by David Necro
Photos by: David Necro
Motorhead is a musical ensemble of the highest caliber. For almost 30 years
now, they have kept the flame burning bright for rock and roll. Their music
is at once very close to the roots of rock and roll, but taking it into
another realm by making something louder and larger than life. This is no
mere garage band, this is 1 of the most powerful and emotional bands that
ever was and quite possibly ever will be. All of this is due to the leader
and let's face it, rock icon Lemmy Kilmister's determination and
perseverance. Not just that, he has always surrounded himself with a solid
supporting cast, the most recent cohorts (and actually long-time members)
Phil Campbell (guitar) and Mikkey Dee (drums) As much as Lemmy is an icon,
he is an iconoclast. Simply put, he lets you know about all of the lies,
deceit, and bullshit in the world. He had the punk attitude before the word
was really even used. He's also considered something of a musical godfather
in the metal world as well. Matter of fact, when you take into account songs
such as "Nightmare: The Dreamtime," "Orgasmatron," "Dancing On Your Grave,"
and 1 of my personal favorites, "Killed By Death," you have to wonder why
more Goth or Gothic Rock artists aren't listening in. Some of the veteran
artists associated with that genre have including Andrew Eldritch (Sisters
Of Mercy), Glenn Danzig, and The Damned.
Nevertheless, there are few bands that everyone from Guns N' Roses to Slayer
to Nashville Pussy can say inspired and influenced them. In all of the
different genres and the fans thereof, somehow Motorhead bring all of these
disparate groups together. Which offers this interesting challenge, to
realize that however different we may be, all of us have the same basic
emotions and wishes in life. There is a universal message with this band,
that Lemmy has presented us. That is, to believe in and think for yourself.
Also, live life to the fullest, and never give up your dreams. This is
dangerous however, to those that wish to control us and make us believe that
we shouldn't be respectful to each other. The old divide and conquer, that
old gag. Not coincidentally, Motorhead basically put forth the classic and
timeless rock and roll vibe of free will and that it's us vs. them. Last but
not least, life's too short, so make the most of it.
None of this would mean anything if Motorhead weren't dedicated to the
music. They are. There are very few artists that have a more consistent
catalog than this band. And they give back to the fans with long, extensive
tours that may have not broken all of the attendance records, but have made a
lasting impression. Again, it goes back to this band believing in what they
do, and doing a damn good job of it. Plus, refusing to make any compromises.
But, what's really appealing about Motorhead is they never fail to provide a
raucous and wild atmosphere suitable for having a real cool time. And of
course, it's loud enough to wake the dead. You know, I wouldn't be here if
it wasn't for them, and I'm glad they woke me up...
David Necro: Regarding your latest album, ‘Inferno,' how do you feel this fits in with the
rest of the Motorhead catalog?
Phil Campbell: I think it's just another fine Motorhead album. It's very
heavy; we do the best we can every time on every album, and I don't know what
to say about it really, I think it's great.
Mikkey Dee: I think we do the worst every fuckin' time. We try to do the
D. Necro: So actually it's worse than the other ones, it's the worst 1
Mikkey Dee: You think so?
D. Necro: No, I don't know, that's what you said...
Mikkey Dee: No, no, I think we're trying to get it as crappy as we can.
Phil Campbell: He is...
Mikkey Dee: I am.
Phil Campbell: We sell the same amount of albums, it don't fucking matter.
We could kick out real crap and it probably will sell the same. It's
absolutely amazing but we would sell exactly the same amount.
D. Necro: Do you feel the band is the same as it was before?
Lemmy Kilmister: No, it's older...
D. Necro: Have you changed? Have you changed in any way?
Lemmy Kilmister: Well, there are the breast implants. Phil had his head
removed; he replaced it with a gherkin.
Phil C: I got a penis reduction.
D. Necro: Were there difficulties going from a 4 piece to a 3 piece?
Lemmy K: No, I couldn't stand in the middle of the stage anyway.
Phil C: No, I said first to try it as a 3 piece, and I said, "Believe me if
it doesn't work out I'll be the first 1 to say it." I guess someone else
said it as well but everyone says it's great, I think it's a lot better.
