Tag Archives: Motorhead

Motorhead heavy metal band

Five classic albums whose musical legacy outlived all the people playing on them

With so many rock n roll icons leaving us in recent years I find myself playing a hell of a lot of albums that feature musicians who are no longer with us these days. Many historic albums from the 60s and 70s  now only have one or two of the personnel who played on them still alive. On Small Faces albums like Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake only drummer Kenney Jones remains with us, of the classic Electric Warrior-era T. Rex line-up we have only drummer Bill Legend still around and the same can be said for Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – with only drummer Woody Woodmansey still around to celebrate the band’s legacy.

But here are five classic albums where none of the musicians playing on them are still with us.

1. Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley: Elvis’s 1956 debut album featured his regular backing band of Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana and Bill Black. Bassist, Black, died in 1965, the king himself passed away in 1977, of course, and Moore died in 2016. The final member of Presley’s original backing trio, DJ Fontana, sadly died this year. The album (with its iconic cover later inspiring the artwork for the Clash’s London Calling two decades later) contains classics like Blue Suede Shoes and Money Honey recorded for Elvis’s new label, RCA, as well as some previously released songs from his original label, Sun Records.

51YJuoeYClL._SY355_

2. Chuck Berry – After School Session: Although Chuck Berry stuck around until 2017 most of the musicians on his 1957 debut album (which features many classics like Brown Eyed Handsome Man, Too Much Monkey Business and School Days) passed away some decades earlier. Many would argue Johnnie Johnson’s piano was as much an integral part of that early rock n roll sound as Berry’s guitar. However, by the 1980s Johnson was working as a bus driver until support from the likes of Keith Richards put him back in the public eye. Johnson was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years before his death in 2005.

berry01

3. Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced: Hendrix’s 1967 debut was praised by Melody Maker for its artistic integrity and by the NME’s Keith Altham for being brave, original and exciting. However, just three years later Hendrix would be dead, followed by bass player Noel Redding in 2003 and drummer Mitch Mitchell in 2008. They leave behind an album that has been held up as one of the greatest and most influential debuts of all time.

51c34jArEaL._SY355_

4. Ramones – Ramones: Critically acclaimed upon its release in 1976 and containing evergreen classics like Blitzkrieg Bop, the album “posed a direct threat to any vaguely sensitive woofer and/or tweeter lodged in your hi-fi” claimed the NME’s Nick Kent. The Ramones would be around for another two decades but at the turn of the millennium Joey (d. 2001), Dee Dee (d. 2002) and Johnny Ramone (d. 2004) would all go in rapid succession of one another, followed by original drummer Tommy Ramone in 2014.

81B47LJOqXL._SY355_

5. Motörhead – No Sleep ’til Hammersmith: A tearful rock world said goodbye to the seemingly indestructible Lemmy in 2015, only one month after the death of Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor. Just over two years later the last member of Motorhead’s most famous and most memorable lineup, Fast Eddie Clarke, was gone, too. The trio recorded six albums together including this iconic live album. When Lemmy formed the band back in 1975 with a promise that “it will be so loud that if we move in next door to you, your lawn will die” he probably wasn’t expecting to be regularly appearing on Top Of The Pops and releasing a live album that went to number one but that is exactly what happened.

198114

 

 

 

Advertisements

Motörpace (Motörhead tribute) at The Carlisle, Hastings 20/8/16

My review originally appeared in the Hastings Independent 1/9/16

When there is so much excellent original music being performed live around the town should the Hastings Independent be reviewing tribute bands? It’s a moot point and for much of the past couple of decades I’ve been pretty dismissive of the whole tribute band scene; but two things began to change. Firstly, being exposed to world-class tribute acts, like Australian Pink Floyd, appearing on festival line-ups alongside original artists and experiencing first hand the sheer quality of the musicianship, regardless of whether it was original or not. Secondly, reflecting on the legacy of some truly iconic acts in the wake of a seemingly endless succession of rock star deaths in recent months, not least one Lemmy Kilmister at the end of 2015, and concluding that it would be a particularly severe case of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face to refuse to celebrate and enjoy the music of, say, David Bowie or The Eagles or Motörhead in a live setting just because the instigators are no longer with us. No-one ever got sniffy about the artistic validity of the Royal Philharmonic performing an evening of Beethoven so should celebrating the music of some of rock’s greatest icons really be that much different?

