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Sh*t I Could Watch Over and Over and Do # 10

Motorhead - "Ace of Spades"

By Tom BakerPublished 23 days ago Updated 22 days ago 3 min read
Lemmy, Phil, and Fast Eddie. Motorhead, circa 1980. RIP.

The year was probably 1980 or 1981, and I was maybe four years old. I was wandering around an apartment complex not very far, actually, from the one I now live in at age forty-seven. My quickly developing consciousness was focused, as per usual, on the television, which had previously blown my infantile mind by introducing me to the fact that SUPERMAN (whose peejays I so loved and cherished, them transforming me into a tot-sized "Superbaby" in the eyes of all and sundry, I was certain) was a f*cking ALIEN; or, as the old narrator during the opening of the "Superman" reruns with George "Not Faster Than the Speeding Bullet That Blew His Brains Out" Reeves, (who was sort of juxtaposed in the opening credits against the Stars and Stripes and outer space), exclaimed: "Superman! That Strange visitor from another planet..." Comforting. Was the Man of Steel here as the expeditionary force for the War of the Worlds?

On that same old-fashioned literal TUBE television, wherein Mom watched her soaps and sometimes "The Price is Right" with the late Bob Barker, and I enjoyed the occasional Saturday Morning Cartoon, there was an odd, even unsettling, blistering, thundering, and hoarse racket erupting from a stage where long=haired and frankly somewhat scary dudeniks who looked like they dated my aunts held forth. Their leader, the guy screaming and spitting and hacking and graveling his gravel voice gravely, had porkchop sideburns growing into a handlebar mustache, and monstrous warts on his face, ready to burst I thought. Their music was more than my young mind could process.

I had only heard my dad's whiskey-soaked honkey tonk country and Mom's 1981 pop tunes. I had NEVER heard music like this before, music so raw, ugly, and fast. Even a few years later, when I first heard punk rock (via USA's "Night Flight" running The Decline of Western Civilization), I thought it was all some sort of sick joke, maybe. Nobody played music like that, that fast, that ugly. And what kind of weirdos listened to that stuff?

It took me a decade to realize that the band on the TV was, strangely enough, Motorhead. And that they were incredible. Legendary. Their singer, the handlebar-mustached and Western shirt-wearing Lemmy, was an icon of that era of hard, turbo-driven, take-no-prisoners, hard rock and roll. The trio were imprinted on my brain, forever.

They're all gone now, of course, like the Ramones, whom they immortalized in a song. The Ramones, during the last show they would ever perform, invited Lemmy on stage to play with them. The tribute had come full circle. To this day, the video of that last show always hits me.

Here's the video to "Ace of Spades." it's off their most successful album.

And it kills.

To this day, I think of that apartment complex, when I drive past it, as the "Motorhead Arms." That video had a massive subconscious impact on me, and it fully informed my musical tastes for decades to come (although I like everything).

From the staccato rhythm of the bass notes at the beginning, to the outlaw Western twang of Fast Eddie's guitar, Phil "Filthy Animal" Taylor's thrashing mad drum beat-- all a perfect backing to Lemmy's guttural assurance that, "You know I'm going to lose, and gambling's for fools [...] I don't want to live forever." Alas, you didn't.

Rest in power, Motorhead.

Motörhead – Ace Of Spades (Official Video)


About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.:

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Comments (2)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock22 days ago

    The stuff from which legends are made, all the more so for the history you have with them.

  • Ameer Bibi23 days ago

    Your perseverance is both admirable and motivating. Keep forging ahead!

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