Heart of Steel: Interviews

Mikkey Dee (Motörhead) Interview
Interview and pictures By Marko Syrjala
Transcription by Alison Dahmen

Here's an interview with Motörhead's drummer, Mikkey Dee. He doesn't hold back his opinion on things at all, and we have left his opinions and words uncensored. Please note that these are Mikkey's thoughts/opinions on things and are not necessarily those of Metal-Rules.com. If you have a problem with anything said, don't blame us for his bluntness!!

Mikkey Dee: Speak English or Swedish?

Marko Syrjala: English, please. It's easier to … write.

MD: Translate, yeah. [they see a poster or sign or something of The Backstreet Boys] Holy shit boys, that sounds like a good metalhead sound.
[laughter] Dog Face Boys. The Dog Shit Boys.

MS: I've had that stuff. It's really hard shit.

MD: Maybe Cat Shit Girls?



MS: Yeah, like Alice Cooper maybe. OK, so you've played 10 years with Motörhead.

MD: 11.



MS: So how do you see the current situation with the band?

MD: Same as I did - well, I can't say same as I did 10 years ago, 11 years ago. But it's very stable, it's very fun, we play very good, we keep coming out with good records, we're having a good time. I think we're doing pretty good. As good as you can imagine, touring all the time, you know. I think we do all right.



MS: So it isn't boring.

MD: No, opposite. I think we're doing better than ever, actually. A little bit, I think, is 'cause we still do good songs and good albums, and a little bit I think is because of the actual - hard rock's coming slightly a little bit back, you know? In a lot of countries.


MS: How about the new album, "Hammered"? What are the highlights of the new album for you, personally? I know that you made a rock video from that "Brave New World," I know it's not your favorite one…

MD: It's one of my favorites, actually.

MS: Really?

MD: Yeah, it is. It's one of my favorite songs on that album. Highlights, I don't know… I think this whole album surprised me a little bit. 'Cause when we first wrote the songs - usually it's me and Phil who write most of the music, as you probably know, and Lemmy writes all his lyrics, and then we piece it together - but when we first wrote these songs I thought they were going to be super-good. And then when we started recording it, let's say halfway through this album, I thought "This is going to be the worst shit album we've ever done." The songs didn't come out the way you saw it. But then in the end, it all turned again, and they turned out to be actually pretty good.



MS: This is actually a little different compared to the last couple of records. Like the first three songs, it's more...

MD: Melodic.

MS: Yeah, melodic, really more rock'n'roll, more like the groove…

MD: It's more melodic. And it's darker, and it's bluesier, rockier because we are more that way than before. Because "We Are Motörhead," the album before, was extremely hard and fast, it was an extremely aggressive album, and this one's not so aggressive. It's more leaning back, and listen. You have to listen to this album I think maybe 10 times before you even maybe like it. "We Are Motörhead," you put it on the first time and you think, "Yeah, yeah, this is Motörhead, I recognize this." But this one takes a little more listening, and I think it's going to last a little longer, maybe. I think "We Are Motörhead" is one of the better ones we've ever done, and I think this one is going to grow to something like that. But it's not an immediate album, no. Why? I don't know. Me and Phil, we flew into L.A. September 10 and we wrote these songs over the month of fuckin' fear over there, you know, it was a bad vibe. So maybe that had something to do with the mood of this album, I don't know. I was thinking about that afterwards. This album's actually really moody, you know? And the same goes for Lemmy, the way he wrote melodies.



MS: It's really, I could say at some points, a '70s album.

MD: Mmm-hmm.



MS: So is it true that you don't do any demos before entering the studio?

MD: Never. We write 'em, and then record 'em. Me and Phil write for five weeks, four weeks, and we're finished.


MS: Do you have lots of leftover songs?

MD: No, never, nothing. Not even one riff! We write what comes out. I mean, we have riffs that we throw out, and then sometimes we go back to them. But it doesn't seem to work with Motörhead like with every other band.



MS: So you are not going to release "The Best of B-Sides"?

MD: No. We don't even have shit like that.


MS: So if you don't have any demos, are you rehearsing the songs before you go into the studio?

