heavy metal

Motorhead Bio

Band members
Lemmy Kilminster - vocals
Phil Cambell - guitar
Mikkey Dee - drums


1975: After being fired from Hawkwind, Lemmy Kilmister decides to form a band called bastard. When his manager informs him that a band by that name will never get a slot on "Top of the Pops," he changes it to Motorhead. The lineup consists of Lemmy on bass and on vocals, Larry Wallace on guitar and Lucas Fox on drums. The band hits the studio by the end of the year, and during the recording sessions, Lucas is replaced by Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor.

1976: Motorhead's then-label doesn't like the recordings (the company releases them however, as "On Parole" three years later when the group starts achieving success). The guys decide a second guitar player is in order, so they ask "Fast" Eddie Clarke to try out. For reasons still unknown, Larry Wallace quits during the audition. Fast Eddie stays, however, thus completing the trio that sees Motorhead through its ground breaking early years. The band gigs, records, and finds a new manager (or two).

1977: Motorhead (Chiswick) is the band's first album to see the light of day. The guys' fan base builds and they start earning a reputation for being very loud, raw, dirty and all those good things heavy rock n' roll should be.

1978: Motorhead's manager pulls them out of the Chiswick deal. Yet another manager gets them a contract with Bronze Records. Before making their own album, they record a few tracks with the Damned, including a cover of the Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz." At the end of the year, Motorhead enters the studio with producer Jimmy Miller. Life is looking much better.

1979: The resulting album, "Overkill," is an immediate classic and hits the charts very strongly. The band tours all over England and lands in jail after some playful destruction at a Finnish festival. Without taking a breather, Motorhead goes back into the studio with Miller, this time producing "Bomber," which charts even higher than "Overkill." More touring and insanity ensues.

1980: After touring Europe and appearing on "Top of the Pops" for the umpteenth time, the band teams up with Vic Maile for perhaps their best known studio album, "Ace of Spades." The record peaks at number 4 in the charts. The accident-prone Philthy ends the year by breaking his neck while engaging in a bit of horseplay with a large Irish fan.

1981: While waiting for Philthy to heal, Lemmy and Eddie team up with the members of Girlschool and producer Maile. The result is "The Saint Valentines Day Massacre" EP, which includes the hit single, "Please Don't Touch." After the two groups perform on "Top of the Pops" as Headgirl, Motorhead hits the road and makes its first trek to the States as a special guest on Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard of Oz tour. While in the U.S., "No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith;" perhaps one of the greatest live albums ever - is released. It instantly charts in at Number One.

1982: The guys begin the year by recording "Iron Fist," which they produce themselves. The record sells well and they return to their natural habitat - the road. There is trouble in paradise, however, and Fast Eddie leaves the band during their second U.S. tour, not long after Lemmy records the Tammy Wynette song, "Stand By Your Man" with Wendy O. Williams. To replace him, Motorhead enlists Brian "Robbo" Robertson from Thin Lizzy. They conquer Japan and re-conquer Europe.

1983: The band records "Another Perfect Day," their first and only album with Robbo. The guitarist's strange penchant for shorts and ballet shoes, and his refusal to play Motorhead's most popular songs, does not sit well with the fans. He leaves the band near the end of the year.

1984: Motorhead finds not one, but two guitarists - Phil Campbell and Wurzel. Unfortunately, they lose Philthy. He's replaced by Saxon's Pete Gill. They break new ground in Australia and New Zealand, but they also part ways with their record label, Bronze. "No Remorse" - a "greatest hits" package with four new tracks is their last album for the company.

1985: Because of legal hassles with Bronze, Motorhead is not able to make a new album, so the band spends its tenth year of existence touring and appearing on various radio and TV shows in England, Scandinavia and America.

1986: The legal trouble with Bronze now resolved, the guys hit the studio with Bill Laswell for the GWR label and record the mighty "Orgasmatron." Motorhead is back in action and massive touring ensues, including a powerful show at the Monsters of Rock in Castle Donnington.

1987: Motorhead performs in "Eat the Rich," a black comedy by the makers of the English TV show "The Young Ones." Lemmy has a featured role in the movie, and Motorhead also records the soundtrack album. Just before the filming starts, Pete Gill leaves the band and Philthy returns. They record an album with a title that says it all, "Rock N' Roll."

1988: The guys barrel on as road dogs, beginning with America as special guests for Alice Cooper. Another live album, "No Sleep At All," is released. Lemmy somehow finds the time to co-write a song, "Can't Catch Me" with Lita Ford for her album, "Lita." He also writes lyrics for "Head Over Heels," a song by his old friends, Girlschool. He also appears in "The Decline of the Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years." The band finishes up the year with another American tour - Slayer opens.

1989: The boys break new ground, playing in Brazil and Yugoslavia, along with many other old, familiar countries. Lemmy sings and plays bass with Nina Hagen on her self - title LP. There is no new Motorhead studio album this year because of litigation with GWR.

1990: The legal trouble with GWR is finally resolved, and Motorhead signs its first full-on major label record deal with WTG/Sony. Lemmy relocates to West Hollywood, just a couple of blocks from the Rainbow. The band obtains new management, and enters the studio for another crushing LP.

1991: "1916" is released and it's Motorhead's best album in years. The band goes through a couple more managers and plays the "Operation Rock N' Roll" tour with Judas Priest and Alice Cooper. A review calls our boys "the tangy mustard in an otherwise bland noise sandwich." An appearance on The Tonight Show adds to their already rock-solid credibility. Lemmy writes lyrics for four songs on Ozzy Osbourne's "No More Tears" album.

1992: "1916" is nominated for a Grammy and Lemmy attends the festivities. When the band goes into the studio to record "March or Die," they change drummers. Philthy is out and Mikkey Dee comes in. The guys play some dates with a couple of bands they've influenced - Metallica and Guns N' Roses, on their stadium tour.

1993: Inexplicably, Motorhead is dropped by WTG, which goes belly up not long after. Amidst much anger and frustration, the band records "Bastards" on their own. They work out a deal with ZYX for distribution, but this great album does not hit the stores like it should. Nevertheless, it gets more radio play than either "1916" or "March Or Die."

1994: Tours for the year include a trek with Black Sabbath and a concert in Argentina, where Motorhead co-headlines with the Ramones for 45,000 fans. They record a version of "Born To Raise Hell" with Ice-T and Ugly Kid Joe's Whitfield Crane for the movie Airheads. Although the band is temporarily without an American deal, they hit the studio once again, and the result is the fearsome "Sacrifice."

1995:This banner year, Motorhead's 20th anniversary, sees changes and celebrations. Wurzel leaves the band at the end of the making of "Sacrifice." Motorhead is a three-piece once again and their shows are stronger than ever. CMC signs the guys and releases "Sacrifice State Side." There is a historic party at year's end, marking two decades of Motor-mania and Lemmy's 50th birthday. Metallica flies down especially for the tribute at the Whisky. The Bay-Area behemoths call themselves "The Lemmy's" (and dress the part!) and rip through a set of Motorhead's greatest songs.

1996: After the usual world-wide trek, the group settle back into the studio once again to create yet another slab of sheer volume and power for CMC. The past twenty-one years have contained glorious highs and dastardly lows, but absolutely nothing can stop Motorhead

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