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Rock Reads: Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers: The Rise of Motorhead by Martin Popoff

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

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Billed as the first book to celebrate Motorhead's classic line-up of Lemmy Kilmister, "Fast" Eddie Clarke and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, author Popoff focuses on the era that produced the self-titled album, Overkill, Bomber, Ace of Spades, No Sleep 'til Hammersmith and Iron Fist. Popoff, a Motorhead fan since he was 14, notes that he was finishing up the book before Kilmister or Taylor had died, lest fans think the book is an effort to capitalize on those deaths. All three members of the band were interviewed for the book and their commentary livens thing up throughout; Taylor reveals that he and Clarke once turned on a fire hose in a radio studio, Clarke recalls the genesis of his nickname and Lemmy makes it clear that he doesn't like to do early morning interviews, "I'd probably kill someone." But there is far more here than trivia and the pulling of pranks; Popoff chronicles the band through the various line-ups before the classic one, Motorhead's place in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement even though Motorhead never liked being referred to as a metal band, the time when the band was known as the worst band in the world, and their eventual progression to musical proficiency and much-loved status. All the drugs and the problems they caused play a big part in the story too; everyone knows that this is something Motorhead celebrated/struggled with their entire career, not just during this classic line-up. The book ends with sole survivor Clarke doing a little reminiscing circa 2015.


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