The Motörhead legend roars on in 2004 with the release of the new studio album Inferno on June 22 on Metal-Is Records, a division of the Sanctuary Records Group. It's the first album of new, skin-peeling material from vocalist/bassist Lemmy, guitarist Philip Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee since 2002's Hammered and it's the first Motörhead release since last year's critically acclaimed, five-disc, career-spanning box set Stone Deaf Forever!
Guitar legend Steve Vai makes a guest appearance on two tracks.
Inferno is an appropriate title for Motorhead's latest skull-grinding, internal-organ-liquefying album. The 12 tracks are: "Terminal Show," "Killers," "In the Name of Tragedy," "Suicide," "Life's a Bitch," "Down on Me," "In the Black," "Fight," "In the Year of the Wolf," "Keys to the Kingdom," "Smiling Like a Killer" and "Whorehouse Blues."
"This album is real musicians playing real music. There were no rules," Lemmy says.
It's not easy for the hard-living, fun-loving rock icon to pick out favorites on Inferno. Every song is special and important. "Music is very personal. It's just like sex in that way," says Lemmy.
Vai's blazing guitar performances on "Terminal Show" and "Down on Me" were the result of a casual social encounter with Lemmy at the famous Rainbow Bar & Grill in Hollywood.
"I was going in and he was coming out and we ran into each other. I told him we were recording and invited him down to sit in. He took me up on the offer," Lemmy says.
Motörhead has a distinctive musical style -- nobody grinds out a furious rock 'n' roll hybrid of heavy metal and punk like this band. But Lemmy always has a few tricks up his sleeve, and Motörhead albums tend to have a song or two that veer away from their trademark sound. On Inferno the honor belongs to the slinky "Whorehouse Blues," appropriately drenched in bluesy acoustic guitar and harmonica. "I like to surprise people," says Lemmy.
Motörhead's colorful history is well known. Lemmy -- born Ian Kilmister -- was a former roadie for Jimi Hendrix and eventually joined the space-rock band Hawkwind. Lemmy wrote and sang Hawkwind's big 1972 U.K. hit "Silver Machine." Upon exiting Hawkwind after four years, he formed Motörhead in 1975, naming the group after the last song he wrote for Hawkwind.
Motörhead’s aggressive, uncompromising, balls-out musical style (and personal lifestyle philosophy) shook the music world. Let's be blunt here: Motörhead invented speed metal. But the great thing about Motörhead is that they appealed to both punks and head-banging metalheads.
"We sounded like punk but looked like metal. I always felt we were more punk than metal anyway. I call it rock 'n' roll, but if I had to go down one side or the other I'd say we had more in common with punk than we have in common with heavy metal. We came out at the same time as the punks," Lemmy says.
The band's self-titled official debut album was released in 1977. Motörhead quickly built a rabid following through killer live shows and albums that were able to translate that power. 1981's legendary live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith rocketed to # 1 on the U.K. album charts. Another notable album in Motörhead’s canon is 1991's critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated 1916, which was nominated for Best Metal Performance. Motörhead earned a second Grammy nomination in 2000 for Best Metal Performance with a tribute to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" on the ECW: Extreme Music album.
As a live act, Motörhead is untouchable. Few scenes in heavy metal match Lemmy on stage -- standing his ground, head tilted slightly upward as he growls ferociously into his microphone and unleashes thunder from his Rickenbacker. Campbell's screaming sonic overload guitar completes the roaring string section, while Dee, surely one of the most inventive and brutal drummers you ever heard, drives along like a locomotive. Live, and on CD and on video, there is no one like them.
Motörhead will promote Inferno with yet another world tour this year. Ashes and rubble will be left in Lemmy, Cambell and Dee's wake.
Inferno is an enhanced CD. The enhancement will allow fans to sign up for Motörhead Internet service at www.motorheadrules.com.