40 Years Ago: Motorhead Celebrate ‘Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers’
On Nov. 22, 1980, many hard rock and metal fans were toasting the release of some more Motorhead product, in the shape of the Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers EP. But the band itself was in no mood to celebrate.
In fact, Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister (bass/vocals), "Fast" Eddie Clarke (guitar/vocals) and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor (drums) were none too pleased over the EP, which was essentially a petty cash grab by their former label Chiswick.
Years earlier, this very material had been flat-out rejected for release (along with Motorhead’s first long-player, subsequently reissued as On Parole), forcing the band to start from scratch at Bronze Records, where they recorded their seminal 1977 debut, the twin 1979 classics Overkill and Bomber, and, most recently, their biggest success yet with Ace of Spades.
Now, those once-rejected tracks were suddenly and conveniently deemed suitable for public consumption and surfaced just in time to capitalize on Ace of Spades' flight up the U.K. charts.
All that being said, the four-tracker did offer diehard fans another glimpse into Motorhead’s rawest early creations — beginning with the trio’s roaring reproduction of the new EP’s title track, and ZZ Top’s 1973 original, which saw Lemmy and Eddie trading vocal verses just like Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill.
Next up was “On Parole” (penned by original Motorhead and former Pink Fairies guitarist, Larry Wallis), followed by the self-explanatory band original “Instro” (half instrumental, half intro … to something) and, finally, a rambunctious cover of John Mayall’s “I’m Your Witch Doctor,” also containing some rare lead vocals from "Fast" Eddie.
Subsequent reissues on CD added more tracks from these old vaults, so the Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers EP has unfortunately joined a long list of unofficial Motorhead releases that have clogged and complicated the band’s discography over the years.
Every little bit has contributed something to the grand scheme of Motorhead's legendary career, though, and it’s therefore both amusing and fitting that the band endorses their very own line of beer, wine, vodka and whiskey today, ensuring that there will still be lots of beer drinking and hell raising to be done in their good name.
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