In its seventeen year existence, Motorhead have proved that they are definitely a genuine raw rock & roll institution. Formed in 1975 by Ian (Lemmy) Kilmister, (after being fired from late '60's psychedelic group Hawkwind) the original Motorhead consisted of two ex-Pink Faries men, Larry Wallis and Lucus Fox, and Lemmy. Wallis and Fox were soon replaced by the classic line-up of "Fast" Eddie Clark (guitar) and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor (drums). This line-up produced an excellent string of "nasty" rock & roll classics; including "Ace of Spades," "Overkill," "Bomber," and "No Sleep Til Hammersmith," among others. Motorhead proved to be a vital force inspiring countless bands over the years; punk, metal and thrash alike. In '82, Clark left the fold to briefly be replaced by ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson, for one L.P. "Another Perfect Day."
By 1984, twin guitar slashers Mick "Wurzel" Burston and Phil "Zoom" Campbell joined and remain with the band to this day. While "Philthy Animal" quit once before (he was replaced by ex-Saxon drummer Pete Gill who played on 4 tracks of the "No Remorse" compilation and the classic "Orgasmatron") he rejoined for the "Rock & Roll" album only to quit again after the critically acclaimed WTG Records album "1916." Though the new album "March or Die" features the drumming of legendary skins basher Tommy Aldridge, filling the drum seat now is ex-King Diamond drummer Mikkey Dee.
Motorhead's sound can be described as the MC-5 meets Little Richard meets The Damned. Imagine Little Richard possessed singing through a vox and amplified through hundreds of Marshall stacks. Lemmy once described the band as: "the music will be so dirty that if we moved in next door to you, your lawn will die."
THE ROC caught up with "Lemola" & the gang in Pittsburgh opening for Ozzy awhile back. As you will see in the upcoming interview, Lemmy still possesses an uncanny sense of wit and was very amusing and interesting on his points of view about life, politics, and censorship. Let's see what the "head Motor" has to say:
ROC: What's your first thought when you hear the word censorship?
Lemmy: Joseph Gobels.
ROC: How about the letters PMRC?
ROC: If you had the opportunity to say anything to Tipper Gore, what would it be?
Lemmy: I would say, do you really think that you're doing any good? Don't you realize your feeding your own fire? If you put a sticker on a record you're just encouraging a kid to buy it. He wants to know what's so wrong about it, so he'll buy it immediately against the wishes of his parents where before he might have obeyed them. And now you're making the kid disobey their parents and isn't that smart.
I just don't see the point of it. Censorship is always a loser. It wouldn't even work in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia, right? It didn't even work there.
ROC: When you did a tour with the Cro-Mags some of the early tours in the States, didn't you have some problems with censorship then?
Lemmy: No they've never jumped on us because I don't sing about the devil so I don't have any problems with them.
ROC: There's never been any groups picketing at Motorhead shows?
Lemmy: We've had one group picketing once, it was the Mohicans for Jesus it was. How about that, huh? All these bozo's carried Mohicans for Jesus signs saying, "Don't go in here, it's the voice of the devil." I mean for Christ sake, you really think the devil looks like me, I'm sure he's better looking.
ROC: As a musician, how do you feel about warning labels on albums? Would it bother you if your album had one?
Lemmy: They'd probably sell more. I don't care, they can do what they want. They can't stop rock 'n roll, they've been trying since 1956.
ROC: You've never had any albums with a sticker right?
Lemmy: The new one (March or Die) has one.
ROC: How do you feel about the kids not being able to purchase certain albums just because it bears a sticker?
Lemmy: They can go to another store can't they? They can go out of state, especially on Friday they can go out.
ROC: Why do you think certain segments of society, especially here in America, are so afraid of certain forms of music?
Lemmy: Because they want the status quo to stay the same. It's because they are frightened of change, but the change is gonna happen whether they like it or not. I mean it's just too bad, right? I mean I don't like some of the things that are happening right now, but I ain't gonna bitch about it because it's part of the natural cycle. So they're fighting against themselves in trying to stop it, because as soon as they try, the kids go straight for it.
ROC: Are you aware that a number of major corporations like COORS and 7-UP are supporting and even bankrolling the efforts of groups like the PMRC?
Lemmy: Who gives a fuck! I don't drink 7-UP anyway, and don't drink COORS because it's shit beer.
ROC: As a musician, what do you feel that musicians could do more of to fight censorship?
Lemmy: Not listen to them. If nobody listens to them, they're dead, right? And all these radio stations if they just said 'fuck-you' they'd be fucked. What could they do? If nobody listened to them they couldn't do a damn thing right. I'll keep on playing until I die, and we never got any radio play anyway.
ROC: What do you feel that we as fans can do more of to help combat censorship?
Lemmy: Buy everything with a sticker on it immediately, possibly two copies. I mean they're stickering John Denver for God's sake. I mean excuse me, what's wrong with this fuckin' picture, huh? John Denver? Goddamn, nobody would listen to him otherwise and now he's probably selling millions.
ROC: Any thoughts about the elections here. How about Tipper Gore being the Vice President's wife?
Lemmy: It's like a choice between a dog and a hound isn't it? There's not much choice. Clinton will be better only because he will try very hard while the honeymoon is on to give everybody what they want. He'll only be better for about six months and after that it'll be back to the same old shit. I mean they wear the same suits for Christ sake.
ROC: How does what's happening in America compare to what's happening in England?
