MOTöRHEAD (/ˈmoʊtərhɛd/ ) were an English rock band formed in
June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian Fraser "Lemmy"
Kilmister , who was the sole constant member, guitarist Larry Wallis
Lucas Fox . The band are often considered a precursor to
the new wave of British heavy metal , which re-energised heavy metal
in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Though several guitarists and
drummers have played in Motörhead, most of their best-selling albums
and singles feature the work of "Fast"
Eddie Clarke on guitar and Phil
"Philthy Animal" Taylor on drums.
Motörhead released 23 studio albums, 10 live recordings, 12
compilation albums, and five EPs over a career spanning 40 years.
Usually a power trio , they had particular success in the early 1980s
with several successful singles in the UK Top 40 chart . The albums
Bomber , Ace of Spades , and particularly No Sleep \'til
Hammersmith cemented Motörhead's reputation as a top-tier rock band.
The band are ranked number 26 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard
Rock. As of 2016, they have sold more than 15 million albums
Motörhead are typically classified as heavy metal, and their fusion
of punk rock into the genre helped to pioneer speed metal and thrash
metal . Their 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 ".
Lemmy has been credited with being part of various musical
scenes, thrash metal or speed metal in the main, from the mid-1970s
onward, he stated very clearly, when asked the question, that he plays
Rock and Roll
Rock and Roll . He has said that they had more of an affiliation with
Punk Rockers than with the so-called Heavy Metal scene; Motörhead
having evolved out of the
London mid-1970s Punk era.
Lemmy died on 28 December 2015 after being initially diagnosed with
an undisclosed aggressive form of cancer, which was later revealed as
prostate cancer, and heart failure, after which drummer Mikkey Dee
and guitarist Phil Campbell both confirmed that
Motörhead would not
continue as a band.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Formation and early years, 1975–77
* 1.2 Rise to success: Overkill and Bomber, 1978–79
* 1.3 Ace of Spades and Iron Fist, 1980–82
* 1.4 Departures,
Another Perfect Day and No Remorse, 1982–84
* 1.5 Orgasmatron and Rock \'n\' Roll, 1986–89
* 1.6 Epic/WTG years: 1916 and March ör Die, 1990–92
* 1.7 Bastards, Sacrifice and Overnight Sensation, 1993–97
* 1.8 Snake Bite Love,
We Are Motörhead and Hammered, 1998–2003
* 1.9 Inferno, Kiss of Death and Motörizer, 2004–09
* 1.10 The Wörld Is Yours, Aftershock and Bad Magic, 2010–15
* 1.11 Lemmy\'s death and breakup,
Clean Your Clock and Under
* 2 Style
* 3 Name and logo
* 4 Wrestling
* 5 Rock Löunge bar
* 6 Members
* 7 Discography
* 8 Filmography
* 9 Notes
* 10 Reference notes
* 11 References
* 12 Sources
* 13 Further reading
* 14 External links
FORMATION AND EARLY YEARS, 1975–77
Motörhead War-Pig 'Snaggletooth' belt buckle by Alchemy England
"Motorhead" Released in 1977 as a single from
Problems playing this file? See media help .
Lemmy was dismissed from
Hawkwind in May 1975 after being arrested in
Canada for drug possession; he said himself the band dismissed him
for "doing the wrong drugs". Now on his own,
Lemmy decided to form a
new band called Motörhead, inspired by the final song he had written
Lemmy wanted the music to be "fast and vicious, just like the
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".
On the recommendation of
Mick Farren , he recruited Larry Wallis
Pink Fairies ) on electric guitar and
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.
Their first engagement was supporting
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
The band were contracted to
United Artists by Andrew Lauder , the A
they won a poll for "the best worst band in the world" in the music
By April 1977, living in squats and with little recognition, Taylor
and Clarke decided to quit the band, and after some debate, they
agreed to do a farewell show at the
Marquee Club in London.
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, which spent one week in
UK Albums Chart at number 43. The band toured the UK supporting
Hawkwind in June, then from late July they commenced the "Beyond the
Threshold of Pain" tour with
The Count Bishops .
Tony Secunda took over the management of the band, and
their cohesiveness became so unstable that by March 1978, Clarke and
Taylor had formed and were performing as The Muggers with Speedy Keen
Billy Rath .
