Motorhead – Another Perfect Day (1983)
It was a whirlwind of wedding day activity. My friend Joe needed a song for the ride over to the church that would not only de-stress his bride-to-be, but also one that would psych him up for the most important day of his life. He tosses his iPod over to his best man (who is driving), points at him with a no-nonsense expression and says, “‘Back At the Funny Farm.’ Now. Go.”
[Insert cynical joke here about how being married is like being at the funny farm].
That classic Motorhead song opens up the festivities here on the band’s sixth full-length by setting a bit of a different sound for this lineup: the same driving, aggressive, rhythms; but also multiple guitar solos that crank up the melodic, overdriven shredding. It is a unique, distinctive sound in the Motorhead discography.
Among British audiences especially, Another Perfect Day was a bust at the time–an unfair assessment in hindsight, though it’s mildly understandable why: compared to Fast Eddie Clark’s guitar solos, which are raw, no-frills and seem to be over as soon as they’ve begun, Brian “Robbo” Robertson’s guitars must have come off as self-indulgent wankery!
“I’ve enjoyed all the lineups–but not that one. That was the lowest point in our career,” Lemmy reflected unkindly regarding this record. The recording process was a long and difficult one, and there was a lot of intra-band fighting going on. He even described it as “f*cking torture” and called out Robertson for spending “f*cking seventeen hours doing one guitar track.” No wonder it’s Robbo’s only Motorhead record! He’d be gone from the band after the accompanying tour.
1. Back at the Funny Farm
3. Dancing On Your Grave
4. Rock It
5. One Track Mind
6. Another Perfect Day
7. Marching Off to War
8. I Got Mine
9. Tales of Glory
10. Die You Bastard!
It may have seemed excessive at the time, but all that obsessive hard work on the guitar tracks really paid off. I think about “One Track Mind” and what a quality stretch of a lead guitar that song includes. And the happy licks that lace “Dancing On Your Grave,” lending melodic flair to this otherwise-dark tale of revenge. Robertson had a melodic-bluesy style that truly lends these songs a lot of brightness and character. Yes, he’s a little too busy and flashy at times, but he never steals the show from the trademark Motorhead sound. Road-combat classics like “Marching Off to War” and the triumphant love song “I Got Mine” would still pack a punch no matter who is manning the six strings for the band.
“Shine” was the one single released from this album, and it’s around the middle-tier of these ten tracks in terms of quality. But it is the B-side of that release, included here in the expanded version, that steals the show: a white-hot live take of the blues standard “Hoochie-Coochie Man,” which is a perfect cover song for Motorhead. Also outpacing the good-but-not-great “Shine” are the confident, pissed-off anthems “Rock It” and “Die, You Bastard!”
In the amusing comic illustration that accompanies the CD, the crudely-drawn members of Motorhead watch Brian play and observe, “Ere! E’s a bit musical, innee?”
Referencing this album at Motorhead’s 30th anniversary show, Lemmy told the audience, “We’re gonna do a song now from an album that you all hated.” Hated? I wonder…Another Perfect Day made it to #20 on the 1983 album charts, not too shabby–but “commercial?” Please. None of this precludes the fact that these are some of Motorhead’s most well-written and beloved hits.
Fortunately, all the chaos, tension, and infighting did not negatively impact just how good and enduring these songs are. It takes a lot of character and work ethic to tune out all that non-studio noise and still craft such loud, fun, enduring music. And I can imagine Lemmy laughing his ass off if I told him “Back At the Funny Farm” played such a key role in my friend’s wedding!
Lemmy Kilmister (RIP)
Brian “Robbo” Robertson
Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor (RIP)
Written by Matt P