MOTORHEAD: "We Are Rock N' Roll!"

by Dr Abner Maility

Yeah, they sure as hell are! Not too many bands these days stay true to the rough and ready,do-it-yourself-and-hang-the-rest creed of early rockers like Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Stones, Hendrix,etc but Motorhead are surely one. Led by the immortal warhorse Lemmy Kilminster (who was actually Jimi Hendrix's guitar roadie for a while), this band of hard-riding, hard-drinking and hard-playing veterans swear to be true to their motto: "Everything Louder Than Everything Else!"

Mixing heavy metal, punk and blues into a steaming sonic gumbo of raw fury, they've been clawing and scratching for rock and roll success for over 20 years. And now, they seem to be on the verge of finally getting their due. They're doing the soundtrack for the new Tony Hawk Playstation game, they've made an appearance on "The Drew Carey Show" and their menacing track "The Game" accompanies WWF wrestler HHH to the ring. In addition to all the media hub-bub, they've also released a brand-spankin' new album called "Hammered" that shows they haven't lost their spark.

So when the Good Doctor got the offer to speak to longtime 'Head drummer Mikkey Dee (who also drummed for King Diamond and Don Dokken prior to his current assignment), he quickly had to pick himself off the floor and quiz the laid-back Mr. Dee about "Hammered", Triple H and the heavy music scene today...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Motorhead's put out an awful lot of albums over the years. What makes your latest one "Hammered" different from the rest?

MIKKEY DEE: Every album we do has a different touch to it. I'd say this one is more melodic than the last one "We Are Motorhead", which was a very aggressive and fast album. It's got a bit more color to it.

WC: The tempo was slower?

MD: Yeah, it's a bit more mid-tempo and melodic but don't get me wrong, it's still very hard. We tried to change a little bit. We can't write exactly the same stuff all the time, y'know. It's still totally a Motorhead record, though. Me and Lemmy have been out doing press for a month in Europe and they seem to love this album over there. It's still Motorhead, that's for sure!

WC: Was it a pretty easy album to write and record?

MD: No, it's never easy. It's really, really hard for us to write and record. Whatever we write, it seems like we've done it before! We've had such a long career, it's getting harder to stay fresh. We write very spontaneously. Whatever you hear, that's pretty much the way we laid it down. We're not one of these bands that keeps re-recording things and takes a year to get a record done. Basically me and Campbell (Phil, guitarist...Dr. Mality) write the music and Lemmy writes the lyrics. We piece it together from there.

WC: There seems to be more press about Motorhead in the States than ever before. Do you think this will finally be the year you break out into mass success?

MD: No, I don't think we'll break out because we're not really a trendy band. You're completely right in saying that there's an upswing of interest in us. In Europe and Japan, it's actually a HUGE upswing. We're headlining big arenas in Europe right now. Even in the US, things have woken up a little bit. I think it's a generation shift that's responsible in some way.

A lot of young people today seem to be catching on to Motorhead, saying "Hey, that's pretty good!" They just heard about us, maybe even from their parents, and probably thought we were long gone. But we are better than ever and there is a big upswing of interest in Motorhead. But I still don't think we will ever break out like, say, Metallica. It's not our wish to be as big as that, anyway. For us, it's fine the way it is and we'll keep on playing our music for ourselves and if other people like it, that's a bonus.

WC: I know you guys made an appearance on "The Drew Carey Show" over here but the big thing for you now is doing the theme music for HHH, the WWF Champion. Have you ever met him?

MD: Oh yeah! He's on the new album, he does a spoken word bit on the song "Serial Killer"!

WC: Was that spontaneous or was that something you planned on for quite a while?

MD: I've got to say, everything we do is very spontaneous and that was a good example. The day we start sitting around a table and planning stuff , we're gonna be shit. We don't fix anything that ain't broken, that's the way we work...

WC: Was HHH a big fan of the band?

MD: Oh, he loves the band! It was a pleasure having him perform on "Serial Killer".

