Released: 2004, Citadel Press
There doesn’t seem to be a specific reason for the resent surge in the popularity of Motorhead. Sure another mile-stone anniversary has passed, the new album is selling better than the last few, the movie came out, but I can’t put my finger on why now. I suppose the movie has spiked sales of the new album. I’d be curious to see if the band can maintain the momentum or of this will be the conclusion of a long career for the band. Either way, due to all the Lemmy hype in recent months, I’ll pile on the band-wagon and this month (April 2011) I’ll review the Lemmy movie (the North American DVD) and his autobiography, WHITE LINE FEVER. Feel free to check out the companion movie review of Lemmy this month as well.
WHITE LINE FEVER came out in 2002 and was a very decent look at the life of Lemmy of Motorhead. It’s about 290 pages long, soft cover with a couple dozen colour photos. Lemmy writes in a free-flowing conversational style which comes across as quite witty at times. The book follows the classic chronological life-story format from his birth on Christmas eve, early days, school, girls and so on. There is lots of great info about Motorhead, record labels, managers, the tours, the girls, the ‘business’ and of course the drugs. He has lead one interesting life, that’s for sure!
The author spends most of the time talking about ‘the good ol’ days’ and is really thin on detail. The albums SACRIFICE, OVERNIGHT SENSATION, SNAKEBITE LOVE, WE ARE MOTORHEAD, and HAMMERED get a page (or less) each. Basically, Lemmy covered 20 years of history in one chapter. It’s woefully incomplete and disappointing to fans who want to hear the recent stories, not just the regurgitated stories about the glory era. For a guy who complains that people only recognize the band for the old days, and suggests the current line-up is the strongest, he does little to bring current information to combat the perception that Motorhead is not contemporary.
This is a great companion piece to the recent (2010) Lemmy film as it fills in many of the gaps in details and information that the film omitted. Even as a stand-alone book it will stand the test of time. Since it’s almost a decade old, I expect we might even see an updated edition when the old dog retires. WHITE LINE FEVER is a fun, easy read, entertaining and sincere, you can’t ask for more.