Portal:Motörhead

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Motörhead are a Grammy Award-winning British heavy metal band formed in 1975 by bassist, singer and songwriter Lemmy (real name Ian Kilmister), who has remained the sole constant member.

Usually a power trio, Motörhead had particular success in the early 1980s with several successful singles in the UK Top 40 chart. The albums Overkill, its follow on, Bomber, Ace of Spades, and particularly No Sleep 'til Hammersmith, cemented Motörhead's reputation as one of Britain's foremost heavy metal groups. More recent exposure has included providing wrestler Triple H's entrance music, and performing live at WrestleMania events; and in 2004, contributing the song, "You Better Swim", to the soundtrack of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. In 2005 the band received their first Grammy.

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While Motörhead are typically classified as heavy metal, speed metal or thrash metal (and often regarded as a foundational influence on the latter two syles); Lemmy disliked such labels, preferring to describe the band's music simply as "rock and roll". Motörhead's approach has remained the same over the band's career, preferring to play what they enjoy and do best, their like for the early rock and roll is reflected in some of their occasional cover songs. Motörhead's lyrics typically cover such topics as war, good versus evil, abuse of power, promiscuous sex, substance abuse, and "life on the road". World-wide the band has sold more than 41 million albums.

The band's distinctive fanged face logo was created by artist Joe Petagno in 1977 for the cover of the Motörhead album and has appeared in many variations on covers of ensuing albums.

Selected article

Joe Petagno (born January 1, 1948 - ) is an artist known principally for creating images used on heavy metal album covers, for bands such as Motörhead, Marduk, Nightshade, and Illdisposed.

Petagno was born in Portland, Maine and left the United States in 1972. He worked with Hipgnosis before meeting Motörhead's Lemmy in 1975, he designed "War-Pig" for the band's Motörhead album and has continued to design the majority of the album and single sleeve covers for the band. He is also (lesser) known for his science fiction book covers, notably for the Corgi SF Collector's Library edition of Ray Bradbury's The Silver Locusts aka The Martian Chronicles. He also creates non-heavy metal album covers.

In 1979, Petagno went with a travelling exhibition, sponsored by the Shah of Iran, visiting France and meeting his partner, Sanne, in Denmark, where he has lived ever since.

He has published Orgasmatron, The Heavy Metal Art of Joe Petagno, which has a foreword by Lemmy and an introduction by Steffan Chirazi. It covers his work with Hipgnosis, designing for Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, and Motörhead. Also contains reproductions of paintings on display in Denmark.

Petagno appeared in a rare interview on the bonus DVD when Motörhead re-issued their Inferno album as a 30th Anniversary Birthday Edition. (read more...)

Selected picture

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Motörhead's front-man Lemmy is a collector of Nazi memorabilia, here he is seen wearing an Iron Cross while playing live in concert at Reds, West Edmonton Mall, Alberta, Canada in May, 2005. Photograph by Mark Marek.

Selected biography

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Lemmy (born Ian Fraiser Kilmister on December 24, 1945, also known as Ian Willis, Lemmy Kilmister, and Lemmy von Motörhead) is an English singer and bass guitarist, most famous for being the founding member of the heavy metal band Motörhead. His appearance, facial moles, mutton chops (sideburn-moustache combination), and gravelly voice, have made him a cult figure, known beyond the world of rock music.

In 1971, Kilmister joined the space rock band, Hawkwind, who were based in Ladbroke Grove, London but was fired after being arrested at Canadian customs on possession charges; he spent five days in prison. Kilmister went on to form a new band with guitarist Larry Wallis (former member of the Pink Fairies, Steve Took's Shagrat and UFO) and drummer Lucas Fox. This new band was originally called Bastard but later changed the band's name to Motörhead at the urging of his manager.

Soon after, both Wallis and Fox were replaced with guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke and drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, and with this line-up the band began to achieve success. The band's sound appealed to both Lemmy's original heavy metal fans, as well as to fans of the nascent punk rock scene. In fact, Lemmy asserts that he generally feels more kinship with punks than with heavy metal; he even played with the The Damned for a handful of gigs when they had no regular bassist — and Lemmy's guttural vocals were unique in the world of rock at that time. The band's success peaked between 1980 and 1981 with a number of UK chart hits, including the classic single "Ace of Spades" (still a crowd favourite today) and the #1 live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith. Motörhead have since gone on to become one of the most influential bands in the heavy metal music genre, and although Lemmy is the only constant member, are still performing and releasing records to this day. Despite Motörhead's many member changes over their 30 year history, the current lineup of Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee has remained constant since 1995.

Lemmy has also worked with a number of other musicians over his career, and occasionally guests with Hawkwind. He has made a number of appearances in film and television, including the 1990 science fiction film Hardware and the 1987 comedy Eat the Rich (read more...)

Things you can do

Did you know...

  • ...that Lemmy's father was a minister?
  • ...Lemmy worked as a roadie for The Jimi Hendrix Experience for a short time?
  • ...the song "Dog Face Boy" from the 1995 Sacrifice album was inspired by Campbell's looks?
  • ...Fast Eddie Clarke met drummer Phil Taylor while working as hands re-fitting a houseboat?
  • ...Fast Eddie Clarke performed the lead vocal on four Motörhead songs?

Quotes

  • "If this band moved in next door to you, your lawn would die."
  • People don't read any more. It's a sad state of affairs. Reading's the only thing that allows you to use your imagination. When you watch films it's someone else's vision, isn't it? — Interview in the English newspaper The Independent, 15 October 2005.
  • "We've never had a good world, we don't understand how to make it a good world. the only thing we've learned in 2000 years of civilization is how to kill more people from further away, so we don't have to see it. our mindset hasn't improved at all."
  • "Safe sex, safe music, safe clothing, safe hair spray, safe ozone layer. Too late! Everything that's been achieved in the history of mankind has been achieved by not being safe."
  • "The only time I've seen any rebellion was in the fifties, sixties and early seventies. The rest of it you can keep."
  • "One thing I am very glad of is that I went through the sixties. People who didn't really don't know what they missed. We pushed a certain consciousness, a way of life and it was exciting - no AIDS, people weren't dying so much from drug abuse and it was truly a time of freedom and change."
  • "That was a great time, the summer of '71 - I can't remember it, but I'll never forget it!"
  • "If you think you are too old to rock 'n roll then you are."

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