Music / Motörhead

Everything Louder Than Everything Else
The lineup from 1996 until the band's breakup: (From left to right) Mikkey, Lemmy and Phil

"We want to be the band that, if this band moved in next door to you, your lawn would die."
Lemmy Kilmister

"We're fuckin' artists! We're sensitive as SHIT!"
"Philthy Animal" Taylor

Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll meets Heavy Metal.

Motörhead was founded in the middle of The '70s by bassist/vocalist Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, after being fired from Hawkwind for, in Lemmy's words, "doing the wrong kind of drugs." Many members, with only Lemmy remaining, came and went. Along with Judas Priest, they kickstarted the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal at the end of The '70s. Despite being called "the most punk band of the Heavy Metal scene", Lemmy preferred to call the music of his band by the simple name of "Rock and Roll."

On the night of December 28th, 2015, it was announced via the band's official Facebook page that Lemmy had passed away at the age of 70 after a short battle with prostate cancer, passing away while in front of his favourite video game and surrounded by his family.

A day later it was confirmed that the band had disbanded, with their final lineup consisting of:

  • Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister - Vocals/Bass
  • Phil Campbell - Guitars
  • Mikkey Dee - Drums

Their past formations had the following members:

  • Lucas Fox - Drums (1975)
  • Larry Wallis - Guitars (1975-1976)
  • Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor - Drums (1975-1984, 1987-1992) (classic lineup)
  • "Fast" Eddie Clarke - Guitars (1976-1982) (classic lineup)
  • Brian "Robbo" Robertson - Guitars (1982-1984)
  • Pete "Frank" Gill - Drums (1984-1987)
  • Mick "Würzel" Burston Guitars (1984-1995)
  • Tommy Aldridge - Drums (1992)
  • Matt Sorum - Drums (live, 2009)

Discography:

  • Motörhead - 1977
  • Overkill - 1979
  • Bomber - 1979
  • Ace Of Spades - 1980
  • Iron Fist - 1982
  • Another Perfect Day - 1983
  • Orgasmatron - 1986
  • Rock 'n' Roll - 1987
  • 1916 - 1991
  • March ör Die - 1992
  • Bastards - 1993
  • Sacrifice - 1995
  • Overnight Sensation - 1996
  • Snake Bite Love - 1998
  • We Are Motörhead - 2000
  • Hammered - 2002
  • Inferno - 2004
  • Kiss of Death - 2006
  • Motörizer - 2008
  • The Wörld is Yours - 2010
  • Aftershock - 2013
  • Bad Magic - 2015

Some examples of tropes which fits with the band:

