Although the three classic Motorhead members of Lemmy, Eddie and Philthy have all sadly now passed, they made enough of a revolutionary racket to ensure that it would take a lot more than death to silence the cosmic mayhem they began to create at the tail-end of the 1970s. It seems incredible that 2019 marks a full 40 years since the legendary trail blazers released their incendiary Overkill and Bomber albums: two full-length records that would change the shape of rock and metal music thereafter. And to think that Ace of Spades was still yet to be released.
So much has been said about Motorhead that it hardly seems necessary to go over too much old ground here. Their impact and influence are indisputable. Their uncompromising reputation infamous. They truly were the epitome of rock and roll rebellion. Lemmy once said that “[w]hen Motörhead leaves, there will be a hole there that just can’t be filled. That’s fine with me; it means I’ve achieved what I set out to do – which was to make an unforgettable rock ‘n ’roll band.”
Unforgettable they certainly are. And the passing of Lemmy has done little to halt not only the re-releases of records, but also all manner of junk products officially associated with the band. It’s hard to imagine a Motorhead lawnmower getting official approval if Lemmy was still here, but who knows. Amongst all the releases of dildos, alcohol and whatever else, we now have welcome re-issues of Overkill and Bomber all wrapped up in a deluxe boxset.
Aside from two classic albums, pressed here on 180g vinyl created from the original master tapes, the set also includes two double-live albums of previously unheard concert material from the 1979 tours. A 40-page period-accurate ‘music magazine’ featuring unseen photos and fresh interviews regarding the era. The Rest Of ‘79 vinyl, featuring B-sides, outtakes and rare tracks. No Class 7” single with gatefold art. The Bomber tour programme. Overkill sheet music book, and a ‘79 badge set.
All of this glory comes wrapped in a kind of small leather jacket box, if you like that kind of thing, and if you think it’s at all necessary. And how much will all of this set you back? Well, around a very un-Motorhead price of 150 quid. And if that isn’t enough for you, there are various other bundles and extra merch you can spend your money on.
There is no doubt that the Overkill and Bomber albums sound as fierce and fantastic as they always have done. They truly are astounding records from a significant era of rock and roll music, and illustrate the true birth of one of Britain’s most recognisable rock bands. And the addition of photos, live albums and extra song packages are also welcome. But unless you’re a completest with a well-paid job and a penchant for novelty packaging, it’s hard to imagine you’ll be dipping into your pockets for this one. But by the time you read this email, Motorhead might be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that Lemmy notoriously hated. So, who knows.
Philip John Taylor Better known as one-third of the classic Motorhead lineup and affectionately known as Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor was born on 21st September 1954. he had two spells with the band, recording eleven studio albums and four live albums. before passing away on this day in 2015.
Northerner Taylor grew up in Leeds and joined Lemmy when the band were recording the ‘On Parole’ album and it was Taylor who introduced Fast Eddie to the line up shortly after. “Philthy Phil” also broke his neck after falling from or being dropped by a mate who lifted him above his head in a show of strength that went wrong but Taylor played in a neck brace but this was nothing new to the drummer as he also broke his hand punching a guy on the eve of a tour but just taped up his stick to his fist. He first left Lemmy in 84 and had stints in Waysted with Pete Way and toured with Frankie Millar. It wasn’t long before he returned to the fold in ’87 but it wasn’t to last as he was fired some five years later due to his lifestyle choices and as a result a lack of quality in his playing.
He did however make an appearance with Fast Eddie when Motorhead played Birmingham in 2014. Taylor passed away on this day in 2015 after being ill. Liver failure was recorded as cause of death he was only 61. his bandmates paid tribute to their departed brother with Eddie saying,
“My dear friend and brother passed away last night. He had been ill for some time but that does not make it any easier when the time finally comes. I have known Phil since he was 21 and he was one hell of a character. Fortunately, we made some fantastic music together and I have many many fond memories of our time together. Rest in Peace, Phil!”
“I’m feeling very sad at the moment, in fact devastated because one of my best friends died yesterday. I miss him already. His name was Phil Taylor, or Philthy Animal, and he was our drummer twice in our career. Now he’s died and it really pisses me off that they take somebody like him and leave George Bush alive. So muse on that. We’re still going, we’re still going strong, it’s just first Wurzel and now Philthy, it’s a shame man. I think this rock’n’roll business might be bad for the human life”.
