Motörhead - 'Clean Your Clock'

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Motörhead - 'Clean Your Clock'

A superb reminder of Kilmister's place in Metal folklore.

There is no doubt that the death, on New Year's Eve 2015, of Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister left a massive hole in the Heavy Metal universe. He was a man who lived by his own ethics and morality, and stayed true to the same until the end of his seventy years on this mortal coil. It had often been said that he would die on stage, in his trademark cowboy boots and hat with his beloved Rickenbacker bass wailing feedback into eternity... and so it almost proved.

Six weeks before his death, Kilmister's record company took what now seems a prescient decision to record two back-to-back shows in Munich in mid-November 2015. It was indeed a fortuitous move, as these are the last ever recordings of the maestro in action. Forty days after the tapes stopped rolling, he would fall silent forever.

What is extremely obviously from the early moments of these recordings is the extreme state of ill health in which Kilmister was in at the time. There is just something missing. But there is also something omnipresent. The songs are played slower, almost with that sense of impending doom hanging over them, but there is still a deep sense of vibrant energy lurking within them. There is a hollowness to Kilmister's vocals, but also a longing within it to live up to the old showbiz adage that "the show must go on", reflected in the set listing, which does not reflect the wish of a dying man to go out on an egotistical high but just deliver to his fans the typical Motörhead set they had come to see.

At one point, between 'Rock It' and 'Orgasmatron', Kilmister remarks "there you go"; it was perhaps a prophetic utterance, a declaration of determination by the ultimate Rock 'n' Roll outlaw to prevail. What is also extremely evident is the will of the band to stand behind their leader and to help him to put on the best show possible under the most intimidatingly adverse circumstances possible – knowing that their front-man quite possibly (as it proved) was entering his last days.

This is perhaps not the best possible tribute to Kilmister or his especially iconic role as one of the greatest exponents of the Heavy Metal art-form. That perhaps is still to come. In the meantime, this serves as a superb reminder of his place in Metal folklore.

Mark Ashby

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