MD: Yeah, yeah, before we start recording them, we have to know them. But it seems to work for Motörhead this way that we write the songs and if we like it, we put it on the album. If we don't like it, we throw it out immediately. A lot of bands, they go in, they write songs, and then six months later they go back and rearrange them, and then two months later, they write another verse, you know. But it doesn't seem to work for Motörhead. Our albums are very spontaneous. What we feel today is what you get tomorrow, right there. What you hear tomorrow is not what we have felt for a year; this is what we feel right now. If we wrote an album today, just a few months later, it's going to be a completely different album, and I think that's the only way of keeping Motörhead going forward. If we sit down and analyze what we're going to do, it's not going to be so true, and I think you're gonna hear that in albums. You might get some songs that are more "Motörhead" for a lot of people, but you're not going to get the honesty of the band.



MS: OK, "Overnight Sensation" was the first album for you, in Motörhead, as a three-piece band. Was it different than the previous ones you released because it was only you and Phil, and it was with Wurzel in the previous ones?

MD: He wrote a lot. He wrote some great riffs. I gotta say I love Wurzel's… Wurzel, I used to say, was more Motörhead than me, Phil and Lemmy together. He was a true Motörheader, you know. He wrote super-hard songs and riffs, and I miss that sometimes. 'Cause me and Phil, we might sometimes write a little too… not soft, but maybe too 'musically' corrected songs, where Wurzel was very simple, straight, very hard riffs. Nothing complicated with him whatsoever. It was so fucking great. So I miss that sometimes, yes. But no it wasn't harder, it was actually easier when it actually happened. It was easier because Wurzel was not happy in the band. And to have a member in the band who doesn't ride with you on the bus, who doesn't like to spend time with you… I mean, we weren't enemies or anything, we were friends, but he just didn't enjoy Motörhead anymore. He lost it all. To have someone in the band like that is really, really difficult.



MS: Have you been in contact with him?

MD: Yeah, yeah, we see him in London every time, so it's all just fine, you know. He's very happy. I don't know, today, several years later, maybe he regrets, but when he actually left he was happy. He was very happy and so for the better, I mean, he knew he was going to get fired, but he left before he got fired.



MS: Do you know what he's doing today?

MD: No, he's doing nothing, really.

MS: So he doesn't have any bands?

MD: No. Not that I know of, no.

MS: He tried to do solo stuff.

MD: He did one. Offf! It was horrible.



MS: Have you any plans to do solo stuff?

MD: Yeah.

MS: What kind of stuff? Usually guys in the band do stuff really different than the band.

MD: No I would not write Motörhead stuff.

MS: Some hard rock?

MD: Hard rock, yes. Old classic hard rock. That's closest to my heart. But I don't have time. I really want to do a solo thing, just for the hell of it, but I don't have time at all because Motörhead has taken up all my time and when I'm home it's the family. I just had a boy three days ago, another boy, it's the second one. My other son is six and it's really important for me to be at home you know.




MS: Is your family living in Sweden?

MD: Yeah

MS: So do you take your family with you on tour?

MD: No not too much, they come out once in a while, they love it, I love it, but it's too hard. It's good for a weekend, but with Motörhead when I'm on tour I need to concentrate, this is my second family you know. I can only mix them once in a while and they know it and it's all right.

(interview gets interrupted by cell-phone call)

MS: You are using Motorola.

MD: Yeah I'm endorsed by them.



MS: Who has been the biggest influence to you as a drummer as a young man?

MD: My uncle and my cousin cause I'm from a drum family. My uncle from the drifters in Sweden. My cousin played in several big bands. Were four drummers as relatives, no guitar players, no singers, just drummers. So they were my biggest inspiration, they actually got me playing drums, I was so impressed by playing. Then of course Ian Paice from Deep Purple, I was seven years old when I saw Deep Purple in 1970, my cousin took me to that concert with my mom, I couldn't go alone and that was it. He was the biggest. Then of course Brian Downey from Thin Lizzy, Neil Peart, Journey when they came with Steve Smith, great drummer, but Ian Paice is number one.

MS: He's still very good.

MD: Oh, he's fantastic he's the roundest drummer that ever lived in hard rock man.



MS: Are they any other bands that influenced you besides Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy?

MD: Yeah, Rush, Blue Öyster Cult, Black Sabbath of course, I'm still a huge Blue Öyster Cult fan. Rainbow and of course the old '70s bands, I like a lot of bands. I listen to a lot of jazz.

MS: Gene Krupa?