Rest in peace Philthy. What a force of nature the classic ‘Head were.
Würzel was born Michael Richard Burston on 23 October 1949. He joined Motörhead in 1984 and played up until 1995, playing on eight albums including two live albums. Würzel died at the age of 61, following heart complications.
He joined the same time as another unknown guitarist from Wales entered the Motorhead ranks a certain Phil Campbell. Lemmy obviously liked them both so offered them the job and the iconic three-piece had now become a four piece making their debut as a band on The Young Ones on 14 February 1984 Valentines Day.
After leaving the ranks of Motorhead Würzel released a solo EP in 87 as well as some dodgy Jazz-Rock instrumentals. On this day in 2011, Lemmys bass technician reported that Würzel had died. The cause of death was CardioMyopathy. Before passing, Würzel was working on new material with his band, ‘Leader of Down’. The following day, Lemmy dedicated Motörhead’s performance at Sonisphere Festival to his memory.
His recording contribution with Motorhead shouldn’t be underestimated playing on some of the bands best albums they ever did such as – No Remorse (Compilation, 1984), Orgasmatron (1986), Rock ‘n’ Roll (1987), Nö Sleep at All (Live album, 1988), The Birthday Party (Live album, 1990), 1916 (1991), March ör Die (1992), Bastards (1993), Sacrifice (1995), BBC Live & In-Session (Live album, 2005).
He earned the nickname “Würzel ” as a soldier because of his West Country roots and disheveled appearance, which led his fellow recruits (when he was a soldier prior to joining Motorhead) to compare him with the TV character Worzel Gummidge. Lemmy described him as “nearly a basket case” in his 2002 autobiography – encouraged him to add an umlaut to his name rather than go by his birth name, in line with the spelling of the band’s name besides putting Ü is like the Ö in the band name and way more metal. Würzel became the jester and a perfect counterfoil to Lemmy’s sterner image. Lemmy recalled a time when he lived up to his chaotic jester-like lifestyle when he ran into Bill Wyman at a London venue and almost knocked him out such was his level of excitement. Lemmy recounted, “Würzel ran down there, all excited, and, just as he comes to the bottom, Bill Wyman comes along, and he hits him full-on and lands him flat on his back … Great start to the evening, you know? ‘Hello, Bill, I’ve always been a fan of yours. Oh sorry, have I knocked you out?’ ”
Despite leaving the band he did remain friends with Lemmy and made several guest appearances at shows up until his untimely death including Guilfest in ’09. Rest in peace Würzel.
Wow, April managed to take plenty of Rock and Roll royalty over the years and this week sees the anniversaries of some pretty high profile legends as well as some really controversial figures.
The 5th of April 1994 was the day a global audience of MTV news watchers gawped on in horror at the news breaking that day saying Kurt Cobain had been found dead in his garage from a shotgun wound to the head. such tragic circumstances for such a young man whilst he might have been a troubled man he did have a daughter he left behind. Prior to his death Cobain was having problems over in Europe with his drug addiction and was hospitalised. His band Nirvana were just about the biggest thing on the planet at the time as they headlined festivals and their third album had just sold millions globally it seemed from the outside that he had everything he could possibly have wanted at his feet yet inside he just couldn’t cope and couldn’t see any way out of it other than to take his own life. The twenty-five years have just flown by who knows where he’d be in today’s musical climate and he and his band will forever be frozen in time having achieved so much in a relatively short space of time his music will live on. Buy Nirvana Here
Two days after Cobain checked out the music world lost another talented soul and cool cat that was Lee Brilleaux the chain-smoking, harmonica honkin’ frontman for the most excellent Dr. Feelgood. Born Lee John Collinson on the 10th of May 1952 the South African would be brought up in West London later moving with his family to Canvey Island where he would later carve out his own little spot in music history by forming Dr. Feelgood with Wilco Johnson in 1971. He continued the band long after the departure of fellow co-founder Johnson up until his untimely death from Lymphoma in 94. Probably most famous for their debut album ‘Down By The Jetty’ that no doubt influenced many in the new wave/pub rock scene that happened in the late 70’s early 80’s and the hit single ‘Milk & Alcohol’ which was a top ten single from the ‘Practice Practice’ album. Its also true that he helped start Stiff records with a loan of £500. RIP Lee. Buy Dr Feelgood Here
On the sixth of April in ’98 lead singer of the Plasmatics the enigmatic larger than life frontwoman Wendy O Williams also took her own life with a shotgun. Williams had relative success with her punk band the Plasmatics and their brand of shock rock which was a punk rock version of the Alice Cooper show with plenty of chaos and her iconic Mohawk she also famously sang a shambolic duet with Lemmy on ‘Stand By Your Man’ and the far better ‘No Class’.
