After wrapping a stint opening for Clutch, Mondo Generator and Saviours on the former’s annual holiday run, Wino and the other support acts headed out to ring in 2013 on their own, crossing the country on a nine-day trek from New York to L.A. The full Wino set from the Pittsburgh gig Jan. 4 at the 31st St. Pub was taped by the company Digitalive Productions and featured here back in January, but it turns out that Wino also sat in with Saviours for a Motörhead cover of the song “Limb from Limb” that Digitalive also caught on tape — or, more likely, SD card — in a multi-camera shoot.
Really, that’s about all I need to hear before I’m ready to climb on board. You’ve got Wino doing a guest spot with the California-based heavy thrashers on a cover tune? Yeah sure, I’ll check that out. What makes this clip even better — aside from the production value — is how tight the cover actually is. Considering they’d only been on tour three days at this point (maybe they’d done it while on the road with Clutch, but they didn’t do it in Allentown when I saw that tour), they’ve more or less got it down with the double-guitar treatment, and of course Wino‘s vocals bring that seething edge to the song that he’s been heralded for all these many years.
“Limb from Limb” originally appeared as the closer of Motörhead‘s 1979 sophomore outing, Overkill, and if nothing else, this version shows the universal nature of the Motörhead influence, since if you sat down to search out every rock song since that used that riff, by the time you finished there’d probably be 30 or 40 new ones to find. Usually how it goes with Motörhead, especially old Motörhead.
Bangalore-based sludge five-piece Bevar Sea will take part in a new tribute to Motörhead featuring Indian bands. No easy feat to pick a Motörhead track for a cover. Do you go with something obvious? “Stay Clean” or the so-landmark-it-practically-has-a-fence-around-it “Ace of Spades?” Bevar Sea decided on another route, snatching up the 1983 B-side to the single “I Got Mine,” “Turn You Round Again,” betting that although the song’s been on numerous comps in the 30 years since its first appearance, it’s probably still unknown to most of the people who’ll catch the tribute. Smart move, most likely.
Bevar Sea released their Billy Anderson-mixed self-titled debut last October (track premiere here) and still have copies available on their Bandcamp page. More info about the tribute can be found on its Thee Facebooks, and to go with the lyric video Bevar Sea took a hypnotic fight scene from 2010′s Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster. So what you get here is a sludgy Motörhead cover and kickass kung fu choreography. That’s a win even before the band get down to creative subtitling.
Following up on last month’s tribute to Exciter‘s Heavy Metal Maniac, in his latest Spine of Overkill column, Chris “Woody High” MacDermott takes us back 28 years to a night seeing Exciter, Mercyful Fate and Motörhead share a bill on Dec. 14, 1984, in New York. This is one for the ages. Please enjoy:
Zeptember 1984 was a big month for me. It was the beginning of my senior year of high school but more importantly, the rebirth of Motörhead. 1983′s Another Perfect Day was a great album with Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson, but was not received well by a lot of fans. I saw them live at L’Amours in the summer of ‘83 and was thoroughly blown away. I’d seen the Ramones up close and personal at Iona College and Judas Priest/Iron Maiden at Madison Square Garden in the cheap seats but neither event prepared me for Motörhead’s live assault. My ears rang for EIGHT DAYS afterwards. After Robbo left I faithfully checked every new issue of Kerrang for the latest news on Lemmy’s next move. It was announced that two new, unknown guitarists were to join the band — Phil Campbell and Wurzel. They looked dirty enough for the job. Then it was announced that PhilthyAnimalTaylor was leaving to go play in Robbo‘s new band. I was relieved to find out that Pete Gill of Saxon was replacing him. Having worn out Wheels of Steel and Strong Arm of the Law, I knew he was the man for the job.
On a rare Saturday afternoon in Zeptember that I didn’t have to work, I hopped on a Metro-North train into Manhattan then headed downtown to It’s Only Rock N Roll on 8th Street. My mission was to spend every cent I had in my Motörhead velcro wallet on the latest metal releases. Turns out it was my lucky day. They had just gotten in the brand new Motörhead 12″ single “Killed by Death” and a brand new compilation album called No Remorse. Holy shit, I was excited. Not just for new Motörhead jams but No Remorse was in an album sleeve made of LEATHER!! I can’t remember what else I got that day but the awesome photos and liner notes inside No Remorse helped speed up the torturous train ride back to New Rochelle. More than just a greatest hits compilation, No Remorse had four killer new songs and a bunch of rare B-sides that I hadn’t been able to track down yet. The 12″ single had two great new ones, too, both titled “Under the Knife.” Fucking awesome!
