Called up to 'The Show' with Motorhead
This week, I was going to try to answer a few of the questions you have all sent into my "mailbag" here at ESPN. But, I have been overwhelmed this week with the sheer power of the mighty Motorhead and thought I'd share a bit of what that is like.
Oh, and to those of you who might blubber on about Motorhead not being sports-related, and "why am I reading about a rock band on ESPN?" I shall pre-empt all of that garbage with a simple suggestion: Go read some other dude's column this week. Period.
Yes, I am still on the road with my band, Loaded. This tour will, in the end, see me land in no fewer than five continents in a scant 30 days. To say that my bandmates and I are exhausted would be a laughable understatement. My kids, I hear, have begun to point at a picture on the wall back at home and say "That's my dad." I'm not a real physical personage anymore to them. My wife refers to me as "what's his name?" My clothes are filthy. My hands and vocal cords are ripped and torn. My eyes are so bloodshot that I don't even need rose-colored glasses anymore … I simply must just assume that life is just grand outside of my peripheral and double-vision'd view …
But, all of that is rather beside the point.
We are ending up this tour run, with seven sold-out shows in Germany, opening for Motorhead. If you are a rock band of Loaded's size and ilk, playing Germany with Motorhead is like making it to The Show when you get called up to the major leagues in baseball. We have been "called up," and even my wife and daughters from afar revere the great Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee.
This past 10 days away from home have been the hardest, but playing with Motorhead makes things OK. We would have said "no" to any other offer and simply gone home after South America.
The Life asked columnist Duff McKagan to give us some music recommendations. Here's what he had to say:
Motorhead: "Killed By Death" from "No Remorse" (iTunes | Amazon) -- One of the all-time MH classics. There is nothing better than to hear the almighty Lemmy rip into the opening bass line of this song … live. His bass tone is comparable to a 747 taking off. Pure shred.
Motorhead came to be sometime around 1979. With a perfect mix of all the good parts of punk and heavy metal, Motorhead forged the way as leaders to all of the rest of us who would shortly form bands.
From Metallica to Megadeth to Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Guns N' Roses, and on and on … they all have noted Motorhead as a key influence.
And it's not just the music of Motorhead that sets them apart from all of the rest of us. Lemmy's no-B.S. attitude toward touring and making records, and his relentless touring stamina, make everyone else rather pale and weak in comparison. He is like the Brett Favre of rock 'n' roll … well, except Lemmy Kilmister is still playing and doesn't cry.
Through all of the fads and assorted "press darling" bands and artists over the past 30 or so years, Motorhead just simply pinned their ears back and did what they wanted. They could never be bothered with trying to fit in. And their consistency remains a sort of explosive touchstone for all of us who need to be reminded of what is real and true and honest about rock music.
Actually being here on the road with Motorhead is to get an awe-inspiring peek into legend. Motorhead guitarist Campbell has never been better. Dee plays drums like a beast possessed. And Lemmy is still more on top of his game than five 20-year-olds combined.
If you get a chance to see this band, just don't even try to think twice about it. They are the very best of what it is all about … it is like going to rock 'n' roll church.
Musician Duff McKagan -- who writes for Seattle Weekly, has written for Playboy.com and has his autobiography out now -- writes a weekly sports column for ESPN.com. To send him a note, click here and fill out the form.
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