George Starostin's Reviews



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Brian Dickson <> (06.09.2005)

As for Motorhead being your "parent's worst nightmare" I respectfully disagree. I've played a few Motorhead tracks to my 58 year old mother and she seemed to like them (albeit at low volume) You can't deny that Motorhead had some hooks in their music!


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Tagbo Munonyedi <> (02.04.2006)

Motorhead were held in high esteem by the punks and post - punks even though they were criticising many of their peers and the general style of music......but I suspect that they were overly respectful coz they were afraid of Motorhead ! These were not guys to mess about with. But also, Motorhead were more punk than any punk band, both in attitude and sound wise. They were raw, uncompromising and far more skilful, being deceptively simplistic. If you listen to music from the period, Motorhead seem so out of sorts with BOMBER, yet it really is fantastic. It's almost as though they occupied their own musical space and I think they played a big part in the rejuvenation of heavy rock in the couple of years to follow. This is an underrated album that is so electric and tends to get buried by the two classics that followed it. But it's a wonderful example of scorching music meeting words that make you think. Lemmy is a psycoanalyst's dream ! I'm a firm believer in art being a God inspired expression of the inner workings of humanity and what's within us comes out, one way or the other. Even when we don't intend it to or realize it is ( people close to Syd Barrett reckon he knew he was breaking down when he penned 'Jugband blues', for example. I don't - but it's clear he was ). Christ made the observation that as a person is within, so they will ultimately show themselves to be. Lemmy has been one of rock's more interesting writers IMO over the last 30 years. Many of his views were [ are ] controversial and they found their way into the bands' songs and struck a chord with many a 'couldn't care less' nihilist, not to mention more than the odd hedonist. This, on the surface, was stuff that surely had to be tongue in cheek [ and knowing Lemmy and Phil Taylor, other unmentionable places ] laughs that couldn't be taken seriously. Because Lemmy was and is one of the funniest rockers ever, a hilarious character. But there was more to him than met the eye and Lemmy's world view was shaped by his beginnings in a way that runs deeper than even guys like Lennon. DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES is a great opener, a bruising cruncher of a tune that lyrically is a mass of contradictions. For a man who was always so open about his drug use and happilly flouted the rules regarding such, and for a man whose view seemed to amount to 'do what you want and don't let anyone tell you what to do', it's more than ironic to hear this anti - heroin song ! He says he lost alot of people to the drug. In LAWMAN, he has a pop at those who live by laws and rules, a popular heavy metal view of the times [ actually a popular rock notion per se ] that contradicted some of the stance of the opener. LAWMAN is a tremendous song though, followed by one of my favourites on the album, the insanely brilliant SWEET REVENGE. It's a measure of the strides made in popular music in the preceding 16 years and the power of the artist, that a song like this could make it onto an album without having to be disguised. It is so blatant in it's descriptions and the music is suitably morose, slow and agonized, with a literally wicked riff running through it. The way it ends, with Lemmy producing orgasmic pronouncements of revenge, is the stuff nightmares are made of ! This man was a great tuneful shouter, I think he had a truly unique voice and way of, well, singing. SHARPSHOOTER is also a good example of his rhythmic way of singing and the way he gets his words to scan, acting almost as a percussion effect. This could be quite an ambiguous song or it could be seen as a chase then screw account. Wonderfully tight playing too. All of the lyrics on this and other Motorhead albums would be a joke to be taken with no more seriousness than ice cream, were it not for POISON. Many of the groups' songs contain autobiographical segments and lines and thoughts and feelings, but this one for me is the most significant by a long way. The first two verses contain some startling admissions and, between the lines, a yearning for someone, despite the despair. But it's the third verse that takes the writings of Motorhead into a completely different sphere and forces me to see their lyrics as not just standard