorhead who went all out on the tour. The stage show of Motorheads | Saxon tour featured a spectacular aircraft bomber-shaped lighting rig. During the "Bomber" tour, United Artists put together tapes recorded during the Rockfield Studios sessions in 1975–1976 and released them as the album "On Parole", which peaked at number 65 on the UK Albums Chart in December. It was during these years that Motorhead begin making the forward advance to becoming one of today's popular metal acts of all time.
"Ace of Spades" and the "Iron Fist", 1980–1982
On May 8TH 1980, while the band toured Europe, Bronze released "The Golden Years", which sold better than any of their previous releases, reaching number eight on the UK Singles Chart. The band had, however, preferred the title "Flying Tonight", in reference to the "Bomber" lighting rig used on the Motorhead | Saxon tour. On August 20TH, the band performed with Girlschool and were filmed live at the Nottingham Theater Royal for the Rockstage program, later broadcast on UK television by the ATV station on 4 April 4TH 1981. The cover of the "Ace Up Your Sleeve" tour booklet, was produced using one of the shots taken during the photography session in Barnet for the "Ace of Spades" album cover During August 1980. In September 1980, the band recording with producer Vic Maile at Jackson's Studios in Rickmansworth worked on finalizing the "Ace Of Spades" album. The "Ace of Spades" single was released October 27TH 1980 as a preview of the "Ace of Spades" album, which followed November 8TH 1980. The single reached No. 15 and the album reached No. 4 on the UK charts. record label Bronze celebrated its gold record status by pressing a limited edition of the album in gold vinyl. The album was a hit for Motorhead who worked endlessly at achieving the status for five years, before being recognized as a major player in the music industry. Motörhead made an appearance on Top of the Pops in November 1980 with "Ace of Spades", and began October 22ND thru November 29TH the "Ace Up Your Sleeve" UK tour with support from Girlschool and Vardis. The "Arizona desert-style" pictures used on the album sleeve and tour booklet cover were taken during a photo session at a sandpit in Barnet. "Ace of Spades", is considered to be the definitive Motörhead anthem to this day.
1981 saw more chart hits with the releases "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" EP, their collaboration with Girlschool, which reached No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart in February; the live version of "Motorhead", which reached No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart in July; and the album it was taken from, "No Sleep 'til Hammersmith", which reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart in June. During March 1981, the band had been touring Europe, and in the final week of the month they conducted the "Short Sharp, Pain in the Neck" UK tour from which the recordings for "No Sleep 'til Hammersmith" were made. From April through to July, Motorhead toured North America for the first time (Ace of Spades was their debut release in the region) as guests of Blizzard of Ozz, an early incarnation of Ozzy Osbourne's band, but were still able to make an appearance on Top of the Pops on July 9TH to promote the live "Motorhead" single. In October the band recorded tracks at BBC's Maida Vale 4 studio for the David Jensen show broadcast on October 6TH. The band commenced yet another European tour on November 20TH, with opening act by Tank, in support of Tank's debut album "Filth Hounds of Hades" at Ramport Studios produced by Clarke in December and January.
January 1982, Motorhead started recording their self-produced new album at Ramport Studios, before moving onto Morgan Studios to continue the sessions throughout February and on April 3RD the single "Iron Fist" was released, reaching No. 29 on the UK Singles Chart, followed by the album "Iron Fist", released on April 17TH peaking at No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart. These were the last releases to feature the Lemmy, Clarke, Taylor line-up, though the line-up continued to perform in the Iron Fist UK tour between March and April of 1982. This lineup was Motorhead's first headlining North America tour spanning from May 12TH until Clarke's last engagement at the New York Palladium on May 14TH 1982. Motorhead while playing at Port Talbot in 1982 in support of the "Ace of Spades" release, Big Beat, who had inherited the Chiswick catalogue, put together four unused tracks from
the Escape Studios sessions in 1977 and released them as "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers" and reached No. 43 on the UK Singles Chart in November.
Departures, "Another Perfect Day" and "No Remorse", 1982–1984
Motorhead played five dates in Japan in June into July, an American Tour ("Another Perfect Tour") in late July into August and they toured Europe in October and November.
