True story. Sometimes three at a time. Yeah, that’s how Rock and roll I am. Oh yes, metal to the core.
Well okay I admit it I don’t for the following reasons
- It wouldn’t be safe.
- There is probably a specific offence on the statute books prohibiting it – The Violation of Endangered Wild Life Act (1988), or some such.
- I’m pretty sure at least two of my marriage vows forbade such high jinks, particularly with animals, male or female.
- I don’t fancy mountain lions anyway
Suffice to say if there is one living rocker out there who has tasted the joys of hot mountain lion lovin’ it would be Lemmy. He is a man I love unreservedly and totally. I genuinely can’t imagine life without Motörhead and I don’t want to either. My rocker uncle was a devotee and as a kid I remember their scary posters and records, including the copy of No Remorse with a black leather sleeve – even as a lifelong vegetarian, I have to admit that was simply cool as hell (sorry cows). My first real exposure to them was when they played ‘Ace of Spades’ on the University Challenge episode of The Young Ones and I liked it.
My first purchases of theirs were the shaped picture disc version of The One To Sing The Blues and the LP 1916 (on cassette so I could listen to it on my Walkman on the way home) which I got as soon as they came out. It was very snowy at the time in Leeds and I remember my big Hi-tec basketball boots, with black jeans naturally, sliding all over the place. Best of all though was the news Motörhead were touring and I saw them play a blistering live show in Bradford in February 1991, before getting into a fist fight in the station on the way home – ahh those were the days!
The single was great, there is always something innately pleasurable about an irregularly shaped piece of vinyl spinning on your turntable and it was a good single too. The B-side, ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ had an interesting riff and a rather exciting lat 20 seconds, but that was about it.
But anyway, I really liked 1916 and it still sounds good to me. I love the extended kiss-off of ‘The One To Sing The Blues’, the frantic drumming and the twist at the end, who couldn’t fall for Lemmy when he confesses at the end of 3 minutes of macho chest beating, ‘Listen to me faking, even though my heart is breaking / Miss you now you’re gone, now I’m the one to sing the blues’ ?* I remember the adrenalin just coursing through me when straight afterwards the band accelerated into ‘I’m So Bad Baby I Don’t Care’, where as well as boasting about his carnal knowledge of Puma concolor**, we learn he sleeps on red-hot branding irons, he’s older than the Rolling Stones and posits an unusual cure for any visually disabled people out there. ‘I make the blind to see / Shoot ’em full of R and B’. I love the jokey big-balled swagger of this song, descended straight from all the blues bragging you’ve ever heard.
Other highlights? there are loads – the creepy menace of ‘Nightmare / The Dreamtime’ and it’s Sisters of Mercy style synths, the early AC/DC / Status Quo-isms (I kid you not!) of ‘Going to Brazil’ and then there’s my favourite track of all. Possibly more famous now for actually being played by The Ramones themselves, ‘Ramones’ is an absolute belter of a track, 1:27 of sheer genius as far as I am concerned, a brilliant tribute to a brilliant band, by another brilliant band; what’s not to love? I also love the fact that The ramones took about 15 seconds off the song when they performed it live.
Actually I’ll tell you what’s not to love, ‘Love Me Forever’ which opens Side 2 is nothing short of a power ballad and quite reminiscent of Lemmy’s extra-curricular song-writing stints for the likes of Ozzy. It hurts, he doesn’t have the voice for this and Ed Stasium’s production doesn’t suit either. Some people hate the closing and title track and its plaintive tale of a 16 year-old boy soldier, set to a backing of (slightly dodgy) synths and a drum, I like it though. Lemmy’s wobbly singing voice works perfectly here and I’d actually compare it to Pink Floyd’s ‘When The Tigers Broke Through’. There are a few fillers scattered about on this LP too.
I did really enjoy 1916, a good few people I knew did. We all knew it wasn’t classic Motörhead, but that’s often been this band’s problem – they knocked out arguably, 4 of the best heavy metal LP’s ever in the space of 3 years and by 1991 they were ‘just’ a really, really good band, hence this good LP, as always happens though they get judged against that magic period – but much more about that later in the 1537.
*that’s one of them fancy rhetorical questions, as favoured by women and politicians.
**mountain lions for any non-ancient Romans out there.
(I think the audience are oddly staid during this performance)