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McIver, Joel
Overkill-The Untold Story Of Motorhead (Book Review)
November 2011
Released: 2011, Omnibus Press
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

If you are looking for those early Christmas gift ideas, British Author Joel McIver has made shopping easier for the discerning and literate Metalhead. Joel has recently published not one, not two, but three titles sure to delight any Hard Rock and Heavy Metal fan. They are, (in no particular order) the Motorhead biography, the Randy Rhoads biography, the Glenn Hughes autobiography and we have reviewed them all this month as well as interviewed Joel himself. Enjoy!

There has been a bit of a surge in interest in Motorhead and Lemmy as of late. In April 2011, I reviewed his autobiography and the Lemmy documentary. Feel free to check them out on this site. In my review of Lemmy’s autobiography I said it was pretty short on detail about Motorhead, the band. McIver new book, OVERKILL-THE UNTOLD STORY OF MOTORHEAD fills all the gaps. It was truly the book the fans of the band were waiting for. In his intro McIver mentions the autobiography and the movie but he really takes an alternate perspective and focuses on the band, in all it’s eras and all it’s incarnations…it’s not just ‘the Lemmy show’.

McIver and Omnibus Press does their usual excellent job; it’s a decent, oversized paperback, 240+ pages, an intro, an amusing anecdotal forward by Glenn Hughes, a discography, and about three dozen black and white photos. It’s simple, streamlined and readable. The narrative is broken in 20 chapters each covering a couple of years in the bands enviable career arc.

It’s a bit of a cliché but as the subtitle says, OVERKILL is truly the untold story of the band and this the definitive story of the band. Although the frontman and the band are inextricably linked for all time, the strength of the book is that McIver really does a fine job talking about the band and the music. Sure, the various band ex-member personalities are involved but Joel speaks with enthusiasm about the later years as well. I feel that is the books greatest strength is that the last half dozen Motorhead albums get equal attention and respect. So many Rock/Metal biographies, and autobiographies for that matter, leave the last decade (or two!) untouched. Anvil, Ozzy, I’m looking at you…. McIver very cleverly avoids that pitfall of waxing poetic and nostalgic about the ‘good old days’ and gives the true Motorhead fan what they want, namely insightful and interesting detail about every era of Motorheads career. I personally found the interviews with producer Cameron Webb very interesting, giving us a little glimpse into the recording process (or lack of!) of the band. Everyone, every band member, past and present gets lots of ink-time …is that even a real phrase? No one gets left behind or under-represented. I’ve been a Mikkey Dee fan for many, many years and I’ve always maintained he is wasting his god-given, god-like drumming talent slumming in Motorhead, but the interviews and quotes give us an idea why he has been in the band for 20 years (think about that for a second) and why he is as happy as he is.

OVERKILL is loaded with information, quotes and interviews from all eras, all members, producers and fellow entertainers with no shortage of witty quotes from Lemmy himself. It’s a refreshing change to read a biography that is balanced, even and covers all aspects of a band with equal enthusiasm and vigour. Well done!

Next review: » McIver, Joel - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Updated Edition) (Book Review)
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