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 the song compromised the band's principles, and 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 and Robertson signed a one-album deal resulting in 1983's "Another Perfect Day" and the two singles from it, "Shine" and "I Got Mine". Robertson began to cause friction in the band as a result of his on-stage attire, consisting of shorts and ballet shoes, and, furthermore, with his point blank refusal to play the old standards that every Motörhead audience expected to hear. This led to an amicable agreement that Robertson would leave, playing his last engagement with the band at the Berlin Metropol on 11 November. After Robertson's departure in 1983, the band were sent 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 (formerly of 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. Scenes of the band playing are interspersed with the characters' antics as they rush to the railway station, in a parody of The Beatles' comedy film A Hard Day's Night. 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 former 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 immediately hired.
Motorhead: The Tour 1984 to 1986
Bronze Records thought the new line-up would not make the grade and decided to "nail down the lid" on the group with a compilation album. When Lemmy found out, he took over the project, selecting tracks, providing sleeve notes and insisted that Motörhead record four brand new tracks to go at the end of each side of the album. During the sessions between May 19TH and the 25TH 1984 at Britannia Row Studios, London, the band recorded six tracks for the single's B-side and the album. The single "Killed by Death" was released on September 1ST and reached No. 51 in the UK Singles Chart, the double album "No Remorse" was released on September 15TH and reached silver disc status, attaining the position of No. 14 in the UK Album charts. The band soon after were involved in a court case with Bronze over the next two years, believing that their releases were not being promoted properly, and the record company banned them from the recording studio. Motorhead looked to more touring for income; and launched several venues in Australia and New Zealand in late July to late August, a brief tour of Hungary in September, and the No Remorse "Death on the Road" tour between October 24TH and November 7TH. On October 26TH the band made a live appearance on the British Channel 4 music program The Tube, performing "Killed By Death", "Steal Your Face" (over which the program's end-credits were played) and the unbroadcast "Overkill", before going on to their next engagement that evening. From November 19TH to December 15TH the band toured America with Canadian speed metal band Exciter and Danish heavy metal band Mercyful Fate and from December 26TH to 30TH performed five shows in Germany. On April 5TH 1985, ITV broadcast four songs that were recorded after the band went off air on their earlier appearance on The Tube program. A week later the band, dressed in tuxedos, played four songs on the live Channel 4 music show ECT (Extra-Celestial Transmission). To celebrate the band's tenth anniversary, two shows were arranged at Hammersmith Odeon on June 28TH and 29TH, a video of the second show was taken and later released as The Birthday Party. From early June until early August the band were on their 'It Never Gets Dark' tour of Sweden and Norway, an American tour followed in mid-November until late December.
"Orgasmatron" and "Rock 'n' Roll", 1986–1989
From March 26TH to 3 April 3RD 1986, the band toured Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark on their "Easter Metal Blast" and in June, played two dates in Bologna and Milan in Italy. The court case with Bronze was finally settled in the band's favor. Motorheads management instigated their own label, GWR where recording took place in Master Rock Studios, London for the single "Deaf Forever". The single was released on July 5TH as a taster for the "Orgasmatron" album, which was released on August 9TH. On the same day as the release of the album, Lemmy and Würzel were interviewed by Andy Kershaw on the BBC Radio 1 Saturday Live show and "Orgasmatron" and "Deaf Forever" were played. The single reached No. 67 and the album reached No. 21 in the UK charts. On August 16TH, the band played at the Monsters of Rock at Castle Donington and was recorded by BBC Radio 1 for a future Friday Rock Show broadcast. The performance closed with a flyover by a couple of Second World War German aircraft. Lemmy was filmed giving his views on spoof metal act "Bad News" for inclusion in a Peter Richardson Comic Strip film entitled "More Bad News" since the band featuring Rik Mayall, Peter Richardson, Nigel Planer and Adrian Edmondson were also performing at Donington. In September the band conducted their "Orgasmatron" tour in Great Britain, supported by fledgling act Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction. In October Motorhead toured America and in December were in Germany to close out the year.