RISE TO SUCCESS: OVERKILL AND BOMBER, 1978–79
Lemmy Kilmister , Phil
"Philthy Animal" Taylor and "Fast"
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 ">
Cover of the "Ace Up Your Sleeve" tour booklet, using one of the shots
taken during the photography session in Barnet for the Ace of Spades
During August and September 1980, the band were at Jackson's Studios
in Rickmansworth, recording with producer
Vic Maile . The "Ace of
Spades " single was released on 27 October 1980 as a preview of the
Ace of Spades album, which followed on 8 November. The single reached
No. 15 and the album reached No. 4 on the UK charts. Bronze
celebrated its gold record status by pressing a limited edition of the
album in gold vinyl.
Motörhead made an appearance on
Top of the Pops in November that
year with "Ace of Spades", and between 22 October and 29 November the
band were on their "Ace Up Your Sleeve" UK tour with support from
Vardis , and also made an appearance as guests on the
ITV children's show
Tiswas on 8 November. 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",
considered to be the definitive
Motörhead anthem, "put a choke on
the English music charts and proved to all that a band could succeed
without sacrificing its blunt power and speed". Motorhead
playing at Port Talbot in 1982
To coincide with 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 , which reached No. 43 on the
UK Singles Chart in
The band had more chart hits in 1981 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, the band 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
9 July 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 6 October. The band commenced a European tour on 20
November, supported by Tank , followed by Clarke producing Tank's
Filth Hounds of Hades at
Ramport Studios in December and
Between 26 and 28 January 1982, the band started recording their
self-produced new album at Ramport Studios, before moving onto Morgan
Studios to continue the sessions throughout February. On 3 April the
single "Iron Fist " was released, reaching No. 29 on the UK Singles
Chart, followed by the parent album Iron Fist , released on 17 April
and peaking at No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart. They 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 17 March
and 12 April, and the band's first headlining North America tour from
12 May until Clarke's last engagement at the New York Palladium on 14
DEPARTURES, ANOTHER PERFECT DAY AND NO REMORSE, 1982–84
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, 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. Robertson signed a one-album deal resulting in 1983's Another
Perfect Day and the two singles from it, "Shine " and "I Got Mine ".
In June and July the band played five dates in Japan, and from
mid-October until mid-November they toured Europe. From late May until
early July, the band conducted the "Another Perfect Tour", followed by
an American tour between July and August, and another European tour in
October and November. 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
Lemmy to quip: "Did I leave them or did they leave
me?". Before joining Motörhead, Phil Campbell had met former Saxon
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 hired.
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.
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 19 and 25 May 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 1 September and reached
No. 51 in the UK Singles Chart, the double album No Remorse was
released on 15 September and reached silver disc status, attaining the
position of No. 14 in the UK Album charts.
The band 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. The
band looked to more touring for income; 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 24 October and 7
November. On 26 October the band made a live appearance on the British
Channel 4 music programme The Tube, performing "Killed By Death",
"Steal Your Face" (over which the programme's end-credits were played)
and the unbroadcast "Overkill", before going on to their next
engagement that evening. From 19 November to 15 December the band
toured America with Canadian speed metal band Exciter and Danish heavy
Mercyful Fate and from 26 to 30 December performed five
shows in Germany.
On 5 April 1985, ITV broadcast four songs that were recorded after
the band went off air on their earlier appearance on The Tube
programme. 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 28 and 29 June, 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, 1986–89
From 26 March to 3 April 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 favour. The band's management
instigated their own label, GWR . Recording took place in Master Rock
London and the single "
Deaf Forever " was released on 5 July
as a taster for the Orgasmatron album, which was released on 9 August.
On the same day as the release of the album,
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 16 August, 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
War German aircraft. Also that day
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
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
Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction . In October they
toured America and in December were in Germany.
In 1987, during the filming of Eat the Rich – in which
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 – 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, 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 2 July 1988
Motörhead were one of the performers at the Giants of
Rock Festival in
Hämeenlinna , Finland. The tracks were released as
No Sleep at All on 15 October. 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.