MD: Buddy Rich more actually, Gene Krupa was a little older, incredible, but more Buddy Rich.



MS: How about today's bands?

MD: I like a lot of Scandinavian bands. Norwegian, Glucifer, Hardcore Superstars, Hellacopters, Backyard Babies. D.A.D. I just listened to them last night at the "On The Rocks" and they are so fucking good and they've been around a long time. In the King Diamond days when I lived in Copenhagen, we hung around with them a lot, they were great and they sound so much better today then they did then. Finnish band Hanoi Rocks is also damn great!! I called Mike Monroe yesterday.



MS: What bands were you in before you joined King Diamond?

MD: I played in a band called Geisha, that's why I moved to Copenhagen. It was me and Pete Blakk actually. Before Geisha it was a Swedish band called Nadir and we toured a lot, but that was more West Coast pop rock like typical Swedish like Snowstorm, very Swedish y'know, Swedish lyrics. It was great, we played every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday every fucking week for like three or four years, we had our own tour bus, we owned our own lights and P.A., we did great in the Swedish folk? parks.

MS: Only Sweden?

MD: Only Sweden, we never played anywhere outside Sweden. It was usually folk parks and small clubs.



MS: How did you actually join King Diamond? Did King hear what you and Pete did?

MD: Yeah, well actually it was because me and Pete were out partying all the time in Denmark and I hung out with Michael Denner and Timi Hansen a lot and then King heard about my drumming and I remember when King still had Mercyful Fate he told me he said "This is secret but I'm going to break up the band, but not now, later" because they were going to do a US tour or something "and I'm going to ask Timi and Michael to join the band, MY band" he said "Are you interested? You can bring Pete back if you want." I asked Pete I said we should join King, or try and see how it goes, and he said "No" and I said "Yes" and later I called Pete again and he joined the band, that's how I got into it and I played with King and everything sounded really cool, I liked it. I didn't like what he was about, but I liked the music a lot, it was a challenge for me, really.



MS: I heard that you were recently asked to play on the "Abigail II" album but there was something like he wanted you to be a full-time member.

MD: Yeah, exactly. In the end he said "I need a drummer that can stay with the band." I totally understand and respect that. But to be honest with you, if I would have played Michael Denner would have come too. So if I was King I would have taken that chance because he needs that help now, he's not doing too good.



MS: I heard that he's selling records now.

MD: Michael Denner? Yeah he's got his own record store, he's had that for years, but King Diamond needs that help if he could, I'd say. Because if me, Andy, Hal Patino and Michael Denner and King had got together that would have been an incredible album, I think. A lot of old fans would have seen that as a "fan thing" even if I couldn't stay with the band. It might have been a shit album, but it would have been a fun album for the fans to buy and I would have done everything in my power to play my ass off in that type of music.



MS: He's doing a new album he's already written all the songs it's called "Puppet Master".

MD: I don't know.

MS: So why did you break with King in the first place?

MD: It's really a long story, but I'll do it as short as I can. If you understand that we were a bunch of friends we were buddies in Denmark even if we didn't have a band we would be together all the time. We had so much fun. At that time it was an underground band it's very important to note that. Mercyful Fate and King Diamond was an underground band. But in '86 and '87 we kind of broke loose from that in the U.S. we became so big. We had no idea how big we were, not 'til later did I realize how fucking big we were with King Diamond, until I came back with Dokken and Motörhead. We would play Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, we play one night with Motörhead now, maybe one night. We would do three nights then with King Diamond, sold out 6,000 people every night, 18,000 people in one weekend, we came to New York we did two nights at L'Amour in Brooklyn, we went to The Ritz and did two nights over the bridge, and then Coney Island we did two nights, I mean, it was incredible! Every night sold out. We had different types of fans, the ones that came and saw only King -- it was a small bunch -- and then you had the chicks, the band, we pulled girls. We had our fuckin' hair, just… Everything. Then the crap started coming out. There was lot's of interviews of King Diamond in magazines where was just pictures of him and no pictures from a band at all. He was the only one who was interviewed and all the statements came from him. It was all his decision cause he was a star and wanted rest of us to be quiet. I just didn't like that too much and I tried to speak with him but nothing changed. I mean, in the beginning we were a band!! Not just bunch of background musicians backing for him. So I just left. That was a hard decision then but I did it. The crap did not stop then. I did read some magazines where King and record company said: "Mikkey Dee was actually relieved of his services with King Diamond because he wanted too much money, blahblahblah" and I go "Monty, you fucking asshole, this is Mikkey at Kent, I didn't get fired I left, you bastard, I'm gonna sue you," you know. So they were making lies about it, and then when I joined Dokken, King called me up 'cause then he's been spreading the word about me, he did all the magazines and I did nothing, and now it was my turn to be in the press, people were fucking chasing me, "oh Mikkey, you're in Dokken." And I just said to King on the phone, I said, "Success is the best revenge, you Danish motherfucker" slammed down the phone, and that's it. And in the process, I said only good things, I said "I hope King is going to be doing great, and good luck, and Andy and Pete… they're all my friends, and King is a fucking prick but I wish him good luck." And now we're friends again, I mean, this is a long time ago but… I remember that's how it was, I was unhappy. And the same thing goes for Dokken and Motörhead, if I'm not happy in a band I will leave.



