Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Music that puts hair on your chest, Vol. 1: Motorhead

During the course of my life, I have listened to hundreds of different artists spanning a plethora of styles. There are a select few that are so powerful that listening to them can actually make you manlier. This post is dedicated to one such band: Motorhead.

If Led Zeppelin is considered the blues on steroiids, Motorhead is the blues on speed and coke. Often considered to be a progenitor of the thrash movement, Motorhead is actually a blues band that plays really fuckin’ loud and really fuckin’ fast. From their inception with their self-titled 1976 album to this year’s The World is Yours Motorhead has been churning out R&B (old school Little Richard/Chuck Berry style) from Hell. Every one to three years, Lemmy and the gang, be it the “classic” line-up from the late 70s or the incarnation of the band that has stood for the past twenty years, can be counted on to release a new album that stays true to its roots and doesn’t throw the listener for a fucked up curveball with pan flutes or something lame.

While most people correctly consider Motorhead’s best material to have been released between 1978 and 1982 with the classic line-up of Lemmy on bass and lead vocals; Philthy Animal Taylor on drums; and “Fast” Eddie Clarke on guitar, it isn’t like the band just dropped off and made shit after that. The current roster of Lemmy, Mikkey Dee on drums, and Phil Campbell on guitar has been together for nearly twenty years and still make music that crushes souls. From the dawn of the band to now, a Motorhead song can be counted on to have the following: powerhouse four on the floor drumming, a buzzsaw guitar riff and tasty solo, a punishing bass line, and Lemmy’s distinct growl. Motorhead’s music should be considered a constant alongside life, death, and taxes.

Really, it can all be defined with this one quote from Lemmy: We want to be the band that if we moved in next door to you, your lawn would die. A manly proclamation from the second manliest dude alive (behind Vlad Putin). If you are doubting the sheer power of Mr. Kilmeister, you obviously have never heard his music, seen his ridiculously awesome mustache/sideburn combo, read his autobiography White Line Fever, or seen the documentary about him. The man needs to be seen and heard to be believed; he makes Ozzy Osbourne look like a milquetoast.

While the bulk of the Motorhead catalog can be described as at least “good,” there are three essential albums for anyone who wants to know and love the band: Overkill, Ace of Spades, and No Sleep Til Hammersmith. Rather than got bogged down in the minutiae of reviewing them, just trust me that they are savage rock journeys into sex, drugs, and mayhem that should be heard. As my brother would say, “It would make your balls grow balls.”

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