Released: 2010, John Blake
MOTORHEAD IN THE STUDIO is one of the more recent titles in a long line of ‘In The Studio’ books by Jake Brown. Brown, a Nashville journalist made his name covering non-Metal genres but does on occasion dip into some of the bigger name Metal acts like Motley Crue and Iron Maiden.
The concept is relatively simple. The author follows a band through their career, chapter-by-chapter, album-by-album with an emphasis of the ‘studio’. More specifically, Brown interviews engineers, producers and the bands members (past and present) to get their recollections of that particular point in time.
It’s a neat idea and I like reading about the creative process involved in recording an album. The stories from third parties, like engineers and producers provide an interesting look behind the magic curtain. There is quite a bit of technical detail. Some studio guys are gear guys and they recall with amazing clarity obscure details about the gear they used to capture that magic sound. So if you enjoy reading about what specific type of microphone was used for Phil Taylor’s bass drums back in 1990 during the recording of the 1916 album, then this is the book for you.
Brown has a fairly dry tone, dispensing the facts effectively discussing certain albums with more passion than others. Some albums have an alarming lack of detail and there is a bit of inconsistency. Some Live albums are covered, some are not. ROCK N ROLL (1987) gets less than five pages of coverage and ANOTHER PERECT DAY (1983) gets almost 20 pages. Quite a bit of material comes straight from Lemmy’s autobiography and is not all that fresh but it was good to read interviews with other studio people that provided an alternate perspective.
At 250 pages MOTORHEAD IN THE STUDIO is a quick easy read. There are about 17 photos, a few shots of gear, some of the producers who worked on various albums, which is neat to see the faces behind the interviews. We all know what Lemmy looks like but when was the last time you saw a photo of Vic Maile, the producer of ACE OF SPADES and IRON FIST? In a clever move, each chapter is preceded by some technical data, studio, release date, chart positions; etc, all great info for the Motorhead trivia buff.
I’d like to see Brown shift his focus from hip-hop and rap and concentrate on Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. He could easily write another several dozen books. For true Motorhead fans, this book is indispensible and I’d recommend it to most Hard Rock and Metal fans as well.