But things were about to get even better. It was announced that the new line up of Motörhead were coming to tour the US. In the year since I had first seen them I had browbeaten several of my friends into getting into Motörhead, too. We were all ready. Alcohol and weeed consumption had greatly increased and tolerance for non-heavy jams was now a thing of the past. Metal or die! Motörhead‘s return to New York was scheduled for Friday, December 14, 1984, and they were bringing two of the heaviest bands with them — Mercyful Fate and Exciter. Holy fucking shit. I don’t remember where or when I got tickets but I do recall the weeks leading up to the concert as pure hell. Who wants to go to school or work when the heaviest bands of all time are coming to blow you away?
Finally December 14 arrived and it was time to get a pint of Jack Daniels to slip into the inside pocket of my denim jacket. We met up on the platform of the Metro North station in Pelham to go space truckin’ into NYC. Other passengers were probably going to a fruity Broadway show or something but we were going to see MOTÖRHEAD, MERCYFUL FATE and EXCITER!!! I can’t imagine that we talked about anything other than how awesome it was going to be. Before heading into the Beacon we hung out in Verdi Square on 72nd St. to guzzle JD and Coke and do one hits of cheap Bronx weeed. It was freezing that night but there’s nothing more metal than partying outdoors in the wintertime. Entering the venue was pure heaven. The merch stall was loaded with killer shirts for all three bands. This stuff was really hard to find back then, even in New York City. Not a lot of retailers were interested in carrying t-shirts with slogans like “Violence & Force” on them.
I’m not sure if we sat in our assigned seats or not but we had a killer view in the middle about halfway up from the stage. When Exciter took to the stage I went completely berserk. These guys were my heroes. I played their two albums Heavy Metal Maniac and Violence & Force constantly and I was finally about to see them. They were so loud and so fast I don’t remember seeing much of them because I was banging my head so frantically. Guitarist John Ricci and bassist Allan Johnson were covered in leather and spikes. All I could see of drummer/vocalist Dan Beehler was his enormous mushroom cloud afro behind his giant drum kit and a gooseneck mic stand angled down so he could scream into it. When he wasn’t singing he was headbangning. “Pounding Metal,” “Heavy Metal Maniac” and some other classics were played before Beehler announced a new song. They had a new album coming out called Long Live the Loud and played a song called “Sudden Impact.” Back then I wasn’t used to bands playing songs that hadn’t been released yet but something about this one grabbed me right away. I knew exactly when it was my turn to scream “Sudden Impact” so I did. It was all over and they walked off the stage. What the fuck, that was only like 15 minutes! Man, lemmy tell you, we were PISSED!! We started kicking the seats in front of us and screaming about “what kind of bullshit is this?” etc. Still fuming, we went downstairs to take a leak and stumbled upon an unlocked janitor’s closet. The memory is foggy but I do recall knocking over some shelves full of paint cans, making a big mess while ranting and raving about the injustice of Exciter‘s short set. I mean, really? Why bring them all the way to NYC from Ottawa for 15 fuckin’ minutes? They didn’t even get to play “Iron Dogs!”
Our mood improved when we stole some money off of one of the bars to buy beer. Mercyful Fate was up next and they better be really fucking good if they were going to be following Exciter. I must admit that back then I wasn’t sure how I felt about Fate. I loved their music but found King Diamond‘s singing pretty annoying. Bob Muldowney of my favorite fanzine Kick*Ass had started calling him Queen Rhinestone so I did, too. Fate‘s audience included a lot of dudes who were pretending to be Satanists, which I thought was silly. I had heard rumors of cults in Yonkers and White Plains but the reality was that they were living with their parents and smoking a lot of weeed, just like I was. I had a job after school and on the weekends which didn’t leave me a lot of time to worship Satan. Anyway, Mercyful Fate started playing and most people loved it while some hated it. I was pretty indifferent. I was also completely blotto. King Diamond was doing his banter in between songs in that ridiculous falsetto, which I thought was totally lame. I wasn’t really impressed with his bone mic stand, either but the band was tight as shit. I don’t think I watched their entire set and probably went back to the bar to try and steal more money for beer. I actually like Mercyful Fate a lot more now than I did back then and am able to enjoy King‘s unique voice. I often fantasize about an album I’d love to produce called Diamond Meets Diamond, duets between King Diamond and Neil Diamond. Can you imagine the incredible version of “Delilah” they could do?
