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CONCERT PREVIEW
Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Motorhead


Motorhead
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.

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344: Bad Religion
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340: Motorhead
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