The Architecture of Force: Part 1-A Real Live One!
Motorhead has always been a little bit of an anomaly in terms of heavy metal, in that they have the utmost, undying respect from metalheads, and also some normal people like them, too. Normal people liked them so much, in fact, that their debut live album, No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith, was a #1 record in Britain for about a week. Considering that it was preceded by an album by a Dutch novelty disco act called Stars On 45 and followed by some stupid crap called Disco Daze and Disco Nites, there’s only one conclusion to draw: British people like Motorhead almost as much as they like retarded bullshit. Their popularity, with this in mind, cannot be overstated.
I believe that part of the reason people enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, Motorhead(even that Robert Christgau asshole likes them) is because they’re good at writing very sincere, very piercing music, and I believe that the reason No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith was such a success was because we finally got to see all of that insane fury completely cut loose.
A little bit of history: At the time No Sleep was released, Motorhead was quickly becoming one of the world’s foremost heavy metal bands, just coming off a string of classic albums: Overkill, Bomber and Ace of Spades. The three people making up the band at the time, Lemmy, “Fast” Eddy Clarke and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, were all tough fucking guys with tough fucking backgrounds who made tough fucking music, fucking toughly. Naturally, following their awesome studio albums and keeping in mind their tough asshole reputations, expectations for their first live album were probably pretty high.
Oftentimes, a song from a live album is going to sound a little bit more raw and wild than the studio version. Well motherfucker, you have not heard anything until you’ve heard the difference between “Overkill” in a studio and “Overkill” live at Hammersmith. All of their songs got a little bit crazier, sometimes even a LOT crazier, when they preformed them live, but this one…whoo boy.
Now, I’m not sure what it was that caused the effect with this song, specifically-maybe the guy who produced their albums was being a dick and wouldn’t let them record the song the way they wanted to. Maybe, being the middle of the show, they needed to do something to get their blood moving. Maybe it was something as simple as taking a short break between songs to snort a whole lot of cocaine. I don’t know, I’m not Lemmy(Go d knows I wish I was, though).
What I do know is this.
Studio version: Standard, danceable 70's metal.
Live version: An exercise in musical savagery.
As you can notice, the difference is fucking night and day. The live version is about twice as fast, Lemmy is free to growl like a motherfucker, the intensity has been ramped up about a hundred fold and those drums...my God, those DRUMS.
There's something very primal in this rendition of the song. It taps into the soul and brings out the beast within. If you don't want to move as FAST AS YOU CAN when you're listening to this, whether you want to run or punch somebody in the face or just bang your head as hard as you fucking can, you're not a human being. The studio version is a simple metal song; when it's done live, it's nothing short of a force of nature.
So when you can bring that to the table-when you can get that sort of sincere brutality out in the open, in front of a roaring crowd, and just go fucking ballistic-that's one of the architects of force, which shall heretofore be called: The Live Factor.