Close your eyes and imagine a world with no Motorhead.
Bands would play at respectable volumes, the whiskey supply would be exponentially greater and 60-something dudes would act their age instead of continuing to chase women like bloodhounds with the scent of game in the air.
It’s no world we want to live in.
“Yeah, well, we almost came close to that,” Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister says, alluding to some serious health issues that led him to cancel a number of Motorhead shows during the second half of 2013. “I didn’t like it much either!”
Kilmister says that he’s feeling better now, and Motorhead played their first gigs in seven months last week.
Tonight, they’re at The Pearl at the Palms.
Kilmister has had to give up drinking and smoking, though, a life change that he acknowledges in the sad tone of someone who has just had to put his dog to sleep.
“It’s a drag, you know?” he says. “But what can you do?”
Kilmister’s voice brightens a bit as talk turns to Motorhead’s latest record, and 21st overall, “Aftershock,” a vintage-sounding rager with nostrils flared that veers hard into the blues and even gravel-voiced balladry.
“We never have a plan, ever,” Kilmister says of making albums. “We just go in the studio and see what happens. It’s always more fun that way.”
Motorhead has been active for almost 40 years now, though the 68-year-old Kilmister recalls a time before there even was rock ’n’ roll.
“You guys have had rock ’n’ roll in the background your whole lives,” he says. “I remember when it was ‘How Much is That Doggy in the Window.’ It was awful. Then we got Bill Haley, and then Elvis showed up, and that was it.”
Since then, Motorhead has established themselves as part of that tradition — only faster, nastier and far louder.
Their iconic logo, a snarling boar with oversized fangs, emblazoned on tens of thousands of T-shirts over the years, has become one of heavy metal’s most enduring symbols.
“That T-shirt was immediate among the fans, but it wasn’t a big seller, because we didn’t have that many fans,” Kilmister chuckles. “But then it got better and better. People know who we are now. Even in America.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.