  • The Alcoholic: Lemmy admitted he was an alcoholic, claiming to have consumed a bottle of Jack Daniel's on a daily basis since the late '70s, but didn't care because it didn't turn him into an asshole. He was also known to say that he couldn't quit drinking because "My insides are in an alcohol solution, and without it they'll die." He did finally cut back on his alcohol consumption after a serious health scare in 2013; he went from drinking a fifth of Jack every day, to screwdrivers(vodka & orange juice). Typically, when his manager asked him why he was drinking screwdrivers now, Lemmy replied "Orange juice is good for you."
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor.
  • Anti-Love Song: "Too Good to Be True" from March ör Die.
  • Audience Participation Song: Invoked in "The Chase is Better Than the Catch" where, during the break, Lemmy repeatedly sings "Let me hear ya".
  • Awesome McCool Name: Lemmy Kilmister.
  • Axe Crazy: "Red Raw" is about a murderous individual prowling in the night, looking for someone to kill. One verse (Monster in the gaslight, shivers in the cold, looking for a bad girl) gives an impression that the song is about Jack the Ripper.
  • Badass: Lemmy Kilmister, of course!
    • Badass Bookworm: Ozzy praised Lemmy on being incredibly well-read and intelligent, often packing his luggage mostly with books. When he was writing lyrics for Ozzy he'd blown through a World War II book Ozzy lent him in an hour and wrote the man three sets of lyrics for "Mama, I'm Coming Home."
    • Badass Grandpa: Dude rocked harder than most people a third of his age until his death.
    • Badass Longhair
    • Badass Mustache: Just look at those magnificent chops.
  • Badass Boast:
    • "Orgasmatron":
    ''I hold a banner drenched in blood, I urge you to be brave
    I lead you to your destiny, I lead you to your grave
    Your bones will build my palaces, your eyes will stud my crown
    For I am Mars, the god of war, and I will cut you down.
    • Also "You Better Run" from March ör Die album, as well as its title track.
    • "Ace of Spades":
    You know I'm gonna lose, and gamblin' is for fools.
    But that's the way I like it, baby. I don't wanna live forever!
  • Bawdy Song: "The Claw" and "Ridin' with the Driver."
  • Bedlam House: "Back at the Funny Farm" from Another Perfect Day.
  • Berserk Button: Lemmy hated being told his band played Heavy Metal. It's Rock 'n' Roll!
  • Big Rock Ending: Subverted twice and then played straight during "Overkill." Twice the song seems to break into a Big Rock Ending, then returns to tempo and continues as normal. Only on the third Big Rock Ending does the song really end.
  • Blood Knight: "March or Die"
  • Brutal Honesty: Lemmy was never one to bullshit. When he was diagnosed with cancer he demanded his manager tell the truth instead of saying Lemmy was just ill and keeping the diagnosis private.
  • The Casanova: Lemmy.
  • Catch Phrase: "We are Motörhead. We play Rock 'n' Roll!", which is what Lemmy said at the beginning of every show.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: In the very early days of Motorhead (Lemmy estimates it was 1975), a groupie climbed on stage and gave Lemmy a blowjob right there while he was in the middle of performing.
  • Cool Plane: The cover of Bomber shows the band flying one. It was also part of their stage shows on the subsequent tour.
  • Cool Train: The cover of Orgasmatron, along with their songs "Riding with the Driver" and "Locomotive". It's safe to say Lemmy might have been a closet Rail Enthusiast.
  • Cover Version: They've covered a lot of songs. Let's see... "The Train Kept-A-Rollin'" by Tiny Bradshaw, "I'm Your Witch Doctor" by John Mayall, "Emergency" by Girlschool, "Please Don't Touch" (together with Girlschool) by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, "Louie Louie" by Richard Berry, "(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man" by Muddy Waters, "Stand by Your Man" by Tammy Wynette, "Masterplan" by The Plasmatics, "Shoot 'em Down", "Enter Sandman", "Whiplash", "Cat Scratch Fever", "Jumping Jack Flash", "Sympathy for the Devil", "God Save The Queen", "Tie Your Mother Down", "Breaking The Law" and "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers".
  • Crapsack World: "Brotherhood of Man" makes our world look scary...
  • Dead Man's Hand: "Ace of Spades" refers to this hand.
    Read 'em and weep, the dead man's hand again
    • Also, they recorded a song called Dead Man's Hand as a B-side to The One To Sing The Blues in 1991.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Killed by Death".
  • Determinator: "Stand" from March or Die encourages the listener to be one, because "if you stand then you deserve it all".
    • Also, Lemmy himself.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Girlschool were marketed this way by Bronze Records when they had both bands on their repertoire.
  • Drugs Are Bad: "Lost Johnny" from Motörhead and On Parole but (which was originally on Hawkwind's Hall of the Mountain Grill).
  • Eat the Rich: The song "Eat the Rich" was written as the title track for the Brit Com film of the same name about eating the rich and also featured Lemmy in a supporting role. However, the song's lyrics are actually a thinly veiled reference to a certain sex act.
  • Epic Rocking: "Just 'cos You Got the Power" (from Eat the Rich single and Rock 'n' Roll reissue) and the extended version of "Overkill" from various compilations go over seven minutes, which are a rare occurrence for Three Chords and the Truth-specific band like Motörhead.
  • Freudian Trio: The classic lineup, with Lemmy as the Ego, Eddie as the Superego, and Philthy as the Id.
  • God Is Evil:
    • "God Was Never on Your Side" from Kiss of Death.