So here we are at The Carlisle then to witness the Motörhead tribute act, Motorpace. First, however, the band as they put it themselves “are their own support act” and rattle through a number of heavy metal staples by the likes of AC/DC, Metallica and Judas Priest before doing a full second set in full-on tribute band mode. Wisely, apart from the bass player/vocalist sporting some Lemmy-esque facial hair and a vaguely rock n roll-ish leather hat, the band avoid the temptation to play-act the roles of the former members of Motörhead and instead concentrate on getting the sound right; which they do with devastating precision. All the essential ingredients are there: the fast and furious bass-playing rumbling away like some industrial power tool, the hoary, growled vocals, the blinding guitar solos, the power drumming. It goes down really well with the Carlisle crowd which has swelled significantly by the time the band come on stage to do their main set in tribute to Lemmy and co. Punters lap up the likes of We Are The Road Crew, The Chase is Better Than the Catch, Overkill and, of course, Ace of Spades as well as more recent material like Thunder & Lightning from Motörhead’s final studio album, Bad Magic.

I’ve certainly become far more philosophical about tribute acts. If your entire experience of live music was to be nothing but an endless stream of tribute acts, each aping the glory days of bands gone by, that would be rather sad indeed; but as part of a balanced musical diet I see absolutely nothing wrong with taking in the odd tribute concert. This is especially so when the quality of the performance is as good as that delivered by Motorpace this evening.

https://www.facebook.com/motorpacetrib/?fref=ts

2016-08-20 22.46.36

2016-09-06 12.43.50

Related reviews:
Motörhead – Bad Magic
Motörhead at Hyde Park

Metal: album review – Motörhead ‘Bad Magic’

Bad Magic, Motörhead’s 22nd studio album in the band’s 40th year, opens in classic Motörhead fashion with Victory Or Die. All the essential ingredients are there: the fast and furious rumbling bass, the hoary, growled vocals, the blinding guitar solo, coupled with a memorable rock ‘n’ roll tune and some world-weary seen it all, done it all rock ‘n’ roll lyrics. It’s a strong opener. For sure, Lemmy’s voice might sound a bit more aged than previously. But given his well-publicised health problems in recent years it’s something of a miracle that this album sounds as good as it does. Many of the songs wouldn’t sound at all out of place on some of the albums from late 70s/early 80s “heyday” period. Thunder & Lightning and Electricity are both stand-out tracks for me in that vein, as well as the aforementioned Victory Or Die.

It’s not all completely predicatable, though. Two tracks depart significantly from the tried and tested Motorhead formula. Firstly, we have Till The End, a slow number that has Lemmy spelling out his life philosophy with some suitably heavy but melodic backing. And we also have a cover of the Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil. “Motörhead sing the Stones” could have sounded a bit gimmicky but, surprisingly, it comes off. A wall of thunderous drum sound provides an atmospheric backdrop for Lemmy to let rip on the old Jagger/Richard classic.

Did I need another studio album by Motörhead? If truth be told this is the first new studio album of theirs I’ve bought in years. But admiration for how long they’ve kept going twinned with a realisation that this is a band almost certainly in the final stages of its long career drove me to buy it. I’ve not been disappointed.

Released: August 2015

http://www.imotorhead.com/

motorhead-bad-magic

Previous review: Motörhead at Hyde Park 

Motörhead at Hyde Park 4/7/14

An added bonus of buying tickets for Black Sabbath in Hyde Park was having the chance to see Motörhead on the bill earlier in the day. Lemmy’s recent health problems had left some question marks over the future of the band and so, five years after I’d last seen them, it was good to catch up with them again on stage.

However, while Motörhead’s “best of” CD and their iconic No Sleep ’til Hammersmith live album are frequently blasting from my stereo, I must confess to having heard not a single album Motörhead have recorded since about 1982. And although we were treated versions of Stay Clean, Ace of Spades and Overkill that owners of the No Sleep… album will be very familiar with, there were several songs in the 45-minute set with which I was unfamiliar. The thing about Motörhead, however, is consistency: in sound, in quality and in attitude. So while a particular song they are performing may not be a classic from the Overkill/ Bomber/Ace of Spades era, it manages to sound exactly like it should be.

As well as iconic front-man/bassist extraordinaire, Lemmy Kilmister, Motörhead are Phil Campbell on guitar and Mikkey Dee on drums and while neither were in the band in the early “classic” years, Campbell has been with them for thirty years and Dee for over twenty.  As for Lemmy, you wouldn’t think it from his vocal delivery and certainly not from his bass-playing, but it’s during his brief between-song banter with the audience that you realise that Lemmy is now quite an old man.

Will Lemmy and Motörhead be around forever? Obviously not. Will they be performing for that much longer? If truth be told, probably not. Is it still worth seeing them? On today’s performance – most certainly yes. Catch them now while they are still a living, working unit, still delivering the classic Motörhead sound.

Setlist:
Damage Case
Stay Clean
Over the Top
Lost Woman Blues
Doctor Rock
Going to Brazil
Killed by Death
Ace of Spades
Overkill

http://imotorhead.com/

2014-07-04 15.46.07