Tag Archives: Ace Of Spades

Rocks In The Attic #450: Motörhead – ‘Bomber’ (1979)

RITA#450.jpgYesterday, while out shopping with my parents and my eldest daughter, I heard the news that I never expected – Lemmy was no more, the King was dead. Only a couple of weeks after the death of drummer “Philthy Animal” Taylor too. As indestructible as that other survivor Keith Richards, nobody expected Lemmy to die. He’s made of stronger stuff than us mere mortals surely?

I used to listen to a lot more Motörhead than I do today. I would listen to the Ace Of Spades album – their masterpiece – pretty much on repeat in my early teens, with No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith filling in the blanks. Tastes change though, and melody became more important than heaviness. That’s probably why Ace Of Spades was such a breakthrough – the songs are there, to the extent that it’s almost a pop album. You can hear that aspect of the band throughout their career – even on earlier albums such as Bomber. They could always play, and could write great songs, it’s just that they were in the right place at the right time with Ace Of Spades. It helped that America noticed too.

What now? Ozzy is still with us, tweeting “Lost one of my best friends, Lemmy, today. He will be sadly missed. He was a warrior and a legend. I will see you on the other side.” And of course Keith is still upright. Alice Cooper is still scaring people on stage. Lemmy was different though. As much as I love the likes of Ozzy, Keith and Alice, at night they go home to their plush mansions, and travel everywhere by private jet. Lemmy seemed to be the real deal – perhaps because Ace Of Spades was their only crossover success – and it was such a long time ago (thirty five years ago!), he’s never had the kind of acceptance those other rock n’ rollers have. No private jet for Lemmy – you’d be more likely to bump into him on the local bus.

One thing I saw Lemmy do creeped into my own guitar playing on stage. In 1994, Motörhead released a single to promote the movie Airheads. The song – Born To Raise Hell – was a retread of an older song that Lemmy had written for the German band Skew Siskin. The music video for the song, accompanied by clips of the film, featured footage of Motörhead playing the song live on stage – and just as it kicked off, one thing that Lemmy did always stayed with me. Following his mantra that everything should be played LOUD, he walked over to his bass amp and ran his hand over the top of his volume and gain controls from left to right, essentially turning everything up to maximum. I used to do this from time to time, much to the chagrin of sound engineers. God bless Lemmy.

RITA#450a
Sean Murphy, one of the members of my vinyl group on Facebook said it best: “Woke up to the news, another of our finest gone. R.I.P. It’s only 7:15am but the neighbours shall feel my grief.”

Hit: Bomber

Hidden Gem: Lawman

Rocks In The Attic #227: Motörhead – ‘Ace Of Spades’ (1980)

RITA#227Lemmy Kilmister sings with so much conviction that a Spinal Tap-esque lyric like ‘Love Me Like A Reptile, I’m gonna sink my fangs in you’ goes by without you even noticing. In the next song, Shoot You In The Back – a song with imagery about cowboys and the like – Lemmy has little faith that the average Motörhead fan will understand the change in direction, so he sets the scene by shouting ‘Western Movies!’ after the opening guitar riff.

Subtlety, tact and discretion may not be Motörhead’s best qualities, but if you want frantic heavy rock, there’s hardly a better band around. With their incredibly fast tempos you can understand why the punks in the late ‘70s turned their safety-pinned noses up at most of the rock bands of the day, but gave Motörhead their collective blessing.

This is yet another one of my Dad’s records, and it’s always been a favourite on my turntable throughout the years. I’ve heard a couple of other Motörhead records, but they’ve always lacked the direction and appeal of Ace Of Spades.

Thanks to a very accessible title track as lead single, this record marks the band’s highest achievement in the album charts (reaching #4 in the UK) – and in the song Ace Of Spades alone, you can hear the undeniable influence that Motörhead had on the burgeoning thrash metal scene.

Hit: Ace Of Spades

Hidden Gem: Love Me Like A Reptile