EPIC/WTG YEARS: 1916 AND MARCH öR DIE, 1990–92
With the court case resolved,
Motörhead signed to Epic/WTG and 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,
much against the bands wishes, having previously told him that they
did not want it released, in 1986. In the studio they recorded four
songs with producer
Ed Stasium , before deciding he had to go.
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 story according
to Stasium was that Lemmy's drug and alcohol intake had far exceeded
the limitations of Stasium's patience so he quit. The single "The One
to Sing the Blues " issued on 24 December 1990 (7" and CD) and 5
January 1991 (12"), was followed by the album 1916 on 21 January. The
single, which was issued in 7", cassette, shaped picture disc , 12"
and CD single, reached No. 45 in the UK Singles Chart, the album
reached No. 24 in the UK Album Charts.
The band conducted their "It Serves You Right" tour of Britain in
February, the "Lights Out Over Europe" tour followed, lasting until
early April, when the band returned to Britain to play another six
venues. In June the band played five dates in Japan and five dates in
Australia and New Zealand. Between July and August, they played across
the United States with
Judas Priest ,
Alice Cooper ,
Metal Church and
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
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, in the city's east part of Hollywood during the
1992 Los Angeles riots
1992 Los Angeles riots . Three drummers participated in the making of
March ör Die album: Phil Taylor, who 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
Ozzy Osbourne and Slash .
BASTARDS, SACRIFICE AND OVERNIGHT SENSATION, 1993–97
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. On
this occasion, Dee was available and met the band to try out. Playing
the song "Hellraiser" first,
Lemmy thought "he was very good
immediately. It was obvious that it was going to work." After
recording "Hellraiser" and "Hell on Earth" in the studio, Dee's first
Motörhead was on 30 August at the Saratoga Performing
Arts Center . The new line-up then went on tour, playing dates with
Skew Siskin and Exodus . On 27 September, the band
played at the Los Angeles Coliseum with
Metallica and Guns N\' Roses .
The band toured Argentina and Brazil during October and conducted the
"Bombers and Eagles in '92" tour of Europe with Saxon throughout
Motörhead played two dates at the
Arena Obras Sanitarias in Buenos
Aires in April 1993 and toured Europe from early June until early
July, returning to the United States to play one show at the New York
Ritz on 14 August. 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
at the event under the name "The Lemmy's".
In 1996, the band began touring the States in early January and
played thirty venues up to 15 February; a seven-date tour of Europe in
June and July was followed by two engagements in South America during
August. A tour of the United States with Belladonna and Speedball
began with two shows (Los Angeles "> 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 26
Four dates in Japan preceded the band's 25th anniversary concert on
22 October 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. The event was filmed and released
the following year as the 25 including as the
Graspop Metal Meeting in
Quart Festival in Norway, and the
Wacken Open Air
Wacken Open Air on 4
August, where four songs were recorded for the 25 at Summer Festivals
in South America during May; and also Europe during June, July and
August. The band had already spent time in the recording studio,
working on their next album, Inferno , which was released on 22 June
and was followed by the "Inferno" tour of Ireland with Class of Zero
for three dates, before being joined by
Sepultura and taking it to
Great Britain. Some of the
London show at the Hammersmith Apollo was
filmed for TV as
Gene Simmons introduced the extra opening act , The
Class – a band made up of school children appearing in his Channel 4
Rock School – and
Würzel joined as guest musician for
"Overkill". The band continued the tour with
Sepultura across Europe
through the rest of November and December. At the show in
Germany on 4 December
Sepultura on stage during
their support slot playing the song "Orgasmatron", in celebration of
Sepultura's 20th Anniversary. The show on 7 December at the
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
"Whiplash " on Metallic Attack: The Ultimate Tribute . From March
until early May, the band toured the United States, and in June and
August were on the "30th Anniversary" tour in Europe. On 22 August,
the band were the subject of an hour-long documentary, Live Fast, Die
Old, which was aired on
Channel 4 as part of The Other Side series of
documentaries, filmed by new and established directors.
On 20 September, a compilation album containing the band's
BBC Radio 1 and a concert recording from Paris Theatre,
London, was released as BBC Live ">
Motörhead at the Masters of
Rock tour in 2007.
While that tour was still going, their next album, Kiss of Death ,
was released on 29 August 2006 via
Sanctuary Records , with a video
for "Be My Baby". The tour ended with an engagement on 25 November at
the Brixton Academy, where Phil Campbell was guest guitarist for
"Killed By Death" played during Crucified Barbara's support set. A
further twelve shows in Europe with
Meldrum took them through the end
of November to early December, the first two shows also featuring Skew
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".
Lemmy is old friends with Gary Weight, the
team's manager; Weight "sent an email off to them and they came back
and said it was a great idea" and hopes the deal will draw inspired
performances from his team. On 25 April 2007, the band played at the
Caracas , Venezuela, and on 29 April at the
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro . In June,
Motörhead played an
engagement at the
Royal Festival Hall as part of
Jarvis Cocker 's
Meltdown . On 26 February 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
Motörizer was released on 26 August. It does not feature
artwork from Joe Petagno, the artist who designed many of their
classic album covers. In June 2008 the band performed at the main
stage of the
Download festival . Between 6 and 31 August, Motörhead
Judas Priest , Heaven ">
Motörhead performing at the
Norway Rock Festival 2010
In a November 2009 interview with ABORT Magazine's E.S. Day, Lemmy
Motörhead would enter the studio in February 2010 "to
rehearse, write and record" their 20th studio album, to be released by
the end of the year. The album was recorded with Cameron Webb and
Welsh producer Romesh Dodangoda in Longwave Studio, Cardiff. In an
interview with Hungarian television in July 2010, drummer Mikkey Dee
announced that the album was finished, with 11 tracks. The album's
name was said to be
The Wörld Is Yours . On 3 November 2010, Future
plc , a UK media company, announced that
Motörhead were to release
The Wörld is Yours via an exclusive publishing deal with Classic Rock
magazine on 14 December 2010. The standard CD release of The Wörld
is Yours would go on sale on 17 January 2011, through Motörhead's own
Motörhead Music. Phil Campbell of
Motörhead – New
York City 28 February 2011
To coincide with the release of their upcoming album, Motörhead
embarked on a 35th Anniversary UK tour, from 8–28 November 2010,
and a European tour from 30 November 2010 – 19 December 2010. They
also took their tour to the Americas in 2011. In October, the band
recorded a slow blues version of their longtime hit "Ace of Spades"
for a TV spot for
Kronenbourg beer. On 5 December the single "Get
Back in Line" was released, followed by the release of a video for
the single on 6 December. In December,
Mikkey Dee stated to French
Motörhead are planning to release a box-set with
several DVDs in 2011. He did not give any details but said that it
will come in a "beautiful package including many surprises".
On 17 January 2011, it was announced that
Motörhead would be part of
the Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth. In August 2011, they headlined
Brutal Assault open-air festival in the Czech Republic. On 2 March
Motörhead performed on
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon . On 9 July
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
Santiago de Chile . On 19
December 2011, it was announced that
Motörhead would play at the
Rock am Ring and Rock im Park in
Nuremberg respectively in June 2012. On 12 January 2012, it was
Motörhead were touring the US and Canada in early
2012, along with three other metal bands
Volbeat and Lacuna
Coil . The
Gigantour took place from 26 January to 28 February 2012,
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 30 June to 5 August 2012.
Motörhead also took part on 23 June in the Rock-A-Field Luxembourg
Open Air Festival in
In an April 2012 interview with Classic Rock Revisited,
Motörhead were planning to make a follow-up to The Wörld Is
Yours. He replied, "We have not started writing any songs yet but we
will. We put out an album out every two years. I will continue to do
that as long as I can afford an amp." On 28 June 2012,
Auburn Reporter that
Motörhead will release their next album in 2013
and they had written "about 6 songs so far." On 23 October 2012,
Lemmy told Billboard.com that the band had planned to enter the studio
in January to begin recording the album for a mid-2013 release. On 28
February 2013, it was announced that
Motörhead had begun recording
their new album.
Motörhead released the live DVD The Wörld Is Ours
– Vol. 2 – Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else in September 2012. On
18 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. However, in January 2014,
Motörhead announced the
cancellation of the new February and March dates of their European
Lemmy was still to reach full recovery from diabetes related
health problems. But the same month, the band was confirmed for
Coachella Festival to take place across two weekends in spring 2014
(12–14 and 19–21 April) in Indio , California, the exact dates to
be revealed as 13 and 20 April 2014. In February 2014, Motörhead
confirmed a Summer tour 2014 with eight European dates (from 24 June
to 10 August) in France (2 dates), Switzerland, Italy, Germany (2
dates), Russia and Ukraine. In March 2014, the band announced a Los
Angeles date on 11 April 2014 at Club Nokia. Later on, two new dates
on 17 and 18 April 2014 respectively in Las Vegas (Pearl) and San
Francisco (Warfield) were added. Still in March 2014, Motörhead
announced that three heavy metal bands Megadeth, Anthrax and
themselves would perform from 22 to 26 September 2014 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
Yucatán Peninsula .
In a September 2014 interview on
Full Metal Jackie ,
Motörhead would "probably" enter the studio in January 2015 to
start work on their 22nd studio album for a tentative late 2015
release. On 25 February 2015,
Motörhead officially confirmed that
they were in the studio recording their new album in Los Angeles with
longtime producer Cameron Webb. On 27 May 2015, the band released
teasers on their Facebook page with the roman number "XXXX" on it. On
4 June 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 28 August 2015. The band
performed at the UK's
Glastonbury Festival in June 2015. Their final
UK gig was at the
Eden Project on 27 June 2015.
While touring the album as the "40th anniversary Tour", Motörhead
had to cut short their
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City show on 27 August 2015 (in the
Rocky Mountains) due to Lemmy's breathing problems (the result of an
altitude sickness ) and then they had to cancel completely day-off
Denver Riot Fest set on 28 August 2015. Their tour picked up
again on 1 September 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 to cancel subsequent shows (from the show on 2
September 2015 in
San Antonio , Texas to the show on 5 September 2015
Houston , Texas included).
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 28 September through 2 October 2015
including performances by heavy metal legends
Slayer and underground
heroes like Anthrax , Exodus ,
Suicidal Tendencies and Corrosion of
Conformity . For this occasion,
Motörhead performed live two entire
(identical) sets on 30 September and 1 October 2015.
Motörhead continued the "40th Anniversary Tour" in Europe in
November and December. They played concerts in Germany, Sweden, Norway
and Finland. Their final concert was in Berlin, Germany on 11
December 2015. After Lemmy's death, drummer
Mikkey Dee spoke in an
interview about him: "He was terribly gaunt. He spent all his energy
on stage and afterwards he was very, very tired. It's incredible that
he could even play, that he could finish the Europe tour. It was only
20 days ago. Unbelievable." The "40th Anniversary Tour" was planned
to continue in January 2016 in the band's home country the U.K., the
first concert would have been in Newcastle on 23 January 2016.
LEMMY\'S DEATH AND BREAKUP, CLEAN YOUR CLOCK AND UNDER CöVER, 2015-17
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
HE WOULD WANT EXACTLY THAT.
Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister
Born to lose, lived to win.
The following day, drummer
Mikkey Dee confirmed that
not continue, stating, "
Motörhead is over, of course.
Motörhead. We won't be doing any more tours or anything. And there
won't be any more records. But the brand survives, and
Lemmy lives on
in the hearts of everyone." Two days after Lemmy's death, guitarist
Phil Campbell also stated that "
Motörhead is no longer".
A few days later, the band's long-time manager Todd Singerman told
the press that
Lemmy had experienced chest pains two days after his
70th birthday party (held at
Whisky a Go Go ) and visited into the
emergency room, but was released the next day. However, Singerman was
concerned because Lemmy's speech was "getting bad" and took him to a
brain scan . On 26 December the doctor came into Lemmy's apartment,
"brought the results and told us all that he has two to six months to
Lemmy reacted calmly. "He took it better than all of us", said
Singerman. "His only comment was, 'Oh, only two months, huh?' The
doctor goes, 'Yeah, Lem, I don't want to bullshit you. It's bad, and
there's nothing anyone can do. I would be lying to you if I told you
there was a chance.'" Plans were made to treat
Lemmy at home. A video
game console at the
Rainbow Bar and Grill
Rainbow Bar and Grill that
Lemmy loved to play was
brought to his apartment. On 28 December 2015, he spent hours on the
console, and Rainbow owner Mikael Maglieri paid a visit.
