Selected by Dan Grunebaum


Photo by Creativeman

With Iron Maiden, Mötley CrE and Motorhead lumbering through town this fall, it' somehow comforting that heavy metal bands are still living out the Spinal Tap fantasy in Japan. Unlike their celluloid brethren, however, Motorhead rather than squeezing the last drops out of a career gone dry seem to have been elevated to heavy metal sainthood in recent years.

Motorhead formed in 1975 after vocalist/bassist Lemmy (b. Ian Kilmister) was fired from Hawkwind after being arrested at Canadian customs on possession charges. The last song he penned for them was entitled "Motorhead," and this became the name of the group he created with Larry Wallis of the Pink Fairies on guitar and Lucas Fox on drums. Wallis was soon replaced by "Fast" Eddie Clark and Fox by "Philthy" Phil Taylor, creating the Lemmy/Clarke/Taylor combination that lasted until 1982.

The band - whose initial following was made up of Hell's Angels - debuted with Motorhead/City Kids, establishing their trademark style of a fierce heavy metal artillery of sound with Lemmy's hoarse growl above the din. They followed with Overkill and Bomber, enjoying a hit in 1980 with "Ace of Spades" from the album of the same name. Motorhead at this time also established itself as a band with a fierce live reputation, and took the lead of a movement that became known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

A series of member changes followed in the mid '80s but through it all Lemmy remained the inspiration, providing unique lyrics in songs such as "Orgasmatron" off the similarly titled album. Lemmy also branched off to make his acting debut in the film Eat The Rich, while still releasing albums.

In 1992 Motorhead released March Or Die, featuring guest appearances by Ozzy Osbourne and Slash of Guns N' Roses. Their latest albums are We Are Motorhead and Live At Brixton, both released in 2000.

Meanwhile, singer Lemmy is reportedly putting the finishing touches on an autobiography, "White Line Highway," to be released next year. The book will follow his life from his birth through to his Motorhead days, and, as the title indicates, will contain plenty of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll tales.

Lemmy recounted once such tale in a recent interview with British rock rag NME: "I stayed up for two weeks once. I had taken a lot of illegal substances... I actually felt all right so I went down to this club and ran into a friend of mine and said hello. She screamed at the garbled mess that came out of my mouth as my nerves had completely gone between my brain and my mouth. The lines had gone down, so I decided to go home and get some sleep."

Motorhead play the Liquid Room on October 10, 11.  See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana