Ace Of Spades

It seems to be a little known fact that Ian Fraser Kilmister, or better known as Motörhead frontman Lemmy, was born in Burslem, the Mother Town of Stoke-on-Trent. In a matter of hours this will be recognised with the placement of a blue plaque at Port Vale’s home ground.  

For those who are not familiar with the blue plaque, it’s a circular blue plaque placed on, or near buildings of historical significance associated with a famous person. They could have been born there, lived there or performed in a venue. It’s something that’s been going in this country since the 1860’s, but mainly in London in its early years. 

Earlier in the year to celebrate BBC Music Day all (well I’m assuming all) local BBC radio stations invited submissions for people or places locally to be nominated. There’s not a massive pool of choice from the North Staffordshire area, but being unbiased Lemmy was easily the best candidate. The only two nominees I can recall from the radio stations listenership were local singer Jackie Trent (known for singing on the theme songs for Australian TV soap Neighbours) and a venue called The Golden Torch which was a leading light (pun intended) for the Northern Soul movement of the late 1960’s. 

The accolade is very deserving for an icon of the heavy metal genre. It’s being unveiled tonight at 6pm by some guy called Tony Iommi, I’d liked to have gone to have a snoop, but due to the rock and roll life style I lead I’m sitting at home waiting for a shopping delivery to arrive between 5pm and 9pm. Living the dream right here. 

The placement at the football ground is adequate, even though I support the other team in the city. He was born in the town and performed at the ground once back in 1981 in the inaugural Heavy Metal Holocaust. Personally though I’d liked to have seen it situated in Hanley – the areas city centre. I think it would  be a good idea to have a walk of fame like the Hollywood Boulevard or Birmingham’s Broad Street, around our cultural quarter and the Victoria Hall, a venue Motörhead played at least three times. Which ever way to slice it though it’s still recognition for what was extreme music back in the day. 

My main gripe is the wording on the plaque.  
“Motörhead founder & singer, who’s song Ace of Spades has been adopted by Port Vale FC”. 



 Nothing about him being born in the town or actually performing at the ground. At the time of writing this, it is the only concert (infamously poorly ran by all accounts), to have been held on the grass at Vale Park. If they’re dishing them out for adoption it won’t be long until Tom Jones has a plaque at the Bet 365 stadium. 

I actually thought I’d already posted the quintessential Motörhead song Ace of Spades a long time ago, apparently not. On its 1980 release the single peaked at number 15 in the UK charts, only bettered by The Golden Years Live EP a year later. The same song reached number 13 after being reissued in 2016, not long after Lemmy’s death. 

We are Motörhead and we play rock ‘n’ roll…..

1916

July 1st 2016, and more specifically 7:30am, marks the start of one of the biggest battles of World War I, and the bloodiest in history, the Battle of the Somme in an area around the Belgian town of Ypres a century ago.

On the first day alone almost 20,000 Allied soldiers were killed. By the time the battle ended in November of 1916 more than 1.3 million men from both sides were killed, wounded or missing.

 

Not strictly connected with this particular battle, this poem by Canadian soldier and poet Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae from Guelp, Ontario, tells of the sacrifices of the soldiers on the front line. It was written the year before after the funeral of a friend who died in battle in the same area where the Battle of the Somme was to take place.

Poignantly the closing minutes of British comedy series Blackadder Goes Fourth depicts the young soldiers, many of them still teenagers, going over the top to face a barrage of machine gun fire.

Just to keep a musical theme, here’s the final track from Motörhead’s 1991 album 1916. The lyrics are well worth a read.

16 years old when I went to the war,

To fight for a land fit for heroes,

God on my side, and a gun in my hand,

Chasing my days down to zero,

And I marched and I fought and I bled

And I died & I never did get any older,

But I knew at the time, That a year in the line,

Was a long enough life for a soldier,

We all volunteered,

And we wrote down our names,

And we added two years to our ages,

Eager for life and ahead of the game,

Ready for history’s pages,

And we brawled and we fought

And we whored ’til we stood,

Ten thousand shoulder to shoulder,

A thirst for the Hun,

We were food for the gun, and that’s

What you are when you’re soldiers,

I heard my friend cry,

And he sank to his knees, coughing blood

As he screamed for his mother

And I fell by his side,

And that’s how we died,

Clinging like kids to each other,

And I lay in the mud

And the guts and the blood,

And I wept as his body grew colder,

And I called for my mother

And she never came,

Though it wasn’t my fault

And I wasn’t to blame,

The day not half over

And ten thousand slain, and now

There’s nobody remembers our names

And that’s how it is for a soldier.

 

R.I.P. Lemmy

R.I.P. Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister


Born a Stokie 

Died a Legend

 

What truly horrible news to wake up to this morning, the sad passing of a real Rock ‘n’ Roll legend. I know grown men who will have shed a tear over this news this morning.

For 40 years with Motörhead and three before that with space rockers Hawkwind, Lemmy has been treading the boards all over the globe. Many expected him to be the only thing roaming the Earth with the cockroaches when the world implodes, but cancer really doesn’t care for reputations when the grim reaper is dispatched.

Very rarely seen with out a bottle of Jack Daniels or a packet of Marlboro’s, he notoriously lived the Rock ‘n’ Roll life style to the very end. By no means the right way to live, as I have seen put by some people today, but it was his way.

For me two bands with their roots in Stoke-on-Trent changed the face of heavy music to what we have had for over 35 years, Discharge – the D-Beat punk inovators, but no one more than Motörhead.

Motörhead bridged that gap between rock and punk and were (well, actually still are) embraced by all genres. Just look at at all the tributes paid to the man on social media since the news broke. Rock and metal heavyweights like KISS, Aerosmith, Nickelback, Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica. Thrash metal bands Kreator, Anthrax, Overkill and Dark Angel, prog rockers Rush. Conflict and Anti-Nowhere League from the punk world. Hatebreed, Cro-Mags and Agnostic Front from the hardcore scene. Glam metallers Mötley Crüe and Poison. I’ve even seen a tribute from indie rockers The Wonderstuff! Without Lemmy none of these bands, and countless more, would have existed and the musical landscape on the rock front might have been so so different. Even the usually stuffy Radio 2 have paid tribute to Lemmy throughout the day.

 

R.I.P. Phil Taylor

R.I.P. Phil Taylor

21 September 1954 – 11 November 2015. 

 

“My dear friend and brother passed away last night. He had been ill for some time but that does not make it any easier when the time finally comes. “

“I have known Phil since he was 21 and he was one hell of a character. Fortunately we made some fantastic music together and I have many many fond memories of our time together. Rest in Peace, Phil!”

Fast Eddie Clarke 

I woke up this afternoon to a social media overload of the untimely passing of ex-Motörhead drummer Philthy Animal Taylor. During two stints with the band he appeared on all the classic early albums from On Parole in 1975 thru to as recent a release of March Ör Die in 1992.

I nearly posted a Motörhead head song a few days ago as Ace Of Spades turned 35!!

From the album of the same name, here’s lead off track Overkill.