Lemmy died in
his sleep later that day.
Initially planned on 27 May 2016, UDR Music released on 10 June 2016
Clean Your Clock , a
Motörhead archive live album due to contain
material recorded at the 20 ">
Lemmy live in
Edmonton , 2005
In a biography of the band, senior editor for
AllMusic , 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 "
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.
Motörhead is often considered a heavy metal band, Lemmy
always described Motörhead's music as simply "rock and roll ". In
2011, he said: "We were not heavy metal. We were a rock 'n' roll band.
Still are. Everyone always describes us as heavy metal even when I
tell them otherwise. Why won't people listen?" In 2014, he reiterated
Der Spiegel that he did not particularly like heavy metal.
Lemmy had stated that he generally felt more kinship with punk
rockers than with heavy metal bands:
Motörhead had engagements with
fellow Brits The Damned , with whom he played bass on a handful of
late 1970s engagements, as well as having penned the song
R.A.M.O.N.E.S. " as a tribute to the
Ramones . Motörhead, Lemmy
stated, have more in common aesthetically with The Damned than Black
Sabbath , and nothing whatsoever in common with
Judas Priest . Lemmy
said he felt little kinship with the speed metal bands
They've just got the wrong bit. They think that being fast and loud
is the whole thing and it isn't. The guitar solos are not really
difficult for a guitar player, it's just playing scales. To feel a
solo and bend into it it's like having a deep guitarist.
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".
Motörhead on Motörhead's first album
Snaggletooth is the fanged face that serves as the symbol of
Joe Petagno drew it in 1977 for the cover of the
band's debut album (with designer
Phil Smee who turned it into a
negative and did the lettering to complete the logo), having met
Lemmy while doing some work with Hawkwind. Petagno stated:
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.
Eddie Clarke was less sure about the imagery to begin with:
I shuddered when I saw it the first time. I thought, "Blimey, this
ain't gonna go down that well", because it was just way over the top,
then. But I grew to love it ... it was not scary or horrifying, it
would've been, in those days, deemed bad taste.
It has remained a symbol of
Motörhead throughout the years, with
Petagno creating many variations of Snaggletooth, or as some have
called it and written it down as War-Pig, for the covers of ensuing
albums. To date, only two of the original covers for Motörhead's 22
studio albums do not feature any variation of War-Pig on the cover: On
Overnight Sensation (of which,
On Parole was never
sanctioned by the band), and was in any case reissued with a black
Snaggletooth on a white background. Phil is wearing a Snaggletooth
badge on the cover of Ace of Spades . The cover of "Iron Fist" depicts
a metal gauntlet wearing four skull-shaped rings, one of which is
Snaggletooth, while the rear of the album-sleeve shows a fully
detailed 3-D metal sculpture of the symbol. Originally the
Snaggletooth design included a swastika on one of the helmet's spikes.
This was painted out on later re-releases of the albums on CD.
On 21 September 2007, Petagno announced that "there will be no more
"HEADS" from my hand", citing irreconcilable differences between
himself and the band's current management, Singerman Entertainment.
It has been a long, exciting and industrious journey, full of art and
intuition, difference in repetition, and creative innovation. I feel I
accomplished something unique in Metal history over the last 31 years
by breathing life again and again into a figment of my own
imagination, an image or better an entity which has taken on a life of
its own, which I actually believe goes beyond the music it was created
to represent. I'm damn proud of that!
As many of you know, we have been working with
Joe Petagno for 31
years. We always treated Joe fairly, and I would like to stress that
at no time did my manager demand what Joe thinks he demanded — it is
all a colossal misunderstanding. We have always loved his artwork,
obviously, and if he now decides to stop working with us, we have no
choice but to use someone else. However ... if he will not discuss
this personally and try to work things out, I think it's a great
tragedy. If Joe continues with us, no one would be more delighted than
me. If it's goodbye, Joe, I wish you well, but I hope, even at this
stage, to be reconciled and continue our association.
