Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers: The Rise Of Motörhead

By Martin Popoff - Book Review

Martin Popoff’s Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers: The Rise Of Motörhead is a smack-you-in-the-face, pound-the-point-home, warts-and-all bio about what is arguably the heaviest metal band to ever plod across the Earth.

Motörhead, built on Lemmy Kilmister’s unique high-end bass sound and growling voice, is a meeting of the minds. Simple yet effective songwriting originating from lots of jamming, Lemmy’s lyrical views and a reputation built on some of the loudest shows ever — it’s all lovingly revealed here.

Popoff centers his story around what he feels (and many critics agree) is the essential lineup of Motörhead — leader, bassist, singer and songwriter Lemmy Kilmister, drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, and guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke — and the six albums they released between 1977 and 1982.

Popoff got into the band on their Overkill album, and he dissects that release song by song, with old interviews from the band members included, as he does the rest of this specific trio’s oeuvre. I love this song-by-song critique, especially with the members chiming in on where a song came from and what it meant.

There’s as much here for the fan to gobble up as a musician to enjoy, even someone who isn’t a Motörhead fan. We get the rich history of Lemmy’s own bio, his days as Jimi Hendrix’s roadie and playing in Hawkwind, plus a well-researched account of how Motörhead fit in better with the punk bands of the 70s than they did with many of the mainstream rock bands at the time. And not ever, as Lemmy points out more than once here, with the Heavy Metal scene, which Motörhead is often lumped into.

There is a sweet tribute to both Taylor and Lemmy (both men dearly departed) but for the most part Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers: The Rise Of Motörhead champions the great life and hard hitting music of this one-of-a-kind trio.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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