In 1987, during the filming of "Eat the Rich" – in which Lemmy was taking a starring role alongside well-known comedy actors such as Robbie Coltrane, Kathy Burke, the regulars from The Comic Strip ensemble, and various other musician cameo appearances . Drummer Gill left the band and Taylor returned to appear in the band's cameo as "In House Club Band" alongside Würzel and Campbell. The band wrote "Eat the Rich" especially for the film, its soundtrack featured tracks from Orgasmatron and Würzel's solo single "Bess". The band's second album for GWR was "Rock 'n' Roll", released on 5 September 5TH, after a tight work schedule in the studio. While having some popular tracks and using "Eat the Rich" as its second track, the band commented that the album was virtually "nailed together".
On July 2ND 1988 Motörhead were one of the performers at the Giants of Rock Festival in Hämeenlinna, Finland. The performing tracks were released as "No Sleep at All" on October 15TH. A single from the album was planned with the band wanting "Traitor" as the A-side, but "Ace of Spades" was chosen instead. When the band noticed the change, they refused to allow the single to be distributed to the shops, and it was withdrawn and became available only on the "No Sleep at All" tour and through the Motörheadbangers fan club. While they continued to play live shows during 1989 and 1990, Motörhead once again felt unhappy with their career, and a court case with GWR followed, which was not resolved until mid-1990.
Part III: The Epic Years
1916 and March ör Die, 1990–1992
Motorhead with the court case resolved, signed to Epic/WTG, and a firm standing in the worldwide metal scene the band had achieved the status of one of the fastest, hardest and loudest bands in the biz. All of Motorheads live performances and touring in the 80's had established a strong fan following second to none.
Motorhead spent the last half of 1990 recording a new album and single in Los Angeles, just prior to the album sessions the band's former manager, Doug Smith, released the recording of the band's tenth anniversary show. This being against the bands wishes, having previously told him that they did not want it released, in 1986 they recorded four songs with producer Ed Stasium, before deciding he had to go. When Lemmy listened to one of the mixes of "Going to Brazil", he asked for him to turn up four tracks, and on doing so heard claves and tambourines that Stasium had added without their knowledge. Stasium was fired and Peter Solley was hired as producer. The single "The One to Sing the Blues" issued on 24 December 24TH 1990 (7" and CD) and January 5TH 1991 (12"), followed by the album "1916" on 21 January 21ST.
The band conducted their "It Serves You Right" tour of Britain in February, the "Lights Out Over Europe" tour thru April, before returning to Britain to play another six venues. In June the band played five dates in Japan and five dates in Australia and New Zealand. July and August, Motorhead played across the United States with Judas Priest, Alice Cooper, Metal Church and opener Dangerous Toys on the "Operation Rock 'n' Roll" tour. The band finished the year with six dates in Germany during December.
On 28 March 1992, the band played what would turn out to be Taylor's last engagement at Irvine Meadows, Irvine, California. The band had been wanting 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 were recording an album at Music Grinder Studios, where three drummers participated in the making of the "March ör Die" album because Phil Taylor 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. "March ör Die" features guest appearances by Ozzy Osbourne and Slash.
"Bastards", "Sacrifice" and "Overnight Sensation", 1993–1997
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. Dee now available played on the recordings for the songs "Hellraiser" and "Hell on Earth", Dee's first Live engagement with Motörhead was August 30TH at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The new line-up then went on tour, playing dates with Ozzy Osbourne, Skew Siskin and Exodus. On September 27TH, Motorhead played at the Los Angeles Coliseum with Metallica and Guns N' Roses, then toured Argentina and Brazil in October and conducted the "Bombers and Eagles in '92" tour of Europe with Saxon throughout December. Motörhead played two dates at the Arena Obras Sanitarias in Buenos Aires in April 1993, toured Europe early June thru July, before returning to the United States to play one show at the New York Ritz on August 14TH. A new producer was sought for the band's next album and eventually Howard Benson, who was to produce the band's next four albums, was chosen. The band recorded at A&M Studios and Prime Time Studios in Hollywood on the album, titled "Bastards", which released on November 29TH 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 re-recorded with collaborative vocals from both Ice-T and Ugly Kid Joe frontman, Whitfield Crane for the soundtrack of the movie Airheads (in which Lemmy also made a cameo appearance) and released as a single in its own right.
