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HARDWARES

MOTÖRHEAD

Live To Win by Alan Burridge

Cleopatra

Reviewed by : Mark Gromen
Rating : 8.0

This new, 220 page, black, hard bound tome, with silver War Pig embossed on cover, is distributed by Cleopatra Records. Might have had a little more impact if published prior to the Lemmy documentary, but since Burridge has been writing about the band since ’79 and served as president/editor of the ‘Head fanclub, he’s certainly an “informed” individual. Chapters are broken down chronologically, year-by-year: Seventies covered in about 30 pages, Eighties (50), Nineties (30) and 40 more for the new millennium (the book ends in 2010). Plenty of visuals, including great unearthed original promo photos of “Lemme” or ’96-’97 candids of the clean shaven bassist! Oddly, visuals throughout the book are not always chronological: Larry Willis shots appearing in late 90s chapters? Pix from Russia, ’97 are displayed on a hammer & sickle (flag) background, yet no reference to those dates at all. Dragnet detective Joe Friday would be proud, as the narrative tends to dwell solely on the facts (with little back story or commentary, be it from Burridge or band) It’s almost exclusively UK centered, meaning comments about overseas tours garner nothing more than: US tour began X date and lasted until Y date (occasionally, a start/stop venue/city is mentioned), but no particulars and (sadly) definitely no tales of shenanigans. Even line-up changes are discussed with frightening little insight. With Lem’s move to Los Angeles (1990), the commentary becomes less day-to-day, with more introspective reviews of 1916 and March Or Die. With releases, Burridge needlessly lists the complete tracklisting for each studio effort, but the one area where the author truly shines is offering behind the scenes connections to any/all musicians, producers and record execs involved, especially those in the earliest years. A fascinating study in research! Can’t agree with his assertion that the lyrics to ‘Orgasmatron’ are “The best in rock since Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway To Heaven.” (page 90). Interesting to hear about British TV commercials (potato chips, Kit Kat bars) that starred MOTÖRHEAD music and/or Lemmy. The list of support bands from various tours reads like a music cemetery, which might just be Motorhead’s greatest achievement, longevity in a throwaway culture (be it music or LA). The final 14 pages are exclusively single and double page photo spreads, the only text is a one page posthumous tribute to Wurzel, where Burridge remembers his first meeting and other remembrances. Shame there wasn’t more of that input throughout the book.



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