MARTIN POPOFF – Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers: The Rise of Motörhead
This upcoming book on the mighty and sadly missed Motörhead by noted author Martin Popoff is a treat. In fact, Mr. Popoff happens to be one of my favorite authors when it comes to biographies and the likes, and I was secretly kind of hoping that he would do one on Motörhead one day. Lo and behold, my wish has come true. While I respect and admire pretty much every era of Motörhead’s long and inspiring career (well, with one or two exceptions), this 280-page beauty of Popoff’s suitably titled "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers: The Rise of Motörhead" primarily focuses on the first few and arguably most beloved and revered albums of the band’s, namely "Motörhead", "Overkill", "Bomber", "Ace of Spades", "No Sleep ’til Hammersmith", and "Iron Fist". Some of the EPs and singles from that era as well as the "On Parole" album are also touched on, but, like I said, the main focus of the book rests on the aforementioned six bona fide classics.
As is usually the case when it comes to books by Popoff, the wealth of research, details, anecdotes, and stories are impressive and simply begging to be devoured by all you ferocious readers out there. Needless to say, there is plenty about sex, drugs, and hard-edged rock ‘n’ roll to be found here, but what I find truly captivating and interesting are the chapters and sections on how the band functioned as a group, both as musicians and individuals. Reading about how the creative juices, the tensions, the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyles, the camaraderie, the disagreements, the high, the lows, and the iconic music all flowed together and resulted in this wonderful thing named Motörhead is thought-provoking and mind-blowing. Even if you do have an in-depth knowledge of everything Motörhead, I can guarantee you that you will learn something from this book. The cool thing is that you can tell that Popoff is a fan of the band and knows the discography intimately, but he is also honest and candid, which is to say that he is neither blind nor ignorant when it comes to Motörhead’s less than stellar songs and releases as well as the bad decisions that would sometimes come into play in the Motörhead camp . He has an interesting take on many things and a great way of presenting them. Eddie Clarke is very much present throughout the book and it is fascinating to read his account of what happened and why, but Lemmy and Phil Taylor are also very much in the spotlight, which is to say that the book is balanced and nuanced. Each member has a voice and something to say, just as it ought to be. The reason I mention Eddie Clarke is that I was really moved by some of the things he states in "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers". There is something quite engaging and passionate about the way in which he describes and analyses certain happenings and events in the band’s infamous chronicle.
From a purely egocentric point of view, I would have loved to have had a few chapters on "Another Perfect Day" and "Orgasmatron" as they happen to be two of my favorite albums, but I can understand why Popoff focuses on the classic line-up and the outputs that those three guys produced. After all, those records laid the foundation and are very much the musical embodiment of everything that we love and cherish about the band. The fact that we now have nearly 300 entertaining pages on that era of Motörhead proves just how vital and rich in detail those years are. There is a lot of stuff to absorb and digest in this book, my friends. Whether you are a hardcore fan of the band or more of a casual fan of those filthy fucks, "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers" is well-worth investing in and a great addition to the timeless Motörhead phenomenon.