D. Necro: What does Motorhead mean to you? You've been in the band for quite
Phil C: It takes up 90 percent of my life, it means a lot to me.
D. Necro: Is that it?
Phil C: Yeah, it's what I do...
D. Necro: How much input do you have in the songwriting?
Phil C: We all have lots of input. We just come up with ideas, and each 1 of
us have about a third just the same.
D. Necro: How does a Motorhead song begin? What is the genesis of it?
Phil C: A good fight.
Mikkey Dee: Say this crappy riff and then how can we fuck it up?
Phil C: It would either be a riff or some chord sequence, or it would be
some lyrics that Lem has and then we come up with the chord sequence.
Lemmy K: Mostly the riff though and the groove...
Phil C: Yeah, or occasionally that it's a very good drum part that went
Lemmy K: But, mostly it's these 2 showing off and then I put words over it.
D. Necro: Would you say you're the loudest band in the world?
Phil C: Not particularly, no. But, we are loud.
Mikkey Dee: We can't afford it anymore, that's all. We're not that stupid.
You could bring whatever you want in equipment, right? It's just gonna cost
you even more, you know what I mean?
Phil C: The guys that have been playing are basically good enough. We've
never tried to be the loudest band, we just like playing loud.
Mikkey Dee: It's really not that hard to be the loudest band.
D. Necro: But, you are 1 of the loudest, if not the.
Mikkey: On stage, I guess we are.
Phil C: Yeah, we're sure we're 1 of the loudest. We just like to play our
music loud, as it should be.
Mikkey: If we could have it the way we want it, it's loud. There's no limit
to what the fuck you could put up there, it's gonna cost your ass, really.
It is loud when we play, don't get me wrong. But, we don't struggle after
the title to be the loudest band. Sometimes loud is bad, when it's too loud
it's too fuckin' loud. We want to be loud, it has to be loud, but you gotta
hear the music.
D. Necro: What do you think of the current crop of newer bands?
Phil C: Crop or crap?
D. Necro: Crop, crap, whatever...
Mikkey: Some of the bands are real good, some are not so good.
Phil C: Never heard of them...
D. Necro: Really. You don't care to?
Mikkey: I haven't listened to them, I guess. I just don't know who most of
Phil C: If music comes our way we like to check it out.
D. Necro: Do you think a lot of these newer bands rip you guys off?
Phil C: I don't know, we don't really listen to them.
Mikkey: I think they're influenced by it, that's about it. I mean I heard, I
don't remember what they were called, they said; "oh man, you guys have been
the biggest influence." I figured this is gonna be a complete rip-off, you
know? I couldn't hear the slightest fuckin' Motorhead influence in it,
D. Necro: How would you describe the Motorhead music as?
Phil C: Motorhead music.
D. Necro: That's it? No further description?
Phil C: It's loud, heavy rock music.
D. Necro: Is that basically it?
Phil C: Yeah.
Mikkey: After 29 years, you know...
D. Necro: But, the roots of it are like old rock n' roll and blues. Stuff
Phil C: Some of it is rock n' roll roots. Some of it has got it's roots
D. Necro: Which songs do you enjoy playing the most onstage out of the
entire catalog? The newer stuff or the older stuff?
Phil C: The shortest ones.
Mikkey: The ones that are done the quickest.
Phil C: He hates playing "Going to Brazil"
Mikkey: I fuckin' hate that song so bad.
Phil C: I love it.
Mikkey: They love it...I would say the set we have now, our headline sets
are an hour and 45. That includes I would say 25 songs. I think it's pretty
much a split 50/50 from the old classics to what I consider the newer stuff
that's maybe from '1916' and up, say the last 13 years. So, I think it's a
good split; some songs are boring to play, other songs are great.
D. Necro: When Philthy (Taylor, original Motorhead drummer) left...did you
fire him or did he leave? What's the story on that?
Phil C: he sort of like pushed over the edge.
D. Necro: So, how did Mikkey fit in at first? Was it hard or easy?
Mikkey: I've known these guys; I toured with them in '86...
Phil C: We knew each other, no problem at all. It was like when Wurzel left,
it was ultimately his problem.
D. Necro: But you have a different drumming style than Philthy. Philthy more
or less played that some old shuffle beat, and you're a maniac on the double
bass. So, it's a little different.
