‘Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers: The Rise of Motorhead’ by Martin Popoff

That title is a very fair description of Motorhead. They certainly were beer drinkers and hell raisers… especially in their golden years, the time of the Three Amigos line-up: Lemmy, Fast Eddie, and Philthy Phil!

To put it in perspective, circa ‘No Sleep Till Hammersmith’ everyone knew who Motorhead was. They were even on programs like TISWAS and Top of the Pops, and the public knew them through quotes from Lem like, ‘I came from a broken home… I broke it!’ or ‘If we moved next door to you, your lawn would die!’

Just reading this book made me happy; it really does cover a special time, and Martin Popoff captures it well. It is no exaggeration to say that he is the James Brown of rock journalism – he is the hardest working man!

Popoff brings a wealth of experience to a book that is extensive, fair (both sides of the story given by members who left/were fired), but always fun to read. I feel also that its focus on the golden years removes some of the melancholy of Lemmy’s still raw to us all death. I get the feeling that Martin knows all the material in the book from first-hand experience; it has that fly on the wall vibe.

There is also a strong contribution from Fast Eddie, now the last amigo, the last one standing of the classic line-up, who says, and it sums Motorhead up well: “I have too many regrets to go into now but overall I think I have been very fortunate to have met and played with all the people I have. I do not think I would change a thing, as I would not risk losing the music and the memories I have. Whatever happens I have no complaints.”

Visually, it’s a beautifully designed book, with a terrific assortment of photos.

Overall, one of the best books on Motorhead. Two further books I could see Martin Popoff doing a grand job of would be a book on Lemmy’s legendary Hawkwind years, and a bio of Fast Eddie, who I feel really deserves one.

ECW Press

Martin Popoff

Steve Earles

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (http://toendallwarscomic.wordpress.com/writers/).