heavy metal fare. The events of one's early life can have a major impact that bring about consequences that one never truly escapes rock / pop, John Lennon is possibly the most publicized example of someone who was so totally shaped / scarred in their life and art by events of early childhood - but he's by no means the only one. In fact, he's not even in the minority ! And POISON shows Lemmy to be one, despite the cocky and confident pronouncements, that was hugely affected by such events. The couldn't care less attitude, the hatred of religion in general and christian morality thinking in particular, the total anti - authority stance, all these stem from the same event - Lemmy's RAF chaplain dad leaving the family home when Lemmy was a few months old and never returning, thus leaving his mum and him in Shit Street. This event has it's fingerprints right through his fascinating autobiography and it crops up in one form or another in many of his songs [ even a song like 'Jailbait' has the subtext of the underage sexpot going against her parents ]. It makes uncomfortable reading, listening and also makes for great art and makes much of Motorhead's early output so interesting to listen to. If there's one emotion that comes across in both the lyrics and in particular, the sound, on BOMBER, the album, it's anger. It's brilliantly played and cleverly conveyed. The things Lemmy was saying in POISON, he was still espousing 23 years later in his book. Because I know he means what he says, it puts a different slant on his other lyrics like BOMBER and SWEET REVENGE. It's now hard to gauge what's tongue in cheek and what's serious. That all said, POISON is a fantastic song and I think Lemmy was hurting somewhere when he did it. Fast Eddie's playing wails with pain and anguish and weird tones. STONE DEAD FOREVER is an absolute monster, with a riff that could blow up a train and a vocal delivery that would scare the hardiest of children. Again, Fast Eddie takes the honours with his playing; the three solos he knocks out are fast and furious. Lemmy once described himself as a frustrated lead guitarist and this is one of the reasons I so highly rate his playing. He plays lead and rhythm and provides great bottom to the songs in a way that enhances and entertains. I think Phil Taylor was the perfect foil for his playing, doing the right things simply and the simple things right. ALL THE ACES is one of those songs where the anger of words and sound is put to stellar use, a righteous rant against the rip off merchants of rock'n'roll. Few people have been this blatant in song, at least in those days. STEP DOWN is lyrically a re - run of Deep Purple's HARD LOVING MAN but with attitude. Instead of apologetically making excuses to get away and catch the train, the protagonist in the song makes it clear that he's in charge and calling the shots. Musically, it's a slow one, with another one of those great riffs running through it and an interesting vocal from Eddie. Funny thing, he's not a good singer or a bad one, but after Lemmy he sounds so thin and weedy. I like the song though, it's one of the ones I automatically rewind. There's hardly any words though ! TALKING HEAD is one that Lemmy thought was crap and I have to agree with him, at least where the words are concerned. It's about the TV and irony of ironies, he sounds like a more hip version of one of those uptight christians who have a monomania about the evils of telly ! It's so funny. But when set to that stomping juggernaut of a tune and bone shredding riff, it could be about any one of a thousand gripes. But there is a certain truth in some of his pronouncements, we worry about it's influence on our kids, after all. Lemmy's deeper than his good time image hinted at. And because he's often been so open about his love of Nazi regalia, it can be easy to not know where he stands on certain things; coz of some of his lyrics, you don't know whether he supports the kind of bombing campaigns alluded to in BOMBER or whether he's merely commenting on the horror of it all, dropping bombs on people and how it dehumanizes. But either way, BOMBER is one of the hottest of Motorhead's early output. It's a great number played at furious intensity and sung superbly. At some points it sounds like he's singing in some West African dialect -" issi bomma, issi bomma ". It may have been Lemmy's band and he was undoubtedly it's guiding hand, but this line up played as a band, truly one voice. It is an album full of groovy melodies if one is prepared to stretch a bit [ after all, Lemmy loved Abba ] and yet all played with a venom and energy that few have rivalled, let alone equalled.


