Motörhead: Bad To The Bone
Though he’s been plagued by health problems in recent years, it looks like it’s going to take a lot more than anything on this good Earth to stop rock demigod Lemmy Kilmister in his tracks. We stole a quick few minutes with the legendary Motörhead vocalist (and man of few words) in honour of the British rock greats notching up a whopping 22 studio albums with their latest cut, Bad Magic.
So the new album Bad Magic is almost upon us, and we’re stoked as hell for its release. Mikkey has said recently that this record is probably the most spontaneous Motörhead album to date. What was it about the writing and recording process that makes the LP so unique and spontaneous?
We wrote and recorded in the studio, all of us jamming together, just throwing ideas, testing riffs… We’ll change or try a different approach, and then I write the lyrics.
Alongside 12 of your own tracks, there’s a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil” that made the record. What made you want to cover that song in particular, and how much of a departure is your version from the original?
First of all, the listeners have to decide how far our cover leads us from the original; it’s not on us to say. It was not really our choice. The famous US Wrestler, Triple H, asked us to record this particular song for his documentary. That’s what we did and we liked it a lot, and it ended up on our new album.
Bad Magic is your 22nd album with Motörhead… That’s pretty fucking impressive on its own. It’s a bit of a pleasant surprise every time a new record is announced considering you could have easily wrapped things up 10 years ago. Do you see an end in sight for the band, or will you be shredding on ‘til the very end?
Motörhead is my life – that’s what I’m doing. Why should I end this and what else would I do?
After so many releases, does it ever become a concern that newer albums might be received poorly when compared to the “early stuff” or that people might just stop listening altogether?
No, never. Every album we’ve recorded is substantial – some are better than others, some aren’t. We always write the songs specifically for a record, doing the best at that particular moment that we can, and we don’t look back.
40 years on and Motörhead are still one of the biggest names in rock music. After such a long run, how have you managed to keep the flame alight and avoid fading into obscurity?
Like I said before, that’s what I’m doing – Motörhead is my life.
You were smack-bang in the middle of the hard rock scene when it started to explode, and you’re one of the few remaining who has progressed with it and seen it shift and change over the years. How would you say the scene/culture has evolved from your perspective?
Motörhead did not change, but several of the newer bands seemed to put more focus on the light show than the music.
Your touring schedule for this record is looking massive so far. What is it like touring with Motörhead in 2015? Do things still get as batshit crazy as they did back in the day?
It’s still the same, though maybe with a bit less partying…
The Motörboat line-up for this year is absolute fucking insanity. How did this bill come together?
I have to admit that the agents are calling around and know mostly what will fit and with whom we are pleased to share the stages. I’m very much looking forward to it. I liked the first cruise already, and I hope they don’t run out of beer this time.
It’s been far too long since the last time Motörhead brought the fire to Australia. Are there any plans for a tour Down Under?
Yeah, I would love to, but all touring, concerts are in the hands of our agents. We’ve got so many fond memories from when we toured with Mötley Crüe a couple of years ago. Great crowd, wonderful girls, great audience, devoted fans – we had a wonderful time.
Outside of everything going on with Motörhead at the moment, it was announced just a couple of days back that you have a pretty heavy role in the Gutterdämmerung, billed as “the loudest silent movie on Earth” and starring Iggy Pop and Henry Rollins. What’s it like being part of such a project?
I don’t know yet, I haven’t seen the finished product – I don’t even think it’s done. I did my part but one has to see when it is completed; it seems pretty cool and I liked the idea.
Bad Magic is out now through Warner.