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"We want to be the band that, if this band moved in next door to you, your lawn would die."—Lemmy Kilmister
Motörhead was found in the middle of The Seventies 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 Seventies. Despite being called "the most punk band of the Heavy Metal scene", Lemmy prefers to call the music of his band by the simple name of "Rock And Roll".
The band is composed 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)
- Motörhead - 1977
- On Parole - 1979
- 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
Some examples of tropes which fits with the band:
- The Alcoholic: Lemmy has admitted he's an alcoholic, claiming to have consumed a bottle of Jack Daniel's on a daily basis since the late '70s, but doesn't care because it doesn't turn him into an asshole. He's also been known to say that he can't quit drinking because "My insides are in an alcohol solution, and without it they'll die."
- All Drummers Are Animals: Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor
- Anti-Love Song: "Too Good To Be True" from March ör Die.
- Awesome McCoolname: Lemmy Kilmister.
- Badass: Lemmy Kilmister, of course!
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 or Die album.
- Bawdy Song: "The Claw", "Ridin' With the Driver" (arguably)
- Bedlam House: "Back at the Funny Farm" from Another Perfect Day.
- Berserk Button. Don't tell Lemmy his band plays Heavy Metal. It's Rock 'n' Roll!
- Catch Phrase: "We are Motörhead. We play Rock 'n' Roll!", which is what Lemmy says at the beginning of every show.
- Cool Plane: On the cover of Bomber.
- Cover Version: They've covered a lot of songs. Let's see... "The Train Kept-A-Rollin'" by Tiny Bradshaw, "I'm Your Witchdoctor" by John Mayall, "Emergency" by Girlschool, "Please Don't Touch" 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", "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.
- Department of Redundancy Department: "Killed by Death".
- Determinator: "Stand" from March or Die
- Distaff Counterpart: Girlschool were marketed this way by Bronze Records.
- Drugs Are Bad: "Lost Johnny" from Motörhead and On Parole.
- Eat the Rich: The song "Eat The Rich" was written as the title track for the Britcom 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.
- God Is Evil:
- "God Was Never on Your Side" from Kiss of Death.
- "Orgasmatron" is pretty much a Badass Boast from a malevolant god.
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: Motörhead was a Hawkwind song written by Lemmy when he was there. Also, the term is slang for speed user.
- 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.
- Heavy Meta: "Rock 'n' Roll" and "Rock 'n' Roll music"
- Heavy Metal Umlaut: One of the first examples. If Blue Oyster Cult is the Ur Example, then Motörhead are the Trope Codifier.
- 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
- I Am the Band: Lemmy, basically, IS Motörhead.
- I Call It Vera: Lemmy's bass, Rickenbastard. 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. NEVER tell him 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.
- 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.
- Kavorka Man: Lemmy is not privileged in looks, and yet slept with over 2,000 women. It probably helps that he actually respects women; he takes offense if anyone claims they can't play rock as well as men.
- Lighter and Softer: "I Got Mine" (still heavy but more melodic than usual), "Whorehouse Blues" (acoustic blues)
- Long Runner Lineup: Type 2. Kind of a bizarre example. While most people assume the band is basically Lemmy plus two other guys, drummer Mickey Dee has been in the band since 1992 and guitarist Phil Campbell has been in the band 27 years (which makes him by far the longest remaining bandmember not counting Lemmy). But while the current lineup has been together for 1992 the lineup is technically only 16 years old as until 1995 they had a 4th guitar player who was in the band for 11 years.
- 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. He's in his mid-60s and he drinks at least one bottle of Jack Daniel's every day (and has for the last 35 years), he loathes vegetables and lives on a diet of mostly meat and cheese, he's been a smoker since he was 11 years old, and he also does copious amounts of drugs (mainly speed). Despite all this his liver, lungs, and kidneys are fine and he maintains a touring schedule that would exhaust men half his age.
- Mascot: Snaggletooth, the war pig.
- Chained by Fashion: The chains on his tusks.
- Cool Train: Orgasmatron's cover has him depicted as this.
- Made of Explodium: On the cover of Overkill.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Artist Joe Petagno created him by merging together skulls of a gorilla, a wolf and a dog and giving him boar's tusks.
- Scaled Up: Snake Bite Love's cover.
- 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.
- Name's the Same: "Killed by Death" single has two different tracks named "Under the Knife".
- 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 is nearly 67 but still looks pretty damn good, appearing to be in his mid-40's to early 50's. This is amazing considering the fact that he's been an alcoholic and smoker for so many years; he's blessed considering that what he's been doing has been proven to make people look older than they are.
- Parental Incest: "Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me" from Bastards.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Lemmy is a collector of Nazi memorabilia, and has a very large collection. This has led some pundits to accuse him of being a Nazi sympathizer, but Lemmy has denied this. He actually considers himself an anarchist who is "anti-fascism, communism, any extreme" and claims that "government causes more problems than it solves", and he collects 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
- Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: Lemmy has slept with more than 2,000 women, he's notorious for his love of speed and booze and hes been kicking ass around the world with Motorhead for 35 years and counting.
- 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.
- 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 says 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.
- Those Wacky Nazis: "Brotherhood of Man", again:
- Three Chords and the Truth: One of the few bands that both metalheads and punks like.
- Trope Maker: For Speed Metal
- Villain Song:
- "The Game", Triple H's main entrance theme.
- "King of Kings", one of Triple H's other songs.
- "Line in the Sand", Evolution's entrance theme.
- Wasted Song: "Hell on Earth" can only be found on Hellraiser III Hell On Earth OST.
- World War I: 1916's coverart 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", "Stone Dead Forever".