Phil C: It would be the 16ths. He (Philthy) could only count up to 16, but
couldn't count up to 8.
D. Necro: The you come up with songs like "Burner," and "Sacrifice," which
are real heavy, real fast, heavy bass drum songs. So that actually changed
the sound of the band, your drumming, Mikkey. Do you feel the same way?
Mikkey: Yeah, I play Sonor and Paiste and Philthy played fuckin' DW and
Phil C: Mikkey would be in the studio helping to arrange songs, while with
Philthy; the difference would be that he would be out washing his car. But,
Philthy was good when he was good, but he wasn't so good.
D. Necro: What's going on with him? Have you talked to him lately?
Lemmy K: Yeah, now and again.
D. Necro: Are you mad at him?
Lemmy K: No, not anymore.
Phil C: He was...
D. Necro: Some years ago, I read (in 'RIP Magazine') that you had seen him
at the 'Cat & The Fiddle' (in Hollywood) and he blew you off, something to
Phil C: Yeah, that was me, twice.
D. Necro: Oh, twice?
Phil C: Yeah.
D. Necro: He would not have a word with you...
Mikkey: He wasn't very happy, that's for sure...
Phil C: No. Lem met him at a funeral several years ago and he (Philthy)
started talking to Lem then, he's spoken a few words since, so good luck to
the guy, he's a nice guy.
D. Necro: Would Fast Eddie Clarke ever rejoin the band?
Phil C: Well, he played with us in London (at the 25th anniversary show)
Nobody recognized him, but Eddie's good as gold; yeah, he still is.
Mikkey: He cut all his hair off...
D. Necro: You've been in the band longer than he was.
Phil C: Yeah, more than twice as long.
D. Necro: Some people still think of him as THE Motorhead guitarist.
Phil C: Not very credible people.
D. Necro: some people who say that are maybe partial towards the older
Phil C: Whatever...
D. Necro: It doesn't bother you?
Phil C: No.
D. Necro: You have better things to worry about, like making records and
Phil C: Yeah, keep it going, keep everything going.
D. Necro: How do you like life on the road?
Phil C: It's a lot of fun, usually. WE kick ass every night, we just feel
like 3 Musketeers compared to other bands, we're pretty scruffy ourselves.
D. Necro: What are some of the more strange, bizarre experiences you've had
while on the road?
Lemmy K: I think Phil fucking above a bag of popcorn with butter.
Phil C: Me and Mikkey, we ended up on a waterbed with each other 1 time.
D. Necro: Have you seen anything weird out there, or strange? Like on the
Lemmy K: Weird?
D. Necro: Like a werewolf or something...
Phil C: Our bus driver's weird.
Lemmy K: Werewolf? It's weirder when you say, verevolf...
D. Necro: What bands would you like to tour with in the future?
Lemmy K: It don't bother me. Shot and blind me through all of that...
Phil C: Destiny's Child
D. Necro: NSync?
Lemmy K: Raquel Welch.
Phil C: I'd like to tour with both Sophia Lorens, left and right. You caught
us in 1 of those moods today, Dave.
D. Necro: Yeah...sarcastic!
Lemmy K: When I'm in the room...
Phil C: Yeah, sarcasm is our middle name...
D. Necro: Who is your audience? Describe who they are.
Mikkey: Who is the audience? The audience is young, old, white, black, tall,
short, heavy, skinny, different nationalities.
Phil C: We have grandfathers bringing their grandson to shows, it's great.
We had a vicar 1 time bringing his grandson to the show.
D. Necro: You have the most diverse audience, true?
Mikkey: I think we do, actually.
Phil C: That's good, just as long as it's for everyone.
Lemmy K: We're all very diverse people.
D. Necro: how long will you be doing this?
Lemmy K: 'Til I stop.
Phil C: It's like asking someone how long you're gonna take when you have
sex with your girlfriend next time. You don't know how long it's gonna be!
Lemmy K: When you gonna die?
D. Necro: So, you don't know what the future holds, and you could care less,
Lemmy: Yes, I can handle it.
Mikkey: We take pretty much a month at a time.
Phil C: we've got plenty of steam in the old dog yet.
Mikkey: When we go onstage there is something special, you know what I mean?
