Meister's Metal Mayhem

While in the tattoo chair a few weeks ago, having work done on my in-progress full-sleeve tattoo, which depicts a guitar case with the logos of 30 of my favorite bands and inspirations, I was watching the 1994 movie Airheads, featuring Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi and Brendan Fraser.  It tells of a rock band fighting the corporate music business world to have their song played on air at a radio station that they have taken hostage. A rather fitting film considering the work being done on my arm at the time, I think. This film certainly did not win any awards, but does feature a line that rings through my head every time I listen to Motörhead.

“Lemmy” Kilmister, frontman of the legendary English band and rock icon, has appeared in cameo roles in many films. In a scene from this one, while members of the crowd shout out proclamations of geeky things they had done in their past, Lemmy declares that he was editor of the school newspaper. While that’s a fun scene, the line that rings in my head is delivered by Brendan Fraser’s character, Chazz, while speaking to an undercover cop. He poses the (now-classic) question: “Who’d win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?”  If you don’t already know the answer, check out this YouTube link, Born to Raise Hell, for the official video for “Born To Raise Hell” by Motörhead, featuring Whitfield Crane and Ice-T from the Airheads’ soundtrack.  The answer is at the end of the video (approximately 4:45).

Lemmy, with his trademark mutton chops and prominent moles on his face, coupled with his gravelly vocal style and hard-living approach have all assisted in making him the rock icon that he is today. His singing style, with the microphone in a very high position, angled down towards his face as he looks up to it, is rather the opposite of other singers who like to look down on the mic. Having written and co-written songs with many top rock artists, Lemmy Kilmister, at 67 years of age, is the absolute epitome of rock and roll, the embodiment of everything the genre (and all its subgenres) are about.

Listening to any of the 21 Motörhead albums is sure to incite some headbanging, even some fist pumping or air drumming. The latest, Aftershock, is no exception. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking or much different from anything else that they have displayed throughout their 37-year career and that’s OK by me! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And Motörhead is certainly not broken!

I’m not the only one still reeling from the tremors produced by Motörhead’s latest release, as Aftershock has reached some of the highest chart positions ever for a Motörhead album!  This new 14-track collection, running at over 45 minutes, is an all-out assault that no one delivers better than Motörhead!  The current and constant (since 1992) line-up of founder, bassist and songwriter Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, guitarist Phil “Wizzö” Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee lead off the charge with “Heartbreaker,” directly followed by “Coup de Grace,” before we get into a more blues-influenced number with “Lost Woman Blues.”  “End of Time” thunders up the ante once again through “Do You Believe?” and “Death Machine” into the slower, bluesy pace of “Dust and Glass.” Throwing it into full throttle again is “Going to Mexico,” taking the listener to the awesome and comical “Silence When You Speak to Me.”  Continuing the ride is “Crying Shame,” which precedes the rather “Ace of Spades”-ish “Queen of the Damned.”  “Knife” is another standout cut. If it’s possible to choose any from this stellar collection, “Keep Your Powder Dry” is another tough choice for best on the album.  In the closing position, we find “Paralysed,” another blisteringly fast-paced rocker to leave you shaking from the tremors that are Aftershock.

With some recent health scares, it’s nice to see that Motörhead and Lemmy are indeed alive and well!  Although he recently announced the postponement of the European tour (in a statement on the official Motörhead website), the dates have already been rescheduled and he promises to be ready to rock like only Motörhead can, real soon.  Hey Lemmy, Toronto is nice too!


The Meister





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