MOTORHEAD INTERVIEW

Lemmy Speaks About Snake Bite Love And Rock'N'Roll With No Remorse!

Motorhead was formed in 1975 by the one and only Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister. Lemmy, as we all came to know and love, had a vision of what a real rock & roll machine band should be about. A few years earlier, Lemmy was the bassist in the psychedelic spacerock outfit Hawkwind and received his pink slip in '75 after recording their classic album 'Warrior On The Edge Of Time'. No problem. Motorhead's trademark sound has earned them the label 'the fastest & loudest ROCK 'N' ROLL band alive. During his 23 years in the music business he has continued to buck the industry knuckleheads who decide which bands live or die. Despite various guitar & drum personnel changes over the years, one thing remains as solid as a nail: Lemmy's 'sandpaper growl' vocals and his thunderous bass machine. Though Motorhead has had its unfair share of industry disasters such as bad record deals, members coming & going, no label or radio support, a hit album, no hit album etc, Lemmy's philosophy is you either continue to MARCH OR DIE. Lemmy decided to march and the fans are glad he did!

Motorhead have just issued their 16th 'official' album. I say 'official' because the earlier catalog of original albums seems to have grown arms, legs & minds of their own having reemerged in 1,000's of mutated forms worldwide. Snake Bite Love which is their 3rd album for the CMC International Records label (the 2 previous releases were Sacrifice & Overnight Sensation) finds the machine that Lemmy built stronger than ever musically. Believe it or not, this is the bands most (dare I say it???) 'radio friendly' album ever! It appears the band finally have a label that loves and respects them.

I recently interviewed Lemmy and we had a very nice talk. Lemmy was very chatty, honest, and very straight to the point when discussing the bands disasters that have plagued them for years. He was very friendly and funny with a good sense of humor for someone who has constantly struggled to keep his band out of the snake pits of the industry that can kill you if you let it. It appeared to be just ANOTHER PERFECT DAY in the life of Lemmy except this day he was filled with SNAKE BITE LOVE!


J: I noticed on this new CD Snake Bite Love you guys seem to be hitting more on the classic 3 or 4 chord rock & roll sound as opposed to the old classic Motorhead sound. I mean it has more of a, dare I say, accessible commercial appeal to it.

L: Well we got the classic Motorhead sound on there to like "Better Off Dead". I mean we always played rock and roll songs right from the first records. We always played rock and roll. So whatever we play becomes Motorhead music anyway (laughs).

J: Well "Love For Sale" is definitely the stuff classic rock tunes are made of. I mean it has the ingredients there that The Stones and others crawled onto the charts with. In other words… It's catchy and it sounds like a hit.

L: Yeah right. Someone has ears!

J: Has the promotion from CMC International Records been good as far as getting the record out? Is it getting the exposure it deserves on radio or in the press.

L: People see the name Motorhead and they don't hear it because they don't play it, they don't even go near it (laughing). That's our problem. The label CMC International Records can only hope it gets played, and me too (laughing). It's been shopped around to radio stations and as I said some will play it and others won't.

J: Is the fan base still stronger in Europe and other parts of the world as opposed to the U.S.?

L: Oh yeah sure. We can still headline over there in Europe and other places but not in the States.

J: There were German dates in May. What about an American tour?

L: Yeah and more dates maybe added into June. We're also doing the Ozzy fest this year.

J: I've reviewed the King Biscuit live CD from L'Mours Long Island N.Y. Were you happy with that coming out? It is an official release correct?

L: We had nothing to do with that. It is an official King Biscuit release.

J: One thing that puzzles everyone is like Hawkwind, Motorhead's first bunch of albums have been so mutated and mutilated worldwide that you couldn't keep track of them anymore. Why did this happen?

L: Well, that's because Castle Communications U.K. bought the entire Bronze Records catalog lock, stock and barrel. And what happened was they released the albums themselves and then leased them to Roadracer/Roadrunner Records and Dojo Records and then they put them out again themselves. I mean we have nothing to do with it. We can't try to stop them or help them with the releases. They just throw them out.

J: So are you guys collecting royalties on that stuff?

L: Oh yeah, we get the mechanical royalties.

J: As for the early back catalog the original Bronze Records albums, they are currently out of print in the U.S. again due to Dojo Records going out of business here. Is there a chance CMC International Records will license them from Castle Communications U.K. for the U.S. market?

L: No chance. They'll probably sell them out to some assholes over here.

J: As a musician myself I wanted to ask you some questions about your playing, influences, songwriting etc…

L: What instrument you play?

J: Guitar. I've 'woodshed' to Motorhead stuff plenty over the years.

L: Alright.

J: For the musicians especially… Do you prepare demos of the tunes before hand and then present them to the band?

L: No I've never done that, we've never done demos (laughs). It saves a lot of time and money, you know. We write about 5 weeks before the initial recording. We write the bare bones of the music and bring them into the studio and work the lyrics out there.

J: You started out as guitarist right.

L: Right.

J: You roadied for Jimi Hendrix also right.

L: Yeah.

J: You've been playing some acoustic guitar on some tunes over the last few albums, but have you played any electric lead/rhythm that your not credited for on the liner notes?

