Archives For nwobhm

When being asked to choose between rock and roll and sex, Lemmy Kilmister had no trouble calling it as he saw it (I’m paraphrasing): “Well, the average show lasts about two hours, coitus could be half an hour tops…so to me it’s pretty obvious which is better, you know?” Punctuate with long puffs of cigarette smoke and long pulls at a Jack and Coke for greater effect.

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It was a wedding day whirlwind of 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 joke here about how being married is like being at the funny farm here].

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It was a frigid, gray morning as I drove down a long, empty stretch of the Massachusetts Turnpike. Idle snowflakes fell down around my car as I settled into the home stretch of the drive to Boston. I needed some noise to power me through the last leg.

Looking down at the shotgun seat next to me, I caught sight of Lemmy Kilmister and his two bandmates standing in a desert landscape, bedecked in a combination of black leather and old West cowboy gear. Why not?

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The finest heavy metal record of 1979 opens with the song that many of us Motorheadbangers know as the ultimate live show closer: “Overkill.” A metal classic for the ages, the song “ends” three times, with that screaming, high-bending lead guitar, which is such a key part of its concert appeal. We fans are delightfully attuned to it, some of us having had the pleasure of hearing it for decades.

But imagine what it must have been like to first hear it in 1979: the most popular airplay was all about New Wave, punk rock, and The Wall. Then seemingly out of the black comes this Northern English trio with a wild Snaggletooth for a mascot, with a frontman who’s not quite singing but not quite growling either. Who could have imagined that, like the Snaggletooth charging out of the album cover, that this band would continue on for over 36 years, bulling over everything in its path, and serving as a respected inspiration by every genre from punk rock to death metal to thrash metal to alternative rock?

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“Look, if I see things as being f*cked, I’m gonna tell you they’re f*cked. I can’t sit there any say, ‘Oh, everything’s nice because I’ve got a new Porsche.” – Lemmy

1986 was such a landmark year for metal already that a new Motorhead album must have seemed like extra icing on a dense, heavy cake. But at the time, it was the first studio effort from Lemmy and friends in three years–a long time for them!

Assuming they spent all that time just drinking and writing, the effort really shows: the songs on Orgasmatron are some of the band’s finest…and angriest.

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I wrote this in late 2015, only a few weeks before Lemmy passed away. I have left it unedited since then, as a tribute to memories of a better time when he still walked and rocked this earth. Godspeed.

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Coming up with a truly definitive heavy metal album (that most headbangers can generally agree upon) is a dastardly difficult thing to do. It’s difficult because of the rich variety of sounds falling under the metal umbrella, and also because of metalheads’ passionate loyalty to their favorites.

That being said, in all the discussions I’ve had over “the” metal album, I have found minimal resistance to this album, “The Number of the Beast,” taking the prize. That’s the kind of power this album has.

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Concert Review: Saxon

September 2, 2013 — Leave a comment

“I’m as Irish as they come, but Saxon makes me wish I was British,” reads a Youtube comment for one of Saxon’s videos. For this smashingly British band, the North American tour gave them an excuse to release a tour edition shirt featuring the band logo behind a fully-armored knight carrying an American flag. Naturally, such a shirt became one of my possessions after this show, in which the noble knights of old rode down upon BB King’s Club in New York City.

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