Motorhead completed the year touring Europe throughout December that year.
In February and March 1994, Motörhead toured the United States with Black Sabbath and Morbid Angel, In early May Motorhead picked up playing an engagement with the Ramones at the Estadio Velez in Buenos Aires attracting a crowd of 50,000 people.The band toured Japan in late May and Europe in June, thru December.
1995 Motorhead's touring schedule began in Europe in late April, June, they went on a second tour with Black Sabbath, this time supported by Tiamat. Motorhead headed back to Los Angeles and Cherokee Studios in Hollywood where they were to record an album. This was Würzel's last recording with the band who decided to continue as a three-man line-up and a tour of Europe was performed throughout October into November. A three-day tour of South America followed the week after.
Lemmy celebrated his 50th Birthday later in 95' with the band at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles; Metallica played at the event under the name "The Lemmy's".
1996 the band touring the States in January, played thirty venues up to February 15TH; a seven-date tour of Europe in June, July followed by two engagements in South America during August, before ending the year touring the United States with Belladonna and Speedball. During this time the band had recorded "Overnight Sensation", at Ocean Studio and Track House Recording Studio and the album was released on October 15TH, This 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 Germany.
During 1997, the band toured extensively, beginning with the first leg of the "Overnight Sensation" tour in Europe on 12 January at the London Astoria, where the guest musicians were Todd Campbell, Phil Campbell's son, on "Ace of Spades" and "Fast" Eddie Clarke for "Overkill". March followed four dates in Japan thru June, and an American tour with W.A.S.P. throughout July. In August, three dates in Europe followed by seven dates in Britain, and four dates in October in Russia concluded the year 1997.
"Snake Bite Love", "We Are Motörhead" and "Hammered", 1998–2003
Touring was going particularly well, with some countries like Argentina and Japan putting the band in larger venues, and the English promoters discovered that "they could turn a nice profit with Motörhead shows", the three-piece line-up was 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 3 March 1998.
The band joined with Judas Priest at the Los Angeles Universal Amphitheater on 3 April, to begin their "Snake Bite Love" tour and on May 21ST, 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 and August and were in Europe from early October thru November. The British leg of the tour was dubbed the "No Speak With Forked Tongue" tour and included support bands Groop Dogdrill, Radiator and Psycho Squad, which was fronted by Phil Campbell's son Todd.
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. During the time the album sessions took place, the band played at venues around Europe at Fila Forum in Assago, and near Milan, where Metallica's James Hetfield joined the band on-stage to play "Overkill". In October into November, the band toured the states with Nashville Pussy. Throughout the rest of November, the band conducted their European "Monsters of the Millennium" tour with Manowar, Dio and Lion's Share, ending the Millennium with two shows at the London Astoria. The two shows were billed under the Kerrang! "X-Fest" banner and at the first show were supported by Backyard Babies and during the second show guest vocals were provided by Skin from Skunk Anansie and Nina C. Alice from Skew Siskin for "Born to Raise Hell", and Ace from Skunk Anansie played "Overkill" with the band.
Entrance ticket for the 25th anniversary concert at the Brixton Academy on 22 October 2000
In May 2000, the release of "We Are Motörhead" and the single from it, a cover of the Sex Pistol's "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 United States and France were followed by the release of a double-disc compilation album, "The Best Of", on August 26TH.
Four dates in Japan preceded the band's 25th anniversary concert on October 22ND 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 and 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. The album, "Hammered", was released 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. 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 4TH, where four songs were recorded for the "25 & Alive Boneshaker" DVD. A tour of West and East Europe followed the anniversary concert, through October, November and December. In April 2002, a DVD of some of Motörhead's performances from the 1970s and 1980s along with some stock footage of the band was released as "The Best of Motörhead".
In April and May 2003, the band continued to promote the "Hammered" album in the States, played seven dates at Summer Festivals in Europe and from late-July until the end of August, they were touring the United States with Iron Maiden and Dio. In October a comprehensive five-disc collection of the band's recordings covering 1975–2002 was released as "Stone Deaf Forever!" and on September 1ST 2003, Motorhead returned to Hollywood's Whisky A Go-Go club for the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame Induction. During October, the band performed a tour of Great Britain with The Wildhearts and Young Heart Attack, performed seven shows across Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain late October and Germany and Switzerland in November and December. On December 9TH the previously recorded "Live at Brixton Academy" album was released.