WC: How do you see the heavy rock scene these days? Is it moving forward, backward or stagnating?

MD: I really believe it is moving forward. In the US, I'm starting to hear bands going back to songs and melodies. You can actually hear a guitar solo that sounds like a guitar solo, y'know. I think people are tired of this fuckin' monkey rock...hopping up and down on the stage, screaming at everything as loud as you can and putting on masks .(I think he might be talking about a certain Iowa-bred band...Dr. Mality) . Whatever. It sounds better to bake fuckin' cinnamon rolls on stage, for fuck's sake! But you know, today there's a lot of new young kids coming up writing fantastic songs again. I'm hearing good musicianship again. But we really don't give a flying fuck about what's going on. We are so busy in our own world, y' know...

WC: On your North American tour, you're going to have Morbid Angel open up for you and they're a really fast and extreme death metal band. Will playing with them change your show, make you play a little bit faster and harder?

MD: No, not really. We've played with extreme bands before. An extreme tour we did not too long ago was with Hatebreed and the Dropkick Murphys...that's mega-extreme for us. When we tour the US, we're used to having pretty odd bands play with us. There's no band over here that really fits our division of music. Europe is a different story. You've got a lot of bands that have been around since 1982, y'know... you;'ve got a good combination of old and new bands. Over here, you've got just one scene.

It's very, very narrow in the US. I used to say it was "flavor of the year" over here but now it's almost "flavor of the

month". Everybody jumps on the fuckin' bandwagon. You can't get signed or get on the radio unless you play that particular music.(Which explains why you will never hear Motorhead on WJJO...trendy geeks!--Dr. Mality) So we play with a lot of odd bands but we don't approach things differently because we are Motorhead and we do what we do best. Whether we have some ABBA wanna-be band or Morbid Angel opening for us, it doesn't really matter.

WC: Do you think Lemmy will outlive everybody else in the human race? Does he show any signs of slowing down?

MD: (laughs) No,no,no! Actually, it's been the opposite. It worries me a little bit, to tell the truth. We've been driving ourselves harder and harder. I don't think there's anything wrong with that but I don't think we should push ourselves too much more. We should stay about where we are, but definitely not slow down, either. We are fairly extreme in that we put out a record every 15 or 16 months. We're really happy with Tom Lipski and SPV Records right now, they're doing a great job for us, they understand what we are about.

WC: Who were some of the drummers that inspired you?

MD: Among my favorites are, of course, Ian Paice from Deep Purple and Brian Downey from Thin Lizzy. Those are the 2 top ones. Of course, there's Neil Peart in Rush. There's so many great ones but there you have the top 3.

WC: Do you keep in touch with the guys you used to play with in Dokken and King Diamond?

MD: Oh yeah, yeah! I spoke to Don Dokken last night. Andy (LaRocque, King Diamond guitarist--Dr. Mality) lives in Sweden in Gothenburg, the same town where I live, so we hang out all the time. Every weekend we have a drink together. I spoke to Timi Hansen and Michael Denner (former Mercyful Fate members--Mality) in Copenhagen, Denmark not too long ago (where they might have rubbed shoulders with our own Insane Dane, Jens Hellroute--Dr. Mality) . King Diamond, I haven't spoken with since last summer. I keep in touch with all of them. We're friends, we're family, y'know!

WC: In all the years you've played, is there any Spinal Tap moment that sticks out?

MD: (groans) Oh, there's so many moments! When we go on the road, every day is "Spinal Tap" without a script. We've got Phil Campbell in the band and he's a real clown. There's so many things happening, good and bad, that it's impossible to pick one particular moment. It's fun stuff all the time. We are rock and roll, that's for sure!

WC: Any last message for the fans?

MD: The message would be for those fans we have over here who never gave up on the band. I'll say to them, just as we say to the Germans and the French and the South Americans who never ever gave up on us, that we will never let them down! We really appreciate that they stick with us through all the years.

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