L: I played the background rhythm guitar on the verses of "Dead And Gone" and I did the lead/rhythm guitar on the choruses of " Take The Blame' off the new album.

J: How many basses do you have in your collection these days?

L: I have 7 Rickenbacker basses but I only use 1 really. It's the new one. Rickenbacker is bringing out the signature Lemmy bass which I designed and it's the most BEAUTIFUL thing you've ever seen in your life! It's all carved on the front with oak leaves and stuff and they're bringing that out soon. I've got the first one and Rickenbacker has finally made some good pick ups! It sounds like murder.

J: What about your amp set up on stage?

L: I've got 2 stacks on stage both house 4 x15's & 4x12's and on top of that I've got 2 Marshall's JNP Super Bass tube 100 watt amps.

J: What acoustic guitars do you use?

L: Well I don't play them on stage, but at home I've got a great Gibson a very old 1902 Epiphone Triumph, an old Gibson with just a little 'f' flat hole in the front I don't remember what model it is and I've got a Mitchell Jumbo she's very nice.

J: Motorhead has always been labeled a 'metal' band. But the fans all agree that the music is really just blues based rock sped up and played louder.

L: Well we're more of blues band than a rock & roll band. We just play very fast.

J: Some wanted to know if you are a blues and R&B fan.

L: Blues oh yeah! R&B I don't know what you mean?

J: Well the old '60s soul stuff. The Motown sound, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin, The Stax sound etc…

L: Oh yeah, Solomon Burke and all that. Yeah I like it but I like the blues better, the old blues like Little Walter, Junior Parker, Memphis Slim, Chuck Berry's great and Little Richard. Little Richard is my man! Any of those guys I like.

J: Have any ever considered doing a solo record outside of Motorhead?

L: Yes.

J: What do you envision for it? Would it sound different than the Motorhead sound?

L: I'd love to hear an album of all my old favorite songs, a rock & roll album.

J: You've also done a solo album prior to Hawkwind right.

L: Yeah, it's been in and out of print over the years and it was back in print and its out again.

J: Some critics still say that Motorhead has had their 15 minutes of fame.

L: Yeah (laughs).

J: Yet Motorhead sounds stronger with each new album and there are new fans out there all the time.

L: Yeah right, we got all the new young kids at our gigs all the time.

J: You don't see Motorhead drying up anytime soon do you?

L: No, it would be a good place to die on stage (laughs).

J: Well I hope that doesn't happen, not anytime soon!

L: Well what's the alternative? Die in bed sick and old?

J: What do you consider your worst nightmare and your most glorious moment in the biz.

L: The worst nightmare was Sony no doubt. We got nominated for a Grammy for our first Epic album 1916 and I went to New York for the ceremonies and Tommy Motolla never even came out and said hello.

J: Wow.

L: You would think that being nominated for a Grammy would rise you above the house, and be in the "signed for life" level. But no, not a chance it didn't help. Nothing helps, you just have to go on just plodding through it. I believe its just making us better people or some fucking shit. It's probably because of that we are still around. You know because we are so pissed off which is very good for a band, the force of it. Obviously we went straight to number one with No Sleep Till Hammersmith, another one of those glorious moments.

J: That's interesting. It seemed that Sony/Epic did absolutely nothing for the 1916 or March or Die.

L: We had a hit record on the radio with "I Ain't No Nice Guy" from March Or Die with Ozzy & Slash on it and they actually killed it on purpose because it wasn't their idea. I said to them get it on the AOR playlist, cross it over and they said 'we tried this and we tried that, its dead' and I said you're a fucking liar, you got no fucking time to push it. Forget it we'll do it. So we got our own people to push it. We got the song and album on the radio and it was high on the playlist, so we went to the label and said we got your artist Ozzy on this tune and Slash lets make a video for the song and they (Sony/Epic) say NO! So we made our own video, it wasn't great but it was alright. We took it to MTV and they never played it and it went dead on the radio.

J: That totally sucks.

L: (laughs) Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. One guy from Sony/Epic actually called up some DJ in Kansas City and said 'DON'T PLAY THIS WE DIDN'T GIVE IT TO YOU!'.

J: The original Enigma Records CD's No Sleep At All and The Birthday Party are unavailable once again in the U.S. Any chance they will be reissued here any time soon?

L: I'm sure Castle Communications U.K. is buying them up even as we speak! (laughs). That again is they're stuff.

J: The Bastards CD was only an import here in the U.S, I believe. Every copy I've seen in stores was in the import bins with a $25.00 price tag on it, including the CD I bought. I never saw a domestic CD of that.

L: Yeah, well I know. But we actually did have it released here and the label kept it a secret. ZYX put it out for a while.

J: What is your favorite Motorhead album, and your least favorite.

L: My least favorite is probably On Parole or Iron Fist. My favorite is always the newest one, but I especially think Bastards is a good one too.

J: I hear a rock and rollish link that was started with Bastards that continues on with Snake Bite Love.

L: Yeah, your right about that it's there on Sacrifice too. Actually the last 4 albums are my favorites.