"Inferno", "Kiss of Death" and "Motörizer", 2004–2009
Motörhead performed an invitation-only concert at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London on February 22ND 2004; at Summer Festivals in South America during May; and in Europe during June, July and August. They had already spent time in the studio, working on "Inferno", which was released on 22 June 22ND and followed by the "Inferno" tour of Ireland with Class of Zero for three dates. Joined by Sepultura, the tour hit Great Britain and some of the London show at the Hammersmith Apollo was filmed for TV as Gene Simmons introduced the extra opening act The Class, made up of school children from his Channel 4 series Rock School. Würzel guested on "Overkill" and the band continued the tour with Sepultura across Europe through the rest of November and December. At the show in Magdeburg, Germany on 4 December Motörhead joined Sepultura on stage during their support slot playing the song "Orgasmatron", in celebration of Sepultura's 20th Anniversary. The show on December 7TH at the Philipshalle in Düsseldorf was recorded and later released as the "Stage Fright" DVD.
Motörhead on stage, 2005
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 2005, the band toured the United States, and in June into August were on the "30th Anniversary" tour in Europe. On August 22ND, they were the subject of an hour-long documentary, "Live Fast, Die Old", aired on Channel 4 as part of The Other Side series of documentaries, filmed by new and established directors.
September a compilation containing the band's appearances on BBC Radio 1 and a concert recording from Paris Theatre, London, was released as BBC Live & In-Session. In October, the band toured Europe with Mondo Generator before returning to Britain to tour with In Flames and Girlschool in October and November. Motörhead finished the year's tours in December, with two engagements in New Zealand and five in Australia with Mötley Crüe. 2006 Motorhead performed a four-date "House of Blues" tour in the States in March with Meldrum and from June until early August played at European open-air festivals with some indoor headlining shows. Motorhead performed at The Rock Freakers Ball in Kansas City during October before heading off to tour Great Britain with Clutch and Crucified Barbara.
Motörhead at the Masters of Rock tour in 2007
During the Monsters Of Rock tour, "Kiss of Death" was released on August 29TH 2006 via Sanctuary Records, with a video for "Be My Baby". The tour ended on November 25TH at the Brixton Academy, where Phil Campbell played on "Killed By Death" during Crucified Barbara's support set. Twelve shows in Europe with Meldrum took them through the end of November to early December, the first two shows also featuring Skew Siskin.
In November, the band agreed to a sponsorship deal with the Greenbank B under-10s football team from North Hykeham, Lincoln, putting the band's name as well as War-Pig on the team's shirts; the under-10s run out to "Ace of Spades". On 25 April 2007, the band played at the Poliedro de Caracas in Caracas, Venezuela, and on April 29TH at the Fundiçao Progresso, Rio de Janeiro. In June, Motörhead played an engagement at the Royal Festival Hall as part of Jarvis Cocker's "Meltdown". On February 26TH 2008, "No Sleep 'til Hammersmith" was reissued again as a two disc CD.
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 and "Motörizer" was released on August 26TH. In June 2008 the band performed on the main stage of the Download festival, August, Motörhead joined Judas Priest, Heaven & Hell and Testament on the Metal Masters Tour. August the band played at the Roseland Ballroom, New York, as part of "The Volcom" Tour 2008", which continued with The Misfits, Airbourne, Valient Thorr and Year Long Disaster at House of Blues. September Motorhead concluded the tour without the supporting bands, playing one more show at the Roseland Ballroom and the final engagement at The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, New Jersey late September. On September 30TH, Reuters reported that Neverdie Studios had signed a deal with Lemmy and Motörhead to develop and market Lemmy's Castle and Motorhead Stadium inside the virtual world of Entropia Universe, an online universe. The year's touring ended with a 34-date tour of Europe with a variety of support bands including Danko Jones, Saxon, Witchcraft, and Airbourne.
