Stuck, Ch. 14. Finding Lemmy: Motörhead, “Ace of Spades”

by Akim Reinhardt

Stuck is a weekly serial appearing at 3QD every Monday through early April. The Prologue is here. The table of contents with links to previous chapters is here.

Image result for ace of spades album coverI first heard Motörhead in 1988. I was a DJ at WCBN-FM, the student-run college radio station in Ann Arbor, Michigan. During my late night shift, someone called in a request for “Ace of Spades” from the band’s 1980 self-titled fourth album. I shuffled through the station’s categorized, alphabetized library and found the record. Its cover featured three guys in the desert, sporting black motorcycle leather and cowboy hats. One of them wore a bandolero across his chest. Another was casually draped in a serape.

Maybe they’ve got a ZZ Top kinda thing going on, I thought to myself as I slapped the album on the platter and dropped the needle.

No. They did not sound like ZZ Top.

Motörhead was more like the rockinist rockety-rock any rockers ever rocked. As in, pure rock-n-roll, extra rock please. Hold the bullshit.

Bass, guitar, drums. Period. Turn it up and spit it out.

Their music wasn’t punk or heavy metal, and it couldn’t be bothered to actively defy or coyly mimic either of those genres. No, Motörhead was just simple, angry, ornery, hard, fast, stripped down, straight head, pumped up, rock n roll with just a dash of levity. They were a hard crack to the chops that made you smile. Read more »