MS: So if you were to do a solo album, it would be hard rock?

MD: Yeah, it would be hard rock.

MS: That's what Dokken was back then?

MD: No, not that type of hard rock.



MS: Actually, do you still know Don?

MD: Yeah, I talk to him all the time.

MS: I know he's planning to do some solo stuff again with the name Dokken.

MD: Don is kind of funny, because we're super-good friends still, we've always been friends in the band, even if Juan and Don were fighting all the time, and Peter and Don, and I mean, he's a very complicated guy, really, he's a hard guy to deal with. But I've never had a problem with him. And he never had a problem with me, and I know that Don said in magazines that I was the best drummer he ever played with. So we do fine together, and I would love to play on something Don did again, that's fine.



MS: Why did you break, anyway, after one album?

MD: I think it was Geffen's fault. We wrote songs for six months after that for the second record. And John Calodner, who was our A&R guy, came in and listened to the songs and said, "It's all shit, nothing is good." And that was six months of writing. So John said, "Well, I have to go to Sweden and do my solo album, CBS is forcing me," OK, and Peter Baltes said "I'm going to leave, I'm going to reform with Accept," Billy White said, "I'm going to Texas, maybe start with my old band again," and so it was me and Don in the studio, I remember thinking, "Holy shit, where did everyone go?" And I said to Don, "I'm not going to jump the ship" but I went out with World War Three and did some stuff with them, but I was still in Dokken. And then Lemmy, who had called me since '85 or '86 to join the band, and I'd turned him down four or five times since, he called again just at that moment and said, "What are you doing, Mikkey?" and I said "I'm playing with World War Three, doing some shows, I'm still in Dokken but that's going to Hell." And he said, "Why don't you join Motörhead?" and I said, "Yeah, why not?" So I actually played with three bands at the same time for a very short time.



Motorhead DiscographyMS: When you joined the band, it was the "March or Die" album that was the new album. There was lots of speculation as to who actually played on that album.

MD: Tommy Aldridge. Yeah, yeah, it was finished when I joined the band. They wanted me to re-do the whole album, but Peter, he was the producer, they didn't have the budget to start doing drums again. It was almost finished.


MS: So Phil "The Animal" is not playing on the album?

MD: No, no, no, no, it's Tommy Aldridge



MS: I was reading some information on your website in the discography section, saying "featuring musicians Phil Taylor and Tommy Aldridge".

MD: No, it's only Tommy Aldridge.



MS: OK. I also heard that you were not really satisfied that it's under your name?

MD: No, no, exactly, because I spoke to Tommy and he said, "Mick, you can take the credit." They wanted me to put my name and picture and everything on there, and I said "Fuck no, I think it sucks." I didn't like the drumming on there. He did a good job for the time he did it in. He was called in and did it in two days, bam, bam, bam, and I don't like those drums at all, I think Tommy Aldridge is a very square drummer. That's his style, he's very square. And I'm, myself, a lot rounder. I adore drummers like I said, like Ian Paiste, Brian Downey, that has a round feel to it. And Tommy's very square. He said, "you can take my credit" and I said, "I'm sorry, I don't want it." I went ahead and had my picture on it, but I didn't have my name on it.



MS: Talking about the old drummers of Motörhead, Phil and Pete, how do you scale them, or compare them?

MD: Phil Taylor, not-so-good drummer, but a super character. He's Motörhead all the way through his bones, you know. In the old days it was great, he was a good drummer, but some musicians are like that, they have to practice every day only to be average. I think he is one of them. Then Pete Gill, technically a lot better drummer, but no fucking charisma whatsoever. He didn't fit in the band at all, I'd say, and he was never accepted by the Motörhead fans either for some reason, I don't know why. But Taylor, a super character, a fun guy, Motörhead all the way through, maybe more problems with his drumming but Pete Gill, better technically but absolutely more or less the same character as the flower over there, you know what I mean.


MS: So you have met them?

MD: Yeah, yeah, yeah, Taylor is a really good friend of mine. I was going to sell a car to him years ago, but I don't know what happened.



MS: There are some rumors that you guys are going to tour with Anthrax, is it true?

MD: Yeah, yeah. It's the big European tour that kicks off in October.

MS: You'll come to Finland?

MD: I sure hope so, yeah, yeah we are. It's going to be all of Scandinavia.

MS: Actually, have you ever heard of this festival you're playing today?

MD: No.

MS: Actually, it's really strange, you are maybe the first band from outside of Finland, besides maybe the Hellacopters or Backyard Babies.

MD: You're kidding! Well it's obviously a very good festival, isn't it, a huge festival?

MS: 20 or 30 thousand people.

MD: This is the second festival I've done in Finland. The other one was Nummirock some years ago.

MS: That was the one three years ago or four years ago.

MD: Yeah. And you know what, that was with Danzig. It was so funny, I remember looking at the itinerary and we were playing at like 5:30pm or something, and I called my manager and said, "Didn't you say we were kind of headlining this show?" So when we got there I asked the promoter, "How come we're playing only 30 or 40 minutes?" and he said "Well you'll see after," and I said "OK." So we did the show, and I remember when we played it was packed, and when Scorpions played it was about half that. And then Danzig played, and there were fucking cups blowing around. And everybody was so passed out everywhere, it looked like you shoot everybody down with a machine gun [laughter] They were sleeping in the woods and everywhere, and I said like, OK, I see, it was like 8:30pm and people were OUT. [more laughter]


MS: You don't have that kind of parties a lot in Sweden?

MD: It's the same shit there, you know how Swedes drink. But they're not as good as the Finns to drink, I tell ya.

MS: Or bad. Do you have any other memories from Finland?

MD: I only have good memories from it, because before Motörhead I'd never been here. I was never here with King Diamond, or Dokken or on vacation…

MS: So you'd never been here as a tourist?

MD: No, no. But now I might have been in Finland 10 times or something. Not only in Helsinki but around Finland and I only have good memories. It's always fun to go out and tease - talk hockey, you know. Hockey is my big thing. Last night I forgot my fucking Tre Kronor hockey jersey, I was going to go out and drink Jagermeister and go to town with that one on last night. It wouldn't have been a shelter; they would've fucking hammered me.



MS: What is your favorite Swedish hockey team?

MD: Swedish? It's Frolunda, of course, from Gothenburg. It's fun because beating Finland in hockey is something special. We hate and we love each other, you know. And that's so good because when they measure each other you can kind of see if they're going to do good against the rest of the world. If we didn't have each other, we wouldn't be as good as we are. We beat your ass last year, pretty good, every game. But two years ago, you guys beat us every fucking game, you know. [laughter]

MS: This year is going to be here, we're going to beat you.

MD: Maybe, maybe, it's good fun. It's something special. Sweden stops when it's against Finland, you know. People take time off work, and you look out the window, you don't see one car out there, everyone's at the TV.

MS: It's the same here in Finland, it's nothing personal. If we're going against the Swedish it's good fun.

MD: It might just be a friendly game, it might be the championship, either way, Sweden stops. And I think it's great.



MS: We're talking about Sweden, what Swedish music, film at the moment?

MD: Fantastic. I mean it's been fantastic for the last…

MS: Do you feel out of touch?

MD: A little bit, but not much, because we're always touring. I just hear… I mean, it's funny because I'm on tour all the time, right? I just hear that this band, or this band, or this band are from Sweden and a lot from Gothenburg, they seem to pop up like that. So it's impossible to follow everything because I'm not home, I'm not on the scene. Honestly, I don't really give a shit because we have so much to do on our own. I just think it's great that new bands are coming up of course. A lot of shit, but a lot is really good, too.



MS: In Sweden I met some of the new bands like Dream Evil with Snowy, it's really funny stuff.

MD: Strange stuff.

MS: The lyrics, they're really funny. And Wolf, they're really '80s stuff.

MD: Yeah, you know HammerFall started pulling that kind of wave together you know.

MS: Actually, with King Diamond also, yet, we did that interview with Snowy and he said King has really lost it these days after the original band breakup, and he is not capable of doing any good stuff anymore, he says, because it's too much HIS band and nobody else has their say on anything.

MD: But see, that was not the case when we played. So that's what I meant.

MS: It's the same thing that Alice Cooper had in the '70s, it was the Alice Cooper Band in the beginning.

MD: Because you have to realize that King is a good musician, but he's not good enough to write the songs, arrange the songs and do everything. That's… OK he's good enough, but then he's going to be this. But what we had in the '80s was a band thing. Me and Timi arranged every song until Timi left, and then me and Hal arranged everything. Andy was very involved, and when that stopped, it wasn't fun anymore. I'm a songwriter, I'm not a back-up drummer. I said to King, after I saw the stack of papers, "If you want…" - maybe that's where they got that I wanted too much money, because I remember I told them this in New York, I said - "if you want a fucking background, hired drummer fucking musicians suddenly, then you're going to have to open your fucking wallet." I just said that like that, you know, because I was a band member, and we were a bunch of friends that wrote together, toured together and did the same fucking work together and he suddenly took all the credit for it. I don't care if people know me; I never asked for to go, "Oh, you're a rock star Mikkey Dee," I don't give a shit about that. But if I'm working my ass off, I've got to have input in a band you know. I'm not going to work just to sit there and play whatever King wants - "Oh yeah, Mick, can you do…" Fuck off! I'm an artist, I'm a drummer.

MS: It's the same thing for Snowy also, he said…

MD: Oh, he was fucked. The first album after I left, "The Eye," you know that was all King's stuff.

MS: He was really fucked up, when he left from Mercyful Fate he said, "that's it, forever."

MD: Yeah, no more of that. And I give him credit for that, too. He really was nothing, Snowy.

MS: At least he's trying to be good at it, with so many bands.

MD: Absolutely. He's an artist. He's a musician, you know. And he should be treated like one, too, and he wasn't in King Diamond. That's why their shit doesn't sound good now, because there's one man doing the shit now where there were five when we did it.



MS: What about your bomber that you use when you guys gig? Are you going to use it on the tour?

MD: We're going to use it on the whole tour coming up this fall but it's so damn expensive it's ridiculous. It takes one truck on its own. It's costing our ass, and as you know we don't get that much money for touring. Actually the offers for Scandinavia are pretty fucking shit. I really hope they're going to up it a little bit so we can afford to tour here, because it looks like we're going to lose our ass, and then we can't do it, so I really… that's what happened to Finland a couple of years ago. I think it was two or three years that we didn't come here.

MS: It was during the "Sacrifice" tour.

MD: Yeah, yeah. In the middle of the '90s. We got offers from Finland, we played Sweden, but to get the busses and the trucks over on the ferry it was too expensive. I remember there was one show in Helsinki, and we were going to lose, I think it was $12,000 - lose - after just going to Helsinki and back. So we said "We can't do it, we can't lose 12 grand on one show." So we canceled it.

MS: Yeah, I remember that. And you went to Holland after that.

MD: Yeah yeah, we came by here.

MS: I remember I saw Lemmy, he was standing around.

MD: Yeah, it costs so much to tour. I really hope we can bring the bomber. But the offer's got to be up a little bit. It's still early, so…

MS: Is it true that some parts were stolen?

MD: No, that one's intact.



MS: Originally they released a DVD called "Boneshaker." Are you satisfied with that?

MD: No, drums are terrible on it. The picture's great, the whole DVD is great, except my fucking drums. They fucked up the sound so bad, and they didn't have time to remix it. Trust me, I lost my voice over screaming over these couple of weeks, because the Germans had put out, I don't remember exactly, it was a lot of money, in promotion for this DVD. And it was a deadline, so let's say they spend 400,000 Deutschies on a certain date, and if we're going to remix it, the DVD wouldn't be out that date, and all the promotion money