March 2009, the band played in the Middle East for the first time, at the annual Dubai Desert Rock Festival and on April 1ST Motörhead were reported to have entered into a two-year sponsorship deal with UK Roller Derby team the Lincolnshire Bombers Roller Girls. In November 2009, the band were supported by NWOBHM veterans Sweet Savage on the Irish leg of the tour (30 years after first sharing the stage together) and punk and goth rock legends The Damned on the UK leg of their world tour.
"The Wörld Is Yours", "Aftershock" and "Bad Magic", 2010–2015
Motörhead performing at the Norway Rock Festival 2010
Motorhead entered the studio in February 2010 to rehearse and record their 20th studio album "The Wörld is Yours" with Cameron Webb and Welsh producer Romesh Dodangoda in Longwave Studio, Cardiff. On November 3RD 2010, Future plc, a UK media company, announced that Motörhead were to release via an exclusive publishing deal with Classic Rock magazine on December 14TH 2010 the standard CD of "The Wörld is Yours" would going on sale on January 17TH 2011 through Motörhead's own label, Motörhead Music. To coincide with the release of their upcoming album, Motörhead embarked on a 35th Anniversary UK tour, from November 2010, and a European tour late November into December. In October, the band recorded a slow blues version of their longtime hit "Ace of Spades" for a TV spot for Kronenbourg beer. On December 5TH the single "Get Back in Line" was released, followed by the release of a video for the single in December.
On January 17TH 2011, it was announced that Motörhead would be part of the Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth and August 2011 they headlined the Brutal Assault open-air festival in the Czech Republic. On July 9TH 2011, former guitarist Würzel died of a heart attack. In celebration of 35 years' touring, in late 2011 the band released the live DVD "The Wörld Is Ours – Vol 1 – Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else", including performances at the O2' Apollo Manchester, Best Buy Theater, New York City and Teatro Caupolicán, Santiago de Chile. December 2011, it was announced that Motörhead would play at the German festivals Rock am Ring and Rock im Park in Nürburgring and Nuremberg respectively in June 2012.
January 2012, it was announced that Motörhead were touring the US and Canada in early 2012, along with three other metal bands Megadeth, Volbeat and Lacuna Coil. The huge tour took place from January 26TH to February 28TH 2012, but Motörhead missed the final four shows because Lemmy had a combination of an upper respiratory viral infection and voice strain, resulting in severe laryngitis. Lemmy wrote on Facebook, "I'm giving my voice a good rest", hoping he would recover soon to play at the Mayhem Festival, which was held from June 30TH to August 5TH 2012. Motörhead also took part on June 23RD in the Rock-A-Field Luxembourg Open Air Festival in Roeser. February 2013, it was announced that Motörhead had begun recording their new album and Motörhead released the live DVD "The Wörld Is Ours – Vol. 2 – Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else" in September 2012.
June 2013, the new album's title was revealed to be "Aftershock". In mid-November 2013, Motörhead were due to embark on a European tour alongside Saxon, followed by a tour in Germany and Scandinavia due to last until mid December 2013 but the dates were postponed and rescheduled for February and March 2014 due to Lemmy's health problems. January 2014, Motörhead announced the cancellation of the new February and March dates of their European tour as Lemmy was still unable to reach full recovery from diabetes related health problems. The same month Motorhead was confirmed for Coachella Festival, a Summer tour in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Russia and Ukraine. Still in March 2014, Motörhead announced that three heavy metal bands Megadeth, Anthrax and themselves would perform at the first annual Motörhead's Motörboat cruise on board the Carnival Ecstasy (self-proclaimed "The Loudest Boat in the World"), due to sail from Miami and visit the ports of Key West and the Cozumel island just off Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.
2015 Motorheads Last Ride
February 2015, Motörhead officially confirmed that they were in the studio recording their new album in Los Angeles with longtime producer Cameron Webb and on May 27TH 2015, the band released teasers on their Facebook page with the roman number "XXXX" on it. On June 4TH the new album (which would be their last) "Bad Magic" was launched for pre-order on Amazon, revealing its title and cover art which also shows the "XXXX", coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the band. The album was released on August 28TH 2015. Motorhead performed at the UK's Glastonbury Festival in June 2015 followed by their final UK gig at the Eden Project on June 27TH 2015.
