Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Motorhead, Villa Manin June 28th, 2010

What would Napoleon Bonaparte have said of Lemmy (aka the world’s “ugliest” rocker according to a good Canadian friend of mine) and Co. actually playing in front of the villa where he had actually slept for one night back in 1797? No doubt he would probably a) have been aghast and/or b) enjoyed this heavy metal band, pioneers of speed/thrash metal music who’ve been around for the last 35 years with sales of some 70 million records!

Good’ol Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister’s performance brought back wonderful memories of Rome and the 1990s: there I would see his band with Canadian chum Derek in what was literally a boat shack on the Via Aurelia (and next to a cool hotel too: the “Boomerang”)! Given the very small size of that venue, we were like about 50 yards from the speakers, so it turned out to be THE loudest concert of me lefe so far (207 and counting….)! About 3,000 fans showed up, including a group of some 250 Serbs! Yes indeed, there were probably MORE foreign fans than Italian ones present at this show.

The band started at 9.30 pm sharp and finished about 90 minutes later, with some of their all-time favourite hits, such as the “Ace Of Spades” and much to my great, great surprise, “Born To Raise Hell” from their Bastards album! That is one cool hard-rocking tune which is part of the movie soundtrack to “Airheads” with actors Brandon Fraser, Steve Buscemi and Adam Sandler. Not perhaps THE greatest movie ever made, but Lemmy’s song is great! (check it out the video on You Tube)

Motörhead's lyrics typically cover such topics as war, good versus evil, abuse of power, promiscuous sex, substance abuse, and "life on the road". The band's distinctive fanged-face logo, with its oversized boar's horns, chains, and spikes, was created for the cover of their 1977 Motorhead album. The fanged face has been referred to variously as "War-Pig" and "Snaggletooth".

Not exactly Nobel-prize winning stuff for literary creativity, but after having been fired from Hawkwind, now on his own, Lemmy decided to form a new band, originally to be called 'Bastard'. Douglas Smith, the band's manager, advised him that, "It's unlikely that we're going to get on Top Of The Pops with a name like 'Bastard'"! So Lemmy concurred and decided to call the band 'Motörhead', inspired by the final song he had written for Hawkwind, his first band (the name of the song "Motorhead” " is an American slang term for a speed-freak).

Together on stage that night with Lemmy were guitarist Phil Campbell (who’s been with Lemmy since 1984) and drummer Mikkey Dee (since 1992). His style of play (on Sonor drums by the way, the very same used by AC/DC’s Phil Rudd!)? It reminded me of that little red monster from the Muppets, the one with the chain around his neck! And why? Because both Mikkey and the monster FURIOUSLY beat away at their drum skins (it almost looks like they both are about to eat their drum kits)!

Finally, though the band are typically classified as heavy metal or speed metal, Lemmy has stated that he never considered Motörhead a metal band. When asked if he has a problem with Motörhead being called a metal band, he replied: "I do, because I come from way before Metal. I’m playing Rock n’ Roll and I think Rock n’ Roll should be sacred – it is to me. I don’t see why it should not be for everybody else." Lemmy has also stated that he generally feels more kinship with punk rockers than with metal bands.

Amen, brother Lemmy!

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