Motörhead - Under Cover album review

Motörhead run ramshackle over some of their fave tunes

Cover art for Motörhead - Under Cover album

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What to do when you’re living in a post-Lemmy world? Less rock, less roll, get your picture taken next to the statue at the Lemmy Bar at the Rainbow in LA? Although I’d have gone for the Overkill-era Lemmy, all snaggle-toothed and wild eyes, than the contemplative, ruminative-looking end-of-the-bar-guy they’ve got there now. But then you go with the Lemmy era you know best, I guess.

This collection of Motörhead doing other people’s songs covers most of the bases of a band who were always happy to thunder through a cover (soundtracks, tributes, B-sides, even if it was rare to see them do covers live; I remember a Ramones tune at the House Of Blues when Joey Ramone died, but not many more). There’s a demo version of The Ramones’ Rockaway Beach included here, which is as scratchy and worn as you might imagine and, remarkably, lacks any of that patented, and much missed, Motörhead kick. Much better is their gnarly version of Metallica’s Whiplash; if you didn’t know any better you’d swear it was one of their own. Ditto Twisted Sister’s Shoot ‘Em Down, which Motörhead covered for the TS tribute album Twisted Forever. Hellraiser, which Lemmy wrote with Ozzy, seems like an anomaly, especially as it appeared on Motörhead’s March Or Die, but it’s explosive and enjoyable nevertheless. Which is more than can be said for their rarely heard (there’s probably a reason for that) take on Bowie’s “Heroes” or their leaden Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.