Paul <> (25.04.2004)

Thanks, buddy, I'm gonna get this music, if I've gotta kill someone, to get it. Okay, maybe not quite that, but you get the idea.

"This is an awesome album. Awesome."


You do a great-service, to humanity, George!

Rock-on, Pal!


Steve Potocin <> (18.12.2002)

I saw Motorhead on Latenight with David Letterman, and I was sittin on my couch [this was the mid 80s] and I'm eating my cheetos, and The Most [ I'm now going to speak in Zeppelin for a moment] ASS KICKIN version of 'Johnny Be Goode' comes out of the T.V. Some guy with flesh covered golf balls on his mug singin the SHIT out of it , while he and the band rocked righteously! Went out the next day, and bought No Sleep, and was not dissapointed. Always good to throw on when the party is gettin stuffy! Long live Lemmy!

Lionel Marechal <> (28.06.2003)

Well... I bought it last week and I'm a bit disappointed. The songs really sound like their studio counterparts, espetially the ones from Ace of Spades. The most disappointing is Eddie Clarke's solos : some of them are the same NOTE FOR NOTE ! But the sound is amazing : Lemmy's bass is as metallic as I could dream, and Phithy really sounds like a sledgehammer. "Overkill" has always been my favourite Motorhead song, and this version TEARS ! and, as disappointed as I was, I've listened to this record 4 times in a week ! Long life Lemmy!

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (26.03.2006)

I had wanted to listen to Motorhead for about 18 months before I did and when I did, back in '81, this album had just been released and the band were possibly at the height of their powers. Not only is this one of the most wittyly titled albums, it's one heck of a place to start listening to this crowd. I say the title is witty, actually it's a darned intelligent manifesto. Rarely could the whole philosophy of an artist or group be so adequately represented in just four words........Basically, in those days, Hammersmith Odeon was the mecca of the British touring circuit, certainly for heavy bands. They'd start a British tour at the Glasgow Apollo in Scotland ( yes, Ma'am, I did say Scotland.....) and work their way south and usually the finale would be a few nights at the Hammersmith Odeon. No sleep is a phrase that leaves little to the imagination ! At this point in my life I was well immersed in matters heavy but this album was a mailed fist to the gonads. It's not the best I've heard, but it's certainly the heaviest I've ever heard, track after track of mesmerizing, blistering, loud, dizzbusting, ear bleeding, brain shaking, speedy chugging, screaming heavy rock. But it is by no means brainless shit. It's actually got melody, subtlety ( yes ! ) and interesting and intelligent writing. I could see a bitter soul diva doing these songs and though it would obviously sound different, the essential song would remain in most cases.

Back in 73 there was this jazz - rock group called Back Door and their main pulling point was their revolutionary bass player, Colin Hodgkinson. He was doing harmonics, slapping and full chording long before Jaco Pastorious.....well, Lemmy was a pretty revolutionary bass player, he plays bass, lead, rhythm and chords, sometimes all within the same passage. And Fast Eddie was an excellent guitarist, sympathetic and inventive. He plays these songs like he totally loved what he was doing, he's like a kid locked in a sweetshop ! Phil Taylor plays like he'd only been playing drums for 5 weeks......and all he'd listened to was " Four Sticks ". But for this kind of music, absolutely right. MOTORHEAD ( I defy anyone work out the lyrics based on this rendition ! ), ACE OF SPADES, OVERKILL, CAPRICORN and BOM - BER (that's how Lemmy introduces it ) are the highlights for me. OVERKILL in particular is spectacular, the drums are kicking ( literally ), the bass buzzes like a giant electronic wasp and four Fast Eddie solos is almost too much to bear. I think CAPRICORN is the most tuneful track here, this ode to lonliness, and the start of Eddie's last solo on the last rendition of " capricorn..." is orgasmic. But the album as a whole is exciting and thrilling. WE ARE THE ROAD CREW isn't as empathetic as it sounds, I think Lemmy has his eyes on the days when he was a roadie for Hendrix. But it's full of great little puns and serves as a neat job description ! And his road crew was honoured whenever this was played. Whatever faults Lemmy may have had, you always got the impression that he treated his crew well. It's easy to see why the band was so popular in it's heyday, but Lemmy gets kind of irritable that people only cast their minds back to this era and line up. Serves him right for making such memorable music. But he understands coz he feels the same way about Little Richard.


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