I can't describe it really...
Phil C: We do what we do.
Mikkey: It's just Motorhead, you know. So, you can't really compare us to a
lot of these bands, which a lot of kids do today. It's like, "well, they are
my favorite band," and they are on their first album. The second album comes
out and they sound completely different. Then, they're not liked anymore by
that clan. You know, you really can't compare us. If you go to see
Motorhead, you pretty much know what you're gonna get; there's no real
surprises. Either the sound is good or the sound is bad, or we pretty much
play the same every fuckin' night. It ain't that hard really, you know. The
ones that go and see us, they know what the deal is. But, if you go out and
see these newer bands today, and then you see them next year, they might
sound completely different.
D. Necro: Do you think you could wipe the mat with these newer bands?
Mikkey: No, not at all. I mean they're great fuckin' musicians. System of a
Down is a great band, they kick ass, good musicians. They're still in the
process, you know what I mean? What I see out there sounds really good. If
they stick to their fucking guns, they're gonna be great. But, again, you
can't really compare us to these newer bands at all.
D. Necro: Totally different thing, you think?
Mikkey: Oh, absolutely.
D. Necro: Why do you think that is?
Mikkey: Well, to start with, almost 30 years of difference. Experience, and
how many tours? We've been touring all our lives and this is maybe the
second or third tour for them.
Phil C: They think this is the big time for them, they think this is
amazing. It would be just another fucking tour for us.
D. Necro: What do you think of this new style of Metal? It's called the
Nu-Metal, or whatever. No guitar solos, real stripped down, they use rap in
there. What do you think of that? Putting in rap and industrial into Metal?
Mikkey: Some of it is good, some of it not.
Phil C: I don't know, it's not my particular cup of tea, but everyone is
entitled to their own opinion.
D. Necro: You actually flirted with electronica a bit on the 'Orgasmatron'
Phil C: That was Bill Laswell doing all his stuff to it.
D. Necro: What do you think of it? Do you think that record is influential looking back?
Phil C: I think the songs are great on there, but uh, unfortunately we let Bill mix the album while we were away taking a break. We were very disappointed with the 'Orgasmatron' album. He did try different things.
D. Necro: Really. A lot of my colleagues in the media like it though.
Phil C: Yeah, I know that. I can't see why, but they do. It would have been
so much better because I've got the rough mixes at home. I know how much
better it was.
D. Necro: What is you favorite Motorhead album?
Phil C: 'Bastards'
D. Necro: Why would that be?
Phil C: I know the effort that everyone put into that and the production,
the playing, the songs, the feeling, the whole attitude going into that
album to make it the very, very, fuckin' best thing that we could, and it
D. Necro: Yeah, it was also pretty successful as well.
Phil C: It wasn't released here (USA) properly.
D. Necro: Correction, the "Born To Raise Hell" single did well; the remake
with Whitfield Crane and Ice-T.
Phil C: Yeah.
D. Necro: What is your most memorable experience with this band thus far?
Mikkey: I forget them after they're done.
Phil C: We played to 65,000 people in Argentina, that was good. We played to
80,000 in Seattle, played for 12 people in Austrailia, that was real.
D. Necro: Nothing in Germany?
Phil C: Oh yeah, lots of good shows in Germany.
Mikkey: There's a lot of stuff that goes on that you can't help to forget
Phil C: We do so many concerts. We do about, I don't know, 220, 240 shows
every year. I worked it out that I've done about 7000 Motorhead shows.
D. Necro: How does that tax the system? The physical and the mental? Are you
used to it?
Phil C: Yeah, we know what's good for us and what's bad for us, and we keep
D. Necro: Do you think there is an image to Motorhead that people would
Phil C: There is no image...
D. Necro: Not like rebels or pirates, or something like that?
Phil C: We pretty much just go on and beat the shit out of our instruments.
Mikkey: It might sound sloppy but that's Motorhead. It is what it is. We
haven't sold out to any fuckin' image.
D. Necro: A lot of rebellious people like the band though...
Mikkey: Yeah, but that's because we stick to what we are.
Phil C: We don't pander to the trends.