Motörhead are well known in the professional wrestling world for
Triple H 's entrance music, "The Game", which he
has used as his entrance music since January 2001. In addition to the
song playing whenever
Triple H appears on WWE programming such as Raw
or SmackDown , and at other pay-per-view wrestling events, the band
have performed the song live for him at
WrestleMania X-Seven and
WrestleMania 21 . Their song "Rock Out" was also used as the theme
song of the WWE pay-per-view Unforgiven in 2008.
provided the entrance music for Triple H's faction Evolution ,
entitled "Line in the Sand". "The Game" was released on both the
American version of the Hammered and
WWF The Music, Vol. 5 albums, and
"Line in the Sand" was released on the WWE ThemeAddict: The Music,
Vol. 6 album.
Motörhead have since performed a new entrance track for
Triple H, entitled "King of Kings", which made its debut at
WrestleMania 22 .
Triple H has also introduced the band in concert.
Lemmy inspired Triple H's facial hair, and
Triple H spoke at Lemmy's
ROCK LöUNGE BAR
Mikkey Dee announced the opening of a bar in the
Canary Island of
Tenerife using Motörhead's imagery.
For a more comprehensive list, see
List of Motörhead band members .
* Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister – lead vocals , bass (1975–2015; his
* Phil "Wizzö" Campbell – guitars , backing vocals (1984–2015)
Mikkey Dee – drums (1992–2015)
Larry Wallis – guitars, backing vocals (1975–1976)
Lucas Fox – drums (1975)
Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor – drums (1975–1984, 1987–1992;
Eddie Clarke – guitars, backing vocals (1976–1982)
* Brian "Robbo" Robertson – guitars, backing vocals (1982–1983)
* Michael "Würzel" Burston – guitars, backing vocals
(1984–1995; died 2011)
Pete Gill – drums (1984–1987)
Below are the group's studio albums. For the full discography,
including live albums and compilations, see
* Overkill (1979)
* Ace of Spades (1980)
* Iron Fist (1982)
Another Perfect Day (1983)
* Orgasmatron (1986)
* Rock \'n\' Roll (1987)
* 1916 (1991)
March ör Die (1992)
* Bastards (1993)
* Sacrifice (1995)
Overnight Sensation (1996)
Snake Bite Love (1998)
We Are Motörhead (2000)
* Hammered (2002)
* Inferno (2004)
* Kiss of Death (2006)
The Wörld Is Yours (2010)
* Aftershock (2013)
Bad Magic (2015)
* 1987: Eat the Rich : soundtrack includes "Nothing up My Sleeve",
"Built for Speed", "Orgasmatron", "Doctor Rock", "On the Road (live)",
"Eat the Rich " and "Bess" – New Line Home Entertainment. Halfway
through shooting, the idea of gradually replacing the members of the
ballroom band with
Motörhead was hit upon. At first there are no
Motörhead personnel, then Phil Campbell appears, followed by Würzel
and Phil Taylor. The scene involving
Lemmy riding a motorcycle is
played by a female stunt double as
Lemmy was on tour with Motörhead
in America at the time the scene had to be shot.
Lemmy (49% Motherf**ker. 51% Son of a Bitch.) (rockumentary
film profile of Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister )
* 2011: The Wörld Is Ours – Vol 1 – Everywhere Further Than
Everyplace Else (live DVD of Motörhead's global tour including the
entire performance on 9 April 2011 at Santiago de Chile's Teatro
Caupolican and moments from the shows on 16 November 2010 at
Manchester's O2 Apollo and on 28 February 2011 at New York City's Best
* ^ About the shortened show on 1 September 2015 at Emo's in
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and "Stay Clean"), Kilmister returned to the stage after he cut short
the third one, "Metropolis." «You're one of the best gigs that I've
ever played. And I would love to play for you. But I can't,»
Kilmister said, adding that he feared collapse. «Please accept my
* ^ Shortened shows: on 27 August 2015 at The Complex in Salt Lake
City , Utah; on 1 September 2015 at Emo's in Austin, Texas.
* ^ Cancelled shows: on 28 August 2015 at Riot Fest in
Colorado (show drop off at the last minute due to Lemmy's breathing
issues ); on 2 September 2015 at the Aztec Theatre in San Antonio,
Texas; on 4 September 2015 at The Bomb Factory in Dallas, Texas; on 5
September 2015 at the
House of Blues
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