While touring the album as the "40th anniversary Tour", Motörhead had to cut short their Salt Lake City show on August 27TH 2015 (in the Rocky Mountains) due to Lemmy's breathing problems (the result of an altitude sickness) and then they had to cancel completely off their Denver Riot Fest set on August 28TH 2015. Their tour picked up again on September 1ST 2015 at Emo's in Austin, Texas (moved from Cedar Park Center) but the group were again forced to abandon their set after three songs and cancel subsequent shows.
Despite his ongoing health issues forcing Motörhead to cut short or cancel several US shows, Lemmy Kilmister was able to bounce back in time for the trio's annual Motörboat heavy metal cruise from Miami to the Bahamas which ran from September 28TH through October 2ND 2015 including performances by bands such as Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, Suicidal Tendencies and Corrosion of Conformity. For this occasion, Motörhead performed live two entire (identical) sets on 30 September 30TH and 1 October 1ST 2015. Motörhead continued
the "40th Anniversary Tour" in Europe in November and December and played concerts in Germany, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Their final concert was in Berlin, Germany on December 11TH 2015.
December 28TH 2015 Lemmy (Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister) died
Initially planned on 27 May 27TH 2016, UDR Music released on June 10TH 2016 "Clean Your Clock", a Motörhead archive live album due to contain material recorded at the 20 & 21 November 2015 shows at the Zenith in Munich and on September 1ST 2017, Motörhead released "Under Cöver" via Silver Lining Music, a covers album featuring covers throughout Motörhead's history, along with covers only found on tribute albums, and new recordings.
Former Motörhead guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke died on January 10TH 2018 after a battle with pneumonia at the age of 67, making him the last member of the band's classic lineup (following Taylor and Lemmy) to die.
On 28 December 2015, Lemmy died, four days after celebrating his 70th birthday. He was the second Motörhead member to die in 2015, following Phil Taylor the previous month. The band posted the following message on Facebook:
There is no easy way to say this... our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer. He had learnt of the disease on December 26th, and was at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game from The Rainbow which had recently made its way down the street, with his family.
We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren't words.
We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please... play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy's music LOUD. Have a drink or few.
Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself.
HE WOULD WANT EXACTLY THAT.
Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister
In a biography of the band, senior editor for All Music, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, wrote: "Motörhead's overwhelmingly loud and fast style of heavy metal was one of the most groundbreaking styles the genre had to offer in the late '70s" and though "Motörhead wasn't punk rock ... they were the first metal band to harness that energy and, in the process, they created speed metal and thrash metal.
"Whether they created these genres might be subject to debate, but Motörhead were unquestionably influential."
Lemmy often played power chords in his basslines. When asked about whether he had begun as a rhythm guitarist, he stated:
"No, I play a lot of notes, but I also play a lot of chords. And I play a lot of open strings. I just don't play like a bass player. There are complaints about me from time to time. It's not like having a bass player; it's like having a deep guitarist."
The Motorhead Name and logo
The name "Motörhead" is a reference to users of the drug amphetamine. The band's distinctive fanged-face logo, with its oversized boar's tusks, chains, and spikes, was created by artist Joe Petagno in 1977 for the cover of the "Motörhead" album and has appeared in many variations on covers of ensuing albums. The fanged face has been referred to variously as "War-Pig"and "Snaggletooth".The band's name is usually printed in a lowercase form of blackletter. The umlaut character ö is possibly derived from the similar "heavy metal umlaut" in the name of their 1975 acquaintances Blue Öyster Cult. However, this umlaut does not alter the pronunciation of the band's name. When asked if Germans pronounced the band "Motuuuurhead", Lemmy answered "No, they don't. I only put it in there to look mean". The inspiration came from just being a naturally pissed-off bastard! And Lemmy's 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 a cross-breed gorilla-wolf-dog combination would work nicely with some oversized boars horns. Lemmy added Helmet, chains, spit, spikes and grit.
The Metal Legends Series - by The Manamal | January 31ST 2018
Paul "The Manamal" Mckoy
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