Interview with Mikkey Dee: The Problem With Motorhead

MotorheadMotörhead. For a band that’s been around for over 30 years, you’d expect it to be a household name. I suppose it depends on the household. But it’s a given that any person with a passing interest in metal or hard rock knows of Motörhead.

Still, “knows of” is sometimes as far as it goes. Despite having an extremely dedicated core fan base and a basic black t-shirt design that stacks up against The Ramones or CBGB in terms of cult iconography—and a frontman to match— Motörhead have never commanded the attention of the masses like their recent tour companions Judas Priest, for example. And while many bands from the ‘70s have broken up and reformed and broken up, releasing so-so albums just to tour and play the hits, Motörhead have remained a constant touring and recording unit, lineup changes notwithstanding. They’re still uncompromisingly fucking loud, and they wear their disdain for trends like a badge of honor.

They’re a rock ‘n’ roll band. And it’s perhaps the only band that can sing a song with a lyric like “Rock out with your cock out,” without sounding juvenile or stupid. There’s something to be said for that.

Just off the Metal Masters tour with Priest, Heaven & Hell and Testament, the band released Motörizer at the end of August, which doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but plainly kicks ass while showcasing the band’s surprising range. Drummer Mikkey Dee—still the new guy after 17 years behind the kit—talked about the albums and the ethics of Motörhead the day of Motörizer’s release before getting on stage somewhere in Texas.

How has the reaction been?

I don’t know yet. (laughs) They probably fuckin’ hate it, I don’t know. The reaction so far from press and people that actually have a listen, they love it, they think it’s one of the better ones we’ve done for years and years and years. I don’t myself see that because I think we’ve done great, great albums the last couple of years. This is one of them, but we’ll see when it comes out. I think it’s a good album. I think it’s one of the better ones we’ve done, but it’s hard to say. But it looks promising. Feels like we have a little bit of momentum going with the fact of a good tour, and then we pick up on our own with Misfits and some other good bands and do another round in the States.

Europe and the rest of the world doesn’t worry me too much, because they’ve seem to have gotten into the way that we’ve been going the last couple of years. And they love it, Inferno and Kiss Of Death and so forth.

So you’re more worried about the U.S. market?

Yeah, U.S. has always been a tough one for us, you know. We have super dedicated fans, but we don’t seem to sell a lot of albums. We must be the only band in the history of the Tonight Show that played on there and actually sold fewer albums the following week. That’s fucking Spinal Tap for you right there (laughs). It’s only Motörhead that shit happens to. I don’t know why; we sounded good, I thought.