Once Fate was done, it was time for the main event – MOTÖRHEAD! Exciter and Mercyful Fate both had a lot of amps on stage but Motörhead’s backline dwarfed them. This was gonna be good. Back then smoking was still allowed at shows and there was always a giant cloud of pot smoke over the crowd. As we were sitting there wishing we had saved some of our weeed, a good samaritan turned around and passed us a HUGE joint. It was Jim and Pete, two friends from Pelham that were a year or two ahead of us. They must have spotted us and decided to help us out. This random act of kindness would be repeated several times over the years – Johnny Winter, also at the Beacon, Bad Brains at L’Amours, Rollins Band at CBGB. Thanks again bros, I owe you both big time.
Now that our attitudes had been fully adjusted and my insanity level was at its peak, Motörhead strolled out. Lemmy picked up an empty Jack Daniels bottle off the stage and yelled into the mic “I get hit with anything, the show’s over!” before blasting off with “Iron Fist.” Just as I had hoped, it was really, really loud. The headbanging I’d done earlier in the night was merely a warmup. “Stay Clean,” “Metropolis,” and “Ace of Spades” were mixed in with the new “Killed by Death” and “Steal Your Face.” Everyone was going completely mental. Rows of seats were now completely loose, not just from people kicking them but from shaking them violently as they clutched them while headbanging. This was before slam dancing, or “moshing,” became expected at metal shows. Hair was flying around, fists pumping and row after row of heads moving in unison like pistons in a giant engine of steel. While introducing the song “Jailbait” Lemmy demanded to see some tits and several ladies obliged. Could things get any better? Yup. When they cranked out “No Class” none other than Wendy O. Williams came flying out on stage to sing it. She had barely any clothes on and was screaming her brains out while running around like a maniac. Eventually it all came to an end with “Overkill,” as it always should. Dumbfounded, everyone left. There was no question that Motörhead wrote the book on what was becoming known as thrash metal and were about to write a few new chapters for everyone else to steal from.
This really was one of the greatest nights of my life. It was so much fun and so full on. Not much has topped it in the past 28 years. As fate would have it, December 14, 201,2 fell on a Friday night and my band Mighty High played a gig at Trash Bar in Brooklyn. Was it anything close to what went down in 1984? No fucking way, but not a bad way to have celebrated this anniversary. Stay clean in 2013!
I know Motörhead doesn’t get mentioned much around here. In a way, I feel like it’s not necessary. They’re Motörhead. They do Motörhead stuff. They’re louder than everyone, Lemmy is the king of the badasses, etc. It’s all been said. If Motörhead was going to put out a flamenco album or something, I’d probably talk about it, but otherwise, aren’t they kind of a given?
“(I Won’t) Pay Your Price” might seem like a random pick. It’s not “Stay Clean” or “Ace of Spades,” or whatever, but as I shelled out just over two grand this morning for sundry car repairs, I feel like it’s a pretty decent summation of how I was doing while signing that check, “Fast” Eddie Clarke solo and all. Some things you just feel in your gut.
Despite those auspicious beginnings, as far as an end to a chaotic week, today wasn’t so bad. I wanted terribly to transcribe the Black Cobra interview, and I just didn’t have time to do it. Doubtful that anyone else gives a crap, but I’d said I was going to do it, and it matters to me. I tried. The last three days, I tried. And it just didn’t happen.
What that means is this coming week, I’ll double up and have both that and my interview with Scott Hill from Fu Manchu about their recent reissues and tours playing In Search Of in its entirety. Stay tuned for those, and I’ll also have a track premiere from the new Esoteric record on Tuesday — weird as ever, but ultra-doomed — and reviews of Drone Throne, Samsara Blues Experiment, Electric Moon and Obrero.
Assuming I survive the Octobersnowpocalypse that all weather reports seem to be crapping their pants over in sensationalist panic, we’ll also wrap up the month of October and do the numbers and the rundown of what’s to come, and I can only imagine there’ll be Roadburn news and much more as well.
In the meantime, congratulations to any fans of the St. Louis Cardinals on that whole World Series thing, and I hope wherever you are, you have a great and safe weekend. See you on the forum and back here Monday. Huzzah.