The crowd gets loud when the band gets right,
steel guitar cryin’ through the night.
Yeah, try’n to cover up the corner fight
but ev’rything’s cool ’cause they’s just tight

I’ve gone on record before saying that it should be a capital offence to cover either an AC/DC or ZZ Top song, because they are both such deceptively difficult bands to get right but still the suckers, pluckers and mother-cluckers keep on trying.  Scrap that.  I will allow one exception in my collection of perfection, my joint favourite trio, Motörhead.  Anyone else … (makes spine-tingling throat cutting gesture).

Please note Lego facial warts.
Please note Lego facial warts.

Motörhead’s 1980 EP is, strictly speaking, untitled although it is sometimes given the title Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers, so that’s what I’ll call it.  Basically this is a shameless bread-raking manoeuvre by Chiswick Records on the band’s ludicrous level of success that year, by releasing four tracks, two of them covers recorded during sessions for their debut LP, Motörhead, in 1977.  Lemmy didn’t mind at all, basically saying that without Chiswick there wouldn’t have been a Motörhead around to cash-in on, so it just didn’t matter.  Hurrah!

Motorhead Beer Drinkers 02

The title track is a lot of fun, vastly less-polished than the original Lemmy and Fast Eddie trade vocal lines just like the Top did on theirs and despite a far heavier bass and a divergent guitar solo, this is a pretty faithful cover.  The band really get it, allowing the track to breathe and flex its funky undercarriage.  You can really hear towards the end just how much ZZ Top’s proudly mutant blues rock influenced the Motörhead sound, even before the boys stole ‘Tush’ changed the number plates in some backstreet lock-up garage and put it back on the road as ‘No Class’.

Motorhead Beer Drinkers 01

‘On Parole’ is an interesting one too.  The sole Larry Wallis composition recorded by the band, it has a fairly straight-forward boogie-rock quality, with heavy overtones – almost a bit of Status Quo and AC/DC in its DNA*.  It’s an interesting evolutionary staging post in Motörhead’s development, an interesting evolutionary staging post with a really good guitar solo and some swearing – I always say they’re the best kind of interesting evolutionary staging posts.  Basically, in a couple of years the band got good enough to play this sort of stuff at double speed and a legend was born.

Motorhead Beer Drinkers 03
I get the 30cm – what the Dickens is a ‘UPM’? Unicorns Per Minute?

On Side 2 of Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers we get ‘Instro’, which is (drum roll) an instrumental, good enough but not inspired although again you can hear just what the band were reaching for and would later grab, throw over their shoulder like an unchaperoned farm animal and ravish at their leisure; come on haven’t we all done that at times? Oh, umm, just me then. Again.

Closer is a cover of John Mayall’s ‘I’m Your Witch Doctor’, which shows Lemmy’s roots again but doesn’t add much at all to proceedings, apart from a couple of strange yelps halfway through**.  I definitely view this one as a misfire.

Rock pig likes it
Rock pig likes it

So there you have it a historical curio produced by a member of Thunderclap Newman with some neat tracks on, which have been included as bonus tracks on every Motörhead CD re-release since the late Victorian era, not essential by any means but I’m pleased I’ve got it.  As the men say,

Ev’rything’s cool ’cause they’s just tight.

508 Down.

* I know it was recorded too early for AC/DC to have influenced it, but give me some artistic licence please! Pedant!

**an unchaperoned farm animal again? I wonder.

24 thoughts on “Motörbread

  1. Never heard any of these (I don’t have any of those re-issues, obviously!). Reckon this would be worth it just for Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers – very nice.

      1. I should do the same. It’s 2pm here and a right balmy -7C. Warmest it’s been in three weeks (lowest pushed about -30C). I really should be getting some fresh air into the undercarriage!

      2. Hey did I tell you the pipes in our shower froze solid a couple of weeks ago? Fantastic fun, worrying they’d burst… Nothing a space heater and cranking the baseboard heater in there for a few hours couldn’t fix (this time)…

        There’ve been over 80 cases in our town in the past week or so of water pipes bursting. But it’s not usually the ones inside houses – it’s the pipes going from the street (city water) to the house that are bursting. Fun times!

      3. It’s honestly not that bad, it’s like this every winter. Why the pipes are doing that this year, I dunno. And (as James’ll tell you) it’s often quite a bit colder out west than it ever gets here, so I never complain (my lovely wife does, though. She dislikes extreme cold). Anyway, reports say it’s in the oldest parts of town, where houses have been there over 100 years, that the pipes are doing this. Something about them being closer to the surface.

        Some enlightening reading here:

        Fortunately, our house is (so far) outside of the red-line warning areas. Not by much, mind you, but it is!

  2. Bit of a gap in my Motorcollection this. I don’t have any of their pre-Overkill stuff. Bands covering AC/DC and ZZ Top… I can’t think of any (apart from this one “obvs”). What are the particularly bad examples?

      1. My thoughts exactly. I’ve been saying those same words for years.

        When we lived in Montreal, she was taken as some sort of stickbug god. When they came back to town to baptise their baby, there was a bigger crowd and more streets blocked off for the event than there was when Maurice Richard died. Priorities people, priorities.

      2. The truly terrifying thing will be the number of children named Celine that surface in years to come. Or at least that’s what I was telling my son, Kanye, yesterday.

      3. The worst I’ve heard, recently, was in the famly locker room at the gym, and a parent was scolding her kids to get a move on, saying “Ariel! Jasmine! Get in here!”


  3. I can’t help thinking that 600 words on a Motorhead EP (can’t do the umlaut, sorry) is somewhat superfluous. Here’s a truncated version for your consideration:

    Fucking rocks. Crack tubes.


  4. Oooooh indeed! That’s not a bad ranking order at all. All the punks liked Motörhead, cos if you took out the solos there was no real difference in the music.

    I haven’t bought any reissues, just the original (or rereleased) vinyl versions, nothing fancy. I think Iron Fist is a really underrated LP and this EP is good because it’s pretty entertaining in its own right, but also shows how their signature sound was bolted together.

    I saw ’em twice, first time they were amazing (1916 tour), second time they looked tired and a bit half-hearted, might just have been an off night.

  5. Oooooh, now yer talkin’!! Motorhead is right up above Sabbath and just below AC/DC in my ranking of best metal bands of all time. Funny, ’cause I got into them during my punk phase. Saw them open for Alice Cooper, and they were just amazing.

    Have you got any of the deluxe reissues? Most of the 2nd disk stuff is pretty phenomenal, the Toronto concert on Iron Fist is of particular note. Love Aftershock as well.

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