    • "Orgasmatron" is pretty much a Badass Boast from a malevolent god, who also represent politicians and conquerors.
  • Gender Bender: "I'll Be Your Sister" from Overkill.
  • Greatest Hits Album: After been over 30 years in business, the band has amassed about 57 of them.
  • Harsh Vocals: Lemmy is probably the Trope Codifier.
  • Heartbroken Badass: In his autobiography White Line Fever, Lemmy reveals that his first love was a young black girl he met when he was a teenager living in England. She was killed in a hate crime. To the day he died, she remained the only woman he ever loved.
  • Heavy Meta: "Rock 'n' Roll" and "Rock 'n' Roll music"
  • Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: One of the first examples. If Blue Oyster Cult is the Ur-Example, then Motörhead are the Trope Codifier.
  • Hetero Sexual Life Partners: Lemmy and Ozzy Osbourne. They'd known each other since Lemmy's days in Hawkwind and Ozzy entrusted him with writing lyrics to some of his songs, including his Grammy-winning "I Don't Want to Change the World." They also would geek over World War II history.
  • Homage: "R.A.M.O.N.E.S." from 1916.
  • "I Am" Song:
    • "Vibrator" from Motörhead and On Parole:
    I'm a Vibrator,
    Pleased to make a start,
    I'm a Vibrator,
    And I'll never ever break your heart
    • And "Orgasmatron" from Orgasmatron
    I am the one, Orgasmatron
    The outstretched grasping hand
    My image is of agony
    My servants rape the land
    • And "Snaggletooth" from No Remorse:
    Speed don't kill and I'm the proof
    Just call me Snaggletooth
    • A more literal example, "I am the Sword" from Bastards.
    I, I am the blade, I break the oath that you made
    I, I am the mace, I am the blow in the face
    I, I am the axe, to cut down heroes like rats
    I, I am the sword, I do the work of the Lord
    • Then there's "The Game" from Hammered:
    I am the Game, you don't wanna play me
    I am control, no way you can shake me
    I am heavy debt, no way you can pay me
    I am the pain, and you know you can't take me
  • I Am the Band: Lemmy, basically, WAS Motörhead. Played straight after the band's disbanding.
  • I Call It "Vera": Lemmy's bass, Rickenbastard, and his amp, Murder One. Rickenbacker now even have a signature LK 4001 Bass.
  • In the Back: The song "Shoot You in the Back"
  • Insistent Terminology: Lemmy used to claim they just play Rock 'n roll, and hated being told otherwise. According to a quote of his, it's because at the time 'heavy metal was too slow and boring' and the band were inspired by rock and roll bands. In his later years, he seemed to be more at peace with the heavy metal label, and in his autobiography White Line Fever he actually refers to Motorhead as heavy metal several times.
  • Intercourse with You:
    • Many (TOO many) songs, but specially "Killed By Death".
    • The band's cover of Cat Scratch Fever, which if anything is even more sexual than the original.
  • Jailbait: Not only does the band have a song titled "Jailbait", but Lemmy mentions in his autobiography having sex with a groupie who was only sixteen years old. Incidentally this is perfectly legal in the UK.
  • Kavorka Man: Lemmy was not privileged in looks, and yet slept with over 1,200 women (or over 2,000; accounts vary). It probably helps that he actually respected women; he took offense if anyone claimed they can't play rock as well as men.
  • Lead Bassist: Lemmy was equal parts type Types A, B and C.
  • Lighter and Softer: "I Got Mine" (still heavy but more melodic than usual), "Whorehouse Blues" (acoustic blues)
  • Local Hangout: When not on tour, Lemmy could often be found at the Rainbow Bar & Grill in Hollywood, drinking a Jack & Coke and playing the video poker machine at the bar. He stopped doing this after giving up drinking due to health issues. The owner of the place witnessed his last moments as the poker machine was brought to Lemmy's place.
  • Long Runner Line Up: Type 2. Kind of a bizarre example. While most people assume the band is basically Lemmy plus two other guys, drummer Mikkey Dee was in the band since 1992 and guitarist Phil Campbell since 1984 (which makes him by far the longest-serving band member bar Lemmy). So although these members have been together since 1992, they were still a four-piece until guitarist Würzel (a member from 1984 to 1995) quit. The most recent (and final) line-up of Lemmy, Campbell and Dee existed from 1995 to 2015.
  • Loudness War: Motorhead has been called "the loudest band in the world", and has been clocked in excess of 140 decibels, a sound level roughly equivalent to that of a jet engine or the Space Shuttle.
  • Mad Scientist: "I'm The Doctor" from Iron Fist.
  • Made of Iron: Lemmy himself. Even in his mid-60s, he drank at least one bottle of Jack Daniel's every day (and did this for at least 35 years), he loathed vegetables and lived on a diet of mostly meat and cheese, he was a smoker since he was 11 years old, and he also did copious amounts of drugs (mainly speed). Despite all this his liver, lungs, and kidneys were fine and he maintained a touring schedule that would exhaust men half his age.
    • Dented Iron: His old age and bad habits eventually caught up with him: he had Type 2 diabetes and had to get a pacemaker in 2013, after his irregular heartbeat forced him to cancel shows. In October 2013, he admitted to quitting smoking and drinking a fifth of Jack daily(he switched to screwdrivers). In 2015, he was forced to cancel several tour dates after a lung infection resulted in difficulty breathing and prevented him from singing, and sadly he passed away at the end of the year.
  • Metal Band Mascot: Snaggletooth, the war pig.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: They're about an 8, which is very heavy for their genre of metal and even heavier for the time they emerged.