J: Do you care whether or not you get into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?

L: HELL NO! The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame! (Lemmy is laughing full max now!) We stopped there recently. Its in Cleveland and Cleveland has nothing to do with fucking rock 'n' roll. It is the most unrock n' roll place I ever been in. That place is a joke, man. You walk into it and you have a TV showing clips and on each side of it you have a speaker with each one playing a different song (Lemmy's cracking up laughing this time!). I mean you can't listen to either one. You just say 'what is that?!'. Then you have these stupid displays and a souvenir shop upstairs. It's just a joke.

J: One question regarding Hawkwind. You were going to perform with them earlier this year at a gig in New York or around the area. What happened? You were a no show.

L: Yeah. I was gonna play with Hawkwind for that one gig, but Hawkwind wouldn't pay my plane fare so I said 'fuck this'. I heard this story from Dave (Dave Brock Hawkwind leader) before. You know it was like Dave being 15 again (laughing). I was a bit disappointed because I was looking forward to it.

J: U.S. tour dates coming soon?

L: After Europe, We'll probably do the East & Northern coast states. Nothing yet for the South or West. (At the time of this interview U.S. dates were still unconfirmed).

J: I 've seen you guys a few times over the years and one of the best shows for me was at the Ritz in New York City in '84, the No Remorse tour when The Plasmatics opened up.

L: That's a shame about Wendy ain't it. (The Plasmatics former leader Wendy O' Williams committed suicide prior to this interview).

J: Any feelings you want to share?

L: Well, I'm sure she was just in despair and thought she was finished and couldn't stand it, she was really hyper you know and then just took a walk out into the woods with a pistol gun. It's fucking awful.

J: You've been through the ups and downs. What keeps your spirits up so what happened to Wendy doesn't happen to you?

L: Oh I don't even consider suicide as an option you know. I never thought of that and I got a sense of humor which a lot of people don't know. A lot of time when chicks get old they feel they're not wanted and are not appealing anymore. With guys you can get old and still feel good. Cozy Powell just died also, did you hear that?

J: Yes, very sad. He was a nice guy and great drummer. I met him at the Warfield show in S.F. Ca. a few years ago, the same night I met you on the Black Sabbath tour.

L: Our old manager died also that same week. Our original guy from when we first started.

J: Any last words for the fans?

L: Yeah! Remember to always feel as beautiful as I look and to look as great as I feel (Lemmy is laughing hearty now!).

Interview conducted by Jay Siekierski, Editor in Chief
Edited by Joanna Gunderson, Associate Editor


Motorhead - Snake Bite Love / CMC International Records

Well Lemmy & Co. strike back with another venom infected new release. This time Snake Bite Love / CMC International Records proves these guys still call the shots! This is Motorhead's 3rd release for CMC International Records and if this CD does not get its fair share of radio airplay (in the U.S. especially) I give up. Sure the band still ROCKS harder than any, but they're songwriting is stronger with each new album.

This CD is filled with plenty of galvanized HARD ROCK nuggets to fill all the empty spaces in the heads of any who have yet to EMBRACE MOTORHEAD! The nuggets? Well, "Don't Lie To Me" shows the simple couple of chords good time R&R style while "Love For Sale" is a CLASSIC Motorhead R&R ANTHEM. This song ROCKS! "Dead And Gone" is another Motorhead tune that again is unique... Acoustic guitars and then the heavy electric guitar bashing to let you know these guys got feelings and SOUL. This tune is one of the best tunes on the CD. Variety is the spice of life and Motorhead prove it once more.

This CD should sting the sleepers out there and wake them up, while they infect their old time fans with new rich venom. Once again the Lemster & Co. prove they are not to be taken lightly. The CD booklet includes some cool pics of Motorhead hard at work and a GREAT pix disc of the cover art. A MUST! - Jay Siekierski

Motorhead - King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents / King Biscuit Flower Hour Records

What a blast of killer mayhem this new King Biscuit Flower Hour Records CD on Motorheadis! This live 7 song CD was recorded live at L'Amour East, Queens, New York, August 10, '83. I remember this gig when I was living in N.Y. But I missed it and with deep remorseful regret! But now its officially released on CD and I got it!!! WOW! Brian Robertson may not have been every Motorhead fans fave in the git spot... But he did a great job during his Motorhead mileage and this CD proves it! Lemmy & Co. spit out a blazing molten fire of WHITE HEAT that will leave your brains topsy turvey after one listen to this CD! 'The Lemster' ROCKS, 'Philty' ROCKS & 'The Robbo' ROCKS! THIS CD IS DANGEROUS!!!

At the time Motorhead were promoting their new Another Perfect Day album and the tunes on this release include "Back At The Funny Farm," "Tales Of Glory," "Marching Off To War," the classics "Iron Horse/Born To Lose," Another Perfect Day," "Shine" & "I Got Mine" plus a recent 21:14 interview with 'The Lemster' on his reflections of this show, 'Robbo' & Motorheads' illustrious colorful career! Great liner notes and cool pix of Lemmy grinding it down roundout this CD package. A MUST for any Motorheadbanger! - Jay Siekierski