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Ruling with an Iron Fist – The Legacy of Motörhead

 
By on Thursday, 28th June 2012 at 11:00 am
 

They’re a band that have stood the test of time and brought their balls-out, not-a-single-fuck-given attitude to the mainstream music scene at a time that needed it most. They are Motörhead. And they have been levelling venues across the world for almost 40 years with front man Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister steering the band toward global domination since the band’s inception.

The purveyors of the heavy metal umlaut formed after Lemmy was booted out of the infamous space-rockers Hawkwind for cocaine possession at the Canadian border whilst on tour – or as he put it in the book ‘White Line Fever’, for “doing the wrong drugs”. Lemmy has been no stranger to controversy over the years, having been accused of Nazism due to his extensive collection of paraphernalia and his often vocal positive stance on drink and drugs. But Motörhead’s fans (or Motörheadbangers, if you will) take it in their stride, as Lemmy is nothing short of a metal legend – warts and all.

Motörhead are a juxtaposition to the music Lemmy made with Hawkwind, in fact the band name comes from the last track he recorded with the psychedelic five-piece. But that was in the past, and Motörhead became a force to be reckoned with in a relatively short period of time. Enlisting what would be dubbed the ‘classic’ line-up, it was Lemmy, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke and ‘Philthy’ Phil Taylor that made up the band who would spearhead both speed metal but also be a forerunner for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the late ’70s/early ’80s.

After being named the ‘Best Worst Band in the World’ by the NME in the early days, Motörhead went on to defy all naysayers with a string of seminal albums and singles that are still pumped out at rock clubs today. Their breakthrough album ‘Overkill’ in 1979 reached number 24 in the UK albums charts and features the thrash fests of ‘No Class’ and ‘Metropolis’ that still work their way into the trio’s set lists today.

It’s often the case for a band to have a hit album early in their career, but to release two big-hitters in the same year is now almost unheard of. But ‘Bomber’ came crashing into stereos in autumn 1979, reaching number 12 in the charts. The title track has become synonymous with the band worldwide and has featured on no less than four live albums.

One year later (after countless shows across the world) the band released what would be their most famous record: ‘Ace of Spades’. It’s an all-out brawl of noise and snarling from the terrible trio who crammed 12 tracks into 37 minutes of snaggletooth snarls and brash, visceral sound clashes. As well as ‘Love Me Like a Reptile’ and ‘Fast and Loose’, it’s the title track that everyone still knows and adores to this day. A song that is ramped up at every sweatbox dive, every karaoke bar, every music festival and every house party across the world for over 30 years. That is metal. That is Motörhead.

Although ‘Ace of Spades’ reached number four in the charts and achieved gold status, it’s 1981’s ‘No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith’ that gained them a number one spot and firmly established themselves as one of Britain’s best heavy metal acts, although metal isn’t a scene that Motörhead find themselves fully connected to. Lemmy has often stated he feels most at home with punks rather than metalheads, and you can hear that influence in the music. If it wasn’t for the brief solos and chuggier riffs, Motörhead could have become synonymous with the rise of British punk rather than metal. But they’re a band who bridged the gap, which was no easy task.

In 1982 the band released their last album as the ‘classic’ line-up. That record was ‘Iron Fist’ and as well as the pit-starting title track, ‘Speedfreak’ and ‘(Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind You Down’ became fan favourites and have remained a part of the Motörhead show. Following the release of the record, though, Eddie Clarke left the band due to an argument about the band’s principles. A few years later Phil Taylor left the band shortly after recording ‘Ace Of Spades’ for ‘The Young Ones’. In between these two unfortunate occurrences, though, the band enlisted Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson to record ‘Another Perfect Day’ that reached number 20 in the album charts and it was the last time Motörhead reached the top 20 in the UK.

Down but not out, Motörhead underwent numerous line-up changes over the next ten years including a brief reunion with Phil Taylor, before settling on the eleventh incarnation that is touring today of Lemmy, Phil Campbell and former King Diamond sticksman Mikkey Dee.

Despite all the member changes, though, the band are still metal as fuck. They have been credited with being the loudest band on Earth for a gig in the ’80s that reached an ear-popping 130dB (this has since been beaten by KISS), and they closed their 1986 Monsters of Rock performance with a flyover from World War II fighter planes – that sentence alone can’t get much more metal. Lemmy himself is one of the meanest but coolest guys alive, with hundreds of rumours and stories making him a piece of music folklore. One of the best has to be: because of his constant smoking and Jack Daniel’s drinking, Lemmy cannot give blood as his own blood will kill a regular human being – and vice versa. Whether this is true or not, we don’t want to know, but it’s one of the most badass qualities a man can possess.

The band might not be topping the album chart any more, but they’re still bashing out an LP every 2 years (the most recent being 2010’s ‘The Wörld is Yours’) and playing some of the biggest stages in the world. Last year they laid waste to the main stage at Sonisphere festival to tens of thousands of Motörheadbangers who still admire the band for both not giving up but for continuing to kick major arse. And for dedicated metalheads to embrace their love for Lemmy and the gang, a new box set has been released containing the six most iconic Motörhead albums – ‘Overkill’, ‘Bomber’, ‘Ace of Spades’, ‘No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith’, ‘Iron Fist’ and ‘Another Perfect Day’. Not only that, but the speed freaks are on tour with thrash legends Anthrax in November across the UK. If you love it loud, live and lary, then this album collection and a gig ticket may be in order, so you can pay tribute to the band that have been dedicated to the cause since 1975.

‘Motörhead: the Classic Album Selection’ is available now from Universal.

 

“You bought what?!” – Weird Band Merchandise for Sale

 
By on Friday, 20th April 2012 at 11:00 am
 

Last week the titans of thrash, Slayer, announced they are going to release a deathly delight for their legions of fans – wine. Dubbed ‘Reign in Blood’ after their brutalising 1986 album, the Cabernet Sauvignon is the ideal accompaniment for any true metaller’s raw steak with extra blood. And what is more metal than blood-coloured alcohol? Maybe Lemmy‘s whiskey collection, but that’s about it.

Some bands, though, appear to just love putting their name to anything. Instead of forcing fans to take out a mortgage for the chance to see their favourite band at a soulless enormodome, there’s a wealth of branded toys, trinkets and treats for fans everywhere with too much money.

To tie-in with their ‘build a rocket boys!’ album, Elbow teamed up with local Stockport Robinsons Brewery to create their very own beer. Described as a “golden ale with a rich balanced body, smooth bitterness, subtle tang of malt and fruity aroma”, this premium nectar sounds like a delicious addition to any beer aficionado’s collection but don’t listen to Elbow whilst drinking or you might never stop. They’re that bland.

Speaking of bland, one of the most shameful pieces of merch comes from one of the worst bands of all time (personal opinion). Not only do the Killers contribute nothing to modern music at all – other than a rotating festival headliner – they cash in on the gullibility of idiots by selling ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ toothbrushes. Yes, you read that correctly. You can now be reminded of that god-awful song whilst you partake in oral hygiene. Rock on, guys.

But what about when you can’t rock any more? Don’t worry there’s something for you too, it’s a coffin! Actually named the Kiss Kasket, Gene Simmons and co. licensed the sale of a final resting place covered in Kiss logos and pictures of the face-painted funsters. Pantera‘s Dimebag Darrell was actually buried in a Kiss Kasket at his own request. It’s also said to double up as a giant beer cooler for parties: just make sure you know which event you’re attending.

Before death, though, comes life! And we all know how we get life, right kids? But if you plan to practice making babies first, don’t forget to rubber up with your favourite band’s own brand of condom. What could make that moment between you and a loved one more special than by donning Manowar‘s Warrior’s Shield sheath to your, ahem, warrior. [Thanks to Graham Norton, my eyes have been offended by the JLS line of condoms as well. Norton confirms the Aston Merrygold line sells best. – Ed.] But if you’re not into the fantasy power metallers in the bedroom, how about Enter Shikari‘s No Sleep Tonight member jackets? Named after a song that also features the lyric “we can’t quite stomach this”, make of that what you will.

No-one does dirty sexy like the Germans, though. So leave it to industrial enthusiasts Rammstein to create their very own sex toy set. To celebrate the release of their 2009 album ‘Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da’, the Berlin bruisers released a special edition box set that included six dildos, a pair of handcuffs and some lube. Not amusing little dildos you can use as a key ring, we’re talking the real deal. If one of your family members is a Rammstein fan and you think you’ve found the perfect gift for them on eBay, give the description a thorough read before bidding.

 

In the Post #68: Foo Fighters – Rope and White Limo (Wasting Light preview)

 
By on Thursday, 24th February 2011 at 3:00 pm
 

Fresh from winning the Godlike Genius Award at the NME Awards last night, the Foo Fighters are gearing up for the release of their seventh studio album, ‘Wasting Light’. Scheduled for release on 12 April, this LP is looking to establish its rightful place in one of the world’s biggest rock band’s back catalogue. Recorded entirely in Dave Grohl’s garage on analogue equipment, this 11-track album goes back to the roots of the Foo Fighters.

‘Rope’ will be the LP’s first single, slated for release on the 1st of March. It starts off as an almost indie band affair and less hard rock than previously released by the band. Despite the slow build-up, the chorus is exactly what you expect from Grohl and co. It’s fast, it’s catchy and it sounds like the Foos used to. At times it delves into the grunge, but comes back strong with their signature American hard rock ethos.

Foo Fighters have also recently released a music video for ‘White Limo’ (watch it on TGTF here). The video, featuring Lemmy as a crazed chauffeur, shows the band basically having fun and partying in a limo whilst one of the godfathers of heavy metal drives them round maniacally. The song is very much an opposite to ‘Rope’ as it is harder, heavier and ultimately more crazed. Grohl’s distorted screaming vocals prove the Foos’ range of talent, which is evident throughout their whole discography.

8/10

 
 
 

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