  • The Movie: Lemmy: 49% Motherfucker, 51% Son of a Bitch
  • NameTron: Orgasmatron, both the album and the song on it.
  • Off on a Technicality: In 1975, Canadian police arrested Lemmy at the Detroit/Windsor border crossing on suspicion of cocaine possession. As it turned out, what he was actually carrying was meth, which was not illegal in Canada at the time, and he was released without charge (though his brief incarceration lead to his being fired from Hawkwind).
  • Older Than They Look: Lemmy lived to be 70 years old but still looked pretty damn good, appearing to be in his mid-40's to early 50's. This is amazing considering the fact that he was an alcoholic and smoker for so many years; he was blessed considering that what he did has been proven to make people look older than they are. Lemmy liked to joke that he drank so much that his body was being preserved in an alcohol solution, which is why he didn't look as old as he was. Toward the very end of his life, this started to not be the case; many people noted that when he attended his last birthday party at The Rainbow, he looked very thin and exhausted. It was also the only year he didn't join the tribute band onstage for a song or two.
  • Overly Long Gag: True to its name, "Overkill" has two false endings.
  • Parental Incest: "Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me" from Bastards.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Lemmy was a collector of Nazi memorabilia, and had a very large collection. This has led some pundits to accuse him of being a Nazi sympathizer, but Lemmy denied this. He actually considered himself an anarchist who was "anti-fascism, communism, any extreme" and claimed that "government causes more problems than it solves", and he collected Nazi memorabilia because they had the coolest-looking stuff.
  • Rated M for Manly
  • Rockstar Song: "Angel City" from 1916.
  • Rock Trio: All of their lineups except for from 1984-1995, when both Phil Campbell and Würzel were on guitars.
  • Self-Titled Album
  • Sesame Street Cred: A re-recorded version of "You Better Run" was featured in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and included on its soundtrack as "You Better Swim."
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Lemmy slept with at least 1,200 women (some accounts claim over 2,000), he was notorious for his love of speed and booze, and he kicked ass around the world with Motorhead for over 35 years. Really, only Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe could possibly represent this trope better than Lemmy since,well, Nikki can boast that he actually died from an overdose and came back a few minutes later.
  • Skyward Scream: Not so much a scream, but Lemmy's habit of raising the microphone high and tilting it downward, so that he had to be looking up at the ceiling to sing into it. This had the effect of allowing him to sing louder and take deeper breaths quicker(because his trachea was straightened out; it's the same reason Johnny Cash tilted his head back at the end of each line), though he often joked that it began as a way for him not to have to see how few people were coming to their early shows.
  • Something Blues: "Whorehouse Blues" from Inferno.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Headgirl, the mashup between Girlschool and Motörhead.
  • Spelling Song: "R.A.M.O.N.E.S." from 1916.
  • Stage Names: Aside from Lemmy himself, many past members used them, as noticed above.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Eddie Clarke on "Step Down".
  • Start My Own: Motörhead was born when Hawkwind kicked Lemmy out and he decided to start his own band.
  • Strictly Formula: If it's been working pretty well for over three decades...
  • Take That: Lemmy said each verse of Orgasmatron represents one of man's substitutions for orgasms: Religion, Government and War. All three verses are from the perspective of the man in charge of each and none paint a pretty picture.
  • Team Dad: Pretty much was this to anyone in the hard rock/heavy metal community; while he was very much one of the "elder statesmen" of those genres, he also never looked down on any of his contemporaries and was always gracious to the fans — some of whom grew up and started their own bands. If he met you and liked you, that was good enough for him to hang out with you anytime. After his death, Neil Gaiman recounted that he and a friend had once used Lemmy's name to get into a private bar in England, then lo and behold, Lemmy was at the bar. Neil confessed what they'd done, and Lemmy just replied "Good on ya," and kept drinking.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: "Brotherhood of Man", again:
    We put our faith in maniacs
  • Three Chords and the Truth: One of the few bands that both metalheads and punks like.
  • Titled After the Song: "Motorhead" was a Hawkwind song written by Lemmy when he was there.
  • Trope Maker: For Speed Metal.
  • Video Full of Film Clips: The music video for "Hellraiser" features clips from Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth, with some additional footage of Lemmy playing poker with Pinhead.
  • Villain Song:
    • Both of Triple H's entrance themes, "The Game" (the song most connected to him) and "King of Kings" (his current one).
    • Evolution's entrance theme, "Line in the Sand", counts as well.
    • "Orgasmatron."
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: "The Chase is Better Than the Catch," from Ace Of Spades
  • World War I: 1916's cover art and title song, which is based on the battle of Somme. Also a massive Tear Jerker.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Lemmy's tendency to write the lyrics in five minutes has produced lots of these.
  • Word Salad Title: "Snake Bite Love" and "Stone Dead Forever."

...and don't forget the joker!