Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Motorhead: Leaving Here

"We only knew three chords but we arranged them pretty well."
Lemmy Kilmster

I too had a metal phase. It was the sixth grade and my Classic Rock station spun Dio-era Sabbath (Heaven and Hell) That Other Guy*-era Iron Maiden (Self-Titled), the resurgent-era Judas Priest (British Steel) and of course, prime-era Motorhead (Ace of Spades). By the seventh grade I'd gone backwards to a sixties rock phase before moving moving sideways into that long-term obsession that is punk rock.
*I know it's Paul Di'Anno, I just don' t care all that much.

I haven't listened to any of those aforementioned albums since 1981, other than Ace of Spades. Re-listening to it in the cold light of the 21st century it remains a bludgeoning work but it's not an archetypal heavy metal album like the others. For a long time, Motorhead transcended heavy metal, building an audience of bikers, punks, acid-heads as well as heshers. (Of course,when they came to Winnipeg, a North American banger hot spot in the eighties, the radio ad went "Heav-y! Met-al! Motor! Head!" with lotsa echo.)

Motorhead simply are, as one album title had it, rock n' roll. On their debut single with its Chuck Berry-isms and its cover of the Birds' (via Holland-Dozier-Holland!) "Leavin' Here", Motorhead sound like a super-charged pub-rock band. After all they began on Stiff (for this single) then moved onto Chiswick, both labels associated with former pub rockers playing punk/new wave. Of course they suffered none of the hide-bound conservatism of that genre and stole bits from the entire history of rock n' roll ( Lemmy and early co-leader Larry Wallis both played in seventies psychedelic bands - Hawkwind and Pink Fairies respectively). It's a guttural, grungy rock n' roll - "everything louder then everything else" went the slogan - that's influenced a million bands, too many of whom missed Lemmy's impish humour.

Download White Line Fever/Leaving Here 7"

"If Motorhead moved in next door to you, your lawn would die."
Lemmy Kilmster


  1. Old term for bangers (mostly West coast vintage (hence the forgotten-but-for-their-name band Sixty-Foot Hesher). The dictionary of slang suggests that it's "heavy metal + thrash = hesher".)

  2. Always liked Motorhead but those early singles have more of a punky feel to them and are brilliant.

  3. Well heshers, that's a new one to me. They were called skids or skidders up here. And I do remember the time one of them, who was trying to make some point to his buddy (being a guy well known for his dislike of me and my skate-punk brethren...), if I thought Motorhead was considered "punk". After realizing I wasn't going to get pummeled, I said something like "sort of" and had a conversation that crossed the usual high school b.s. and ended up swapping some tapes with him. That was when "crossover" was happening and Megadeth had just butchered a classic.

    Hey, was that My Dog Popper album you had up 668: The Neighbour of the Beast?

    I stumbled across that post last night while looking for the Dik Van Dykes' "Birthday Song", and wonder if you could re-post it, if it be? I had that (again) on cassette, lost somewhere in the mid-90's. Bought that one on the strength of hearing "Acid Flashback" on Nightlines or Brave New Waves.

  4. The effect "Ace Of Spades" has had on my life is incredible! Thank goodness I didn't try as hard to find out more about "Doing It Right (On The Wrong Side Of Town)" which was also a favorite of my childhood...a tragic, tragic favorite.

  5. The "No Remorse" compilation in '84 introduced me to all the great stuff. "Stay Clean," "Killed By Death," and personal favorite, "Emergency." I never thought metal, or even heavy. Their best had the power of Zep's "Four Sticks" -- it just ran you over. And it still sounds great. I had a roommate in college who saw them live in the mid-eighties, and it was the only time he witnessed two broken bass strings in one performance.

  6. Still heavier than the rest and their new stuff is much better than you'd expect it to be. Taking my 13 year old son to see 'em next week.

  7. Marky
    The good thing about them was the punk feeling never completely died (i.e. their incredible Ramones tribute.)

    (A dictionary of metal is needed.)

    That vignette is perfect, Chicken Soup for the Punk Rock Soul (sorry, that's a loathsome thought but you know what I mean.)

    I did post 668 but without the cover, which I kinda regret since it's the best thing about the album, I'll try to fix the link for you.

    I picked up that Powder Blues Lp at work last night and though of you.

    I'm gonna get No Remorse again, I think that and Ace of Spades will complete my collection.
    Two broken bass strings - Lemmy is a maniac!

    lo-fi jr.
    When my son hits 13 (in 7 years) Lemmy'll still be going strong, I'm guessing. (I asked him if he wanted to listen to Motorhead this morning and he said, "No, The Beatles!"

  8. Yeah that RAMONES tribute was ace, I also love the cover of Ballroom Blitz Lemmy did with The Damned. As for your boy wanting The Beatles Lemmy would approve as they are his favourite band (TRUE).

  9. I didn't know Lemmy was a Beatles fan but as someone who's been playing in bands since the sixties (and as a singing bass player) I suppose it makes senses. Plus I think Lemmy's song-writing is more 'pop-oriented'.His songs have a classic verse-chorus-verse (plus a solo or two) structures with none of the pseudo-Wagnerian flourishes so common to bad metal.

  10. Hey thanks for the uploads! I've been reading your sight for a couple of months now and enjoy it quite a bit. I've downloaded a couple of things and the guilt of not commenting has finally overwhelmed me.

    I especially enjoy the Canadian stuff, particularly the OG stuff. Any chance you'll re-post It Came From Canada? Or maybe some U.I.C ? I'm currently separated from my vinyl collection so I appreciate what your doing.Keep it up and again thanks a million.

    Btw, I never felt that Motorhead truly fit in with their British metal contemporaries. In many ways more like the Stooges than Iron Maiden.

  11. Dainty

    Thanks for the words. For "It Came From Canada" use this link

    and then just keep hitting 'newer post' in the bottom left and you'll eventually find them all.

    As for UIC, someone else posted it so I decided to forgo it but as I can't find it now maybe I'll post it after all.

  12. ...And just like that I've got 'em all. Thanks!

  13. Enjoy.If I can't find it maybe I'll post that "Our Garage' someday.


Thanks for clicking the COMMENTS link.
Now that you're here,I should mentions that
without reader feedback blogs slowly wither and die