Not long ago, I watched the Classic Albums disc devoted to
Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades,” which was either their fourth
or fifth album, depending upon how you choose to count
them. This album was released in 1980, and probably is still
their biggest selling album to date.
Motörhead was formed in 1975, after bassist Lemmy Kilmister
was fired from the “Space Rock” band, Hawkwind. “Motorhead”
was actually the title of the last song written by Kilmister, while
he was still a member of Hawkwind. When interviewed on this
disc about the conflict with Hawkwind, Kilmister stated, “I didn’t
do the type of drug(s) that they were doing.”
Motörhead would soon develop a reputation as the meanest,
loudest and fastest playing band in the world. Their style could
be described as a type of Proto-Thrash/Speed Metal, with the
basic chordal underpinnings and aggression found in Punk Rock.
They were one of the first groups formed in the 1970’s that would
later be known as one of the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal”
bands. Lemmy (whose real name is Ian) prefers to label their
music merely as “Rock ‘N Roll.” Regardless of how they were
categorized, it can certainly be said that they were a huge
influence on what came to be known as “Thrash Metal,”
which developed during the 1980’s.
The three-man lineup of Kilmister on bass and vocals,
Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor on drums and Eddie Clark on
guitar comprised what would later be known as the “classic”
Motörhead lineup; although there were brief periods during
which two guitarists were used. These three men are featured
in this documentary playing their respective instruments
individually and as a band in the studio, along with interviews
at the mixing console and elsewhere. The classic songs from
this album, including the title cut, “Ace of Spades,”
“Jailbait,” “The Hammer” and “The Chase Is Better Than the
Catch” are discussed and dissected, with plenty of anecdotes.
Two of the Motörhead road crew, a former Hawkwind band mate,
Dave Brock, Slash from Guns ‘N Roses, and Lars Ulrich of
Metallica also contribute their thoughts and memories.
In addition, there is live footage of the band from the
early days, and even some live footage of Hawkwind from
the early to mid 1970’s! This is one of the things that I really
like about the Classic Albums series. There’s always a
comprehensive overview of the artist(s) at hand, along with
archival footage of the band or the artist’s history from when
they were at their peak of popularity.
This Motörhead DVD also has the longest “bonus features”
section that I’ve experienced thus far in the series, at a
running time of 58 minutes! These features include the
band playing live in the studio, curiously without Lemmy singing.
Taylor and Clark provide further demonstrations on their
respective instruments, and additional lengthy interviews
and recollections are included from the band members,
associates and others in the recording industry. I found it
interesting that Lemmy’s talents as a lyricist were given
attention. This is often apparently overlooked, and it was
nice to see it addressed.
Lemmy Kilmister was portrayed as a man who has truly
“done it all” in terms of living the Rock and Roll lifestyle.
As of the 2004 release date of this documentary, he
seemed to show no signs of slowing down! This is another
fine installment in this series from Eagle Rock Entertainment.