Williams hailed from New York and is most known for her work with the Plasmatics as well as her solo albums but it was the punk band where she got the most notoriety after being arrested in several states for public indecency after appearing naked and simulating masturbation on stage she then took to wearing the gaffa tape over her nipples to avoid arrest.
Anyway, after her duet with Lemmy, she got Gene Simmons to produce her ‘WOW’ solo album and got the members of kiss including Stanley to play on it. In the later part of the 80’s she reformed The Plasmatics. By the 90’s she’d had enough and retired with her partner to Connecticut where she worked with animals and shying away from any sort of public life she tried to take her own life by stabbing herself in the chest it wasn’t until the April of 98 that she went into the woods with a gun and took her own life leaving her partner a note. Her passing shook the rock and roll community with the likes of Joey Ramone making a statement as well as her old friend Lemmy. There was also a tribute concert put on at CBGB where the surviving members of The Plasmatics played a short set in her honour and even a few years ago Record Store Day reissued a record of Plasmatics tunes on a special 11″ disc back in 2014 entitled ‘Fuck n Roll’ (very original) so on the 6th of April raise a glass and play a Wendy O tune Rest In Peace Wendy O Williams ‘The Queen of Shock Rock’ Buy WoW Here
Also in April Per Yngve Ohlin died on the 8 April 1991. Committing suicide in possibly the most horrific way back in 91 Per was better known as ‘Dead’ lead throat for the Black Metal legends Mayhem. He also had a stint in Morbid and is infamously known as a pioneer in the Black Metal scene. He slit his own wrists and throat before blowing the top of his head off with a shotgun. He did leave a suicide note that ended with the words, “Excuse The Blood”! Don’t let it be said that Black Metal lacks a sense of humor no matter how dark.
Euronymous found his bandmate and before contacting the police, he allegedly went to a shop and bought a disposable camera with then photographed the body of his bandmate. Euronymous also put out there that he had made a stew with bits of Dead’s brain and had made necklaces with bits of his skull. Euronymous claimed to have given these necklaces to musicians he thought worthy, which was confirmed by several other members of the scene, like Bård ‘Faust’ Eithun, Metalion, and Morgan Håkansson. the pictures were developed in secret and kept at their record store Helvete before finding their way to the head of Warmaster Records in South America who used the picture on the cover of the Mayhem live album ‘Dawn Of The Black Hearts’ as incredible and fucked up as it sounds it was possibly the catalyst for a spiral of mayhem (no pun intended) within the scene that was already pretty fucked up but never the less made the band infamous in Heavy Metal circles and would see to it that Mayhem would be immortalized forever. Dark times indeed RIP young man. Buy Mayhem Here
Finally, we salute the passing of the Pistols Svengali the one the only Mr. Malcolm McLaren impresario, visual artist, performer, musician, clothes designer, master manipulator shop keeper. Born on 22nd of January 1946 he passed away on April the 8th 2010. At only 64 years old McLarens life was brought down by Cancer of the Abdomen Laid to rest in Higate Cemetry McLaren will be most remembered for his Rock and Roll Swindle and his master manipulation of the music world during the Sex Pistols brief time spearheading the punk movement of the late 70’s and narrating the Rock and Roll Swindle. If you don’t know his story then where have you been Let it rock became ‘Sex’ which is where he assembled the Pistols and the rest, as they say, is History.
He did manage along the way to get arrested at the Queens Jubilee, fuck up the New York Dolls and replace Thunders with Blackie Lawless!! (Go figure) Put together Bow wow wow with the then 13-year-old singer Annabella Lewin and also make Buffalo Girls go round the outside. McLaren lived life to the full and whatever he turned his hand to seemed to be extremely successful at it. With almost a decade in the rear view mirror of life, we salute McLaren and his contribution to music RiP sir. Buy Malcolm McLaren Here