Mikkey: We don't fuckin' turn around just because the wind is blowing from
Phil C: We write our music for us, what we like. We don't write it for the
fans, we write what we think is good music. Hopefully, people will like what
we come up with.
D. Necro: Are you disappointed at all that even though the band is
international and worldwide, yet you don't have the popularity of say, Ozzy
Osbourne. Does that bother you at all?
Phil C: Ozzy's worked his ass off to get where he is. Well, we could do with
a few more record sales so promoters would take a bit more notice of us at
times. But, we're pretty happy with our luck.
Mikkey: WE could sell out and become a lot more popular.
Phil C: It would last about 2 years.
Mikkey: But that is not the nature of Motorhead, you know. For instance, a
lot of bands that are pretty successful, and I know this for a fact...I
won't mention any names here but, record companies pretty much decide every
little thing what they're gonna release and so on and so on. It's a careful
process before they release a record. Which is right, probably for those
guys. But I heard, I won't mention the band either, but it's a band you
wouldn't believe anyway; I was in the office when they delivered their
album, and it got thrown in a million pieces. So, they had to go back and
rewrite exactly pretty much what the management and the record company
decided. Sure, these guys are huge, bigger than life, but they're not
themselves, that's not their music.
Phil C: We don't let any record company in our studio until the album is
finally mixed, that's the difference.
Mikkey: No, not at all. Suggestions is never something wrong, right? We take
critics and they suggest stuff for us; we take that under consideration but
it's not that we follow it in any fuckin' way. I mean we get stuff like
"please write a couple of radio songs that we can work here in America."
Sure, if any of the songs turn out that way, great. But, we're not gonna sit
down and fuckin' write songs for the radio in America just to sell a 100,000
records more. That’s just not gonna be the case. If it happened to be such a
song, great. If not, fuck off, it don't matter. That's the difference
between a lot of what you're saying a band like Ozzy (does); great songs,
great everything, but they might have turned and twisted a little bit after.
D. Necro: So, a little bit of bending, maybe?
Phil C: Yeah, but we don't do that.
Mikkey: Oh, all bands do basically, everyone does that except us.
Phil C: We don't bend.
Mikkey: We don't fuckin' bend at all. I've got a stiffy all day long, it
Phil C: We get other people to bend instead.
D. Necro: Are you guys still at war with W.A.S.P?
Phil C: W.A.S.P. are great, it's just Blackie.
D. Necro: Oh, Blackie is...
Phil C: A cunt.
D. Necro: You haven't been crazy about Blackie for several years now...
Phil C: No, not at all, no
D. Necro: He's kind of a...
Phil C: Asshole. He's about as dangerous in rock music as Fozzie Bear. The
rest of the guys are great.
D. Necro: what do you think this band means to the fans?
Phil C: A good time, I guess.
D. Necro: Anything other than that? Has anyone come up to you and told you
that you saved their lives, this sort of thing?
Phil C: yeah, we do, that's we've changed their lives and stuff like that.
They say sometimes that they had a down period in their life, and we helped
them to get through.
D. Necro: So how does that make you feel? Good, indifferent?
Phil C: Yeah, it's a nice feeling, but 5 minutes later it's forgotten about.
We got 1 kid out of a coma years ago. His mother flew up from Australia to
our office in London. We made a tape of some of our music and our voices
saying, "Come on, wake up, wake up." A few months later, she flew back over
to London and told us we got him over the coma. So, that was pretty good.
Mikkey: A girl once came up to me and said she was in a car crash and was in
a hospital almost a whole year. Her mom died in that same crash, and some
friend or something. She survived it, she was a guitar player, and he
friends brought some King Diamond records. This was not too long ago; I was
playing in Motorhead, not King Diamond. But, they brought King Diamond
records for her to listen to; I mean all kinds of shit. She got so stunned
over the drums on there and she was so taken on it. So, all she wanted to do
was get well, and she now plays drums. They were getting a drum kit while
she was in the hospital to make her recover, and she was trying to wake up.
She said that was the only drug she had, to play fucking drums like she
heard on the King Diamond records. So, that's great to hear, stuff like
that. I also had another girl come up to me in Germany, and she said, "you
fuckin' bastard, you fucked me last year, and now you don't wanna see me!"
For more on Motorhead, visit: http://www.imotorhead.com
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