Lemmy: You wouldn't have all those evangelists in England. They'd get laughed out of the studio. Just wouldn't happen. Could never happen. Or anywhere else in Europe. This is the only country in the world where you can get them bastards on TV all the time. However, it is freedom of speech, but they should give an equal amount of time on that channel to somebody speaking against them. And that's freedom of speech, but they don't, they wouldn't. The only way we can get on TV is on cable right, and a lot of people don't get that. It's very funny when you think about it, Ted Bundy looks like John Kennedy and I look like Jesus Christ, so what the fuck is wrong with this picture?
ROC: Speaking about religion, on the new album you have the song "BAD RELIGION." What made you write that song?
Lemmy: Those bastards on TV. If you want to see obscenity in America it's not a pair of tits on MTV, it's those bastards on Sundays. Get some poor widow to send 'em in ten bucks and then she dies from hypothermia because she can't afford to put the fucking heat or electric power on. But they don't give a shit about that, they take the ten bucks and smile. 'And you shall have a seat on the right hand of God my dear, can you say hallelujah.' And she's choking agh-agh-agh as she tries to say hallelujah.
ROC: On the 1916 album we understand the backmasking on "NIGHTMARE THE DREAMTIME" contains a special message to Tipper Gore, can you tell us what it says?
Lemmy: Yea, it says 'You bastards are never gonna tell me what I can fucking sing about.'
ROC: How do you feel about all the flack over Ice-T's song "COP KILLER"?
Lemmy: I think it's a bad song. I don't think it served any purpose except to make him a big macho-man. I think it's bullshit. I wouldn't write about anything like that. I think that's very irresponsible.
ROC: Even though he pulled it off the album?
Lemmy: He didn't pull it himself, he would have never pulled it off if there hadn't been all that hoopdi-doo about it. He claims he did, of course he does, and now he's trying to kiss ass. He should have never written that song. It's a direct incitement to violence and I'm against violence in any way. I'm against their violence and I'm against our violence. Not only is there no need for it, it's ultimately counter-productive because they've got us fighting against ourselves now. In the '60's and '70's it was us against the cops and at least that was collective you know. Now everybody, the blacks hate the whites, whites hate the Mexicans, and the Mexicans hate everyone else.
ROC: Do you think that some of the rap bands make good socially conscious points?
Lemmy: I haven't really heard any. All I've heard is blacks with a chip on their shoulder, it's just like a white with a chip on his shoulder against the blacks, you know. As far as I'm concerned racism is racism however what color it comes from. In the L.A. riots the blacks attacked the Koreans, I mean what the fuck is that about? Where are we now then? What happened here? What was wrong with the Koreans suddenly? I mean black guys get ripped off more by other black guys than by white guys. You see all those shootings, those drive-by's, it's all black guys shooting other black guys. How collective is that?
ROC: As far as censorship goes, can you see it getting worse?
Lemmy: Yea! It's got to get worse so the people in power can keep themselves safe. There's no way it can get better yet. There's gonna be a backlash you see, and in fact, there should be a backlash so we can sort out the men from the boys.
ROC: Do you feel that rock 'n roll is the most dangerous thing towards the government?
Lemmy: "Threatened? I ain't threatening nobody, I'm just observing a few things. I ain't got no answers, I just got lots of questions and they never answer any of them. The most dangerous thing is that all these radio stations and MTV will like be scared of them, that's the dangerous thing because that leaves you no recourse, you know, except to be more threatening. If they would play a fair amount of everything, then it would be ok because then kids could make up their own minds. But they won't. In our "KILLED BY DEATH" video, the girl on the motorbike, they put a little white square over her. I mean what the fuck is that, what do they think I'm doing? I mean they drew attention to it you see. If they had just let it be the kids wouldn't even have noticed it.
ROC: After seeing the full version of the "KILLED BY DEATH" video just what did MTV see so offensive about it?
Lemmy: Because I put my hand on the girl's leg while she was on the motorbike. I ran it up out of sight and they thought that it meant that I grabbed her fanny, you know? I mean what the fuck do they think that I'm gonna do with this chick, stop and have a cup of tea at a roadside cafe. I mean what the fuck are they talking about? I mean if you get a girl on a motorbike and you're rolling down the road, you're gonna fuck her. I mean that's the story. What are they scared of?
ROC: But then on the other hand MTV will show someone like Madonna doing much more than that.
Lemmy: I know because she sells a lot of records. It's a double standard anyway. It's because we've got long hair and she looks like Marilyn Monroe, because she's a woman and all the feminists would go nuts.
ROC: Has there been any problems with other Motorhead videos?
Lemmy: The new video should get lots of problems I would think. It's got all the HELLRAISER people in it, Pinhead's in it. Lots of demonic things in it you know, oooooohh! I mean if you want to start worrying about the devil, I mean Jesus Christ this is it.
ROC: I saw it premiered on MTV a few nights ago and I didn't think it was that bad.
Lemmy: But they would see it as such because they're looking for it, and if you look for something long enough, you'll find it. You can find the devil in the Golden Gate Tea Room if you look hard enough, can't you? That cake is black...the devil! I'm customer #666, you know, turn it over it says 999, which is the number of the police in England.
This sums up a very interesting interview with the "always witty" Lemmy of Motorhead. Lock your doors and hide your daughters when Motorhead hits your town. ROC thanks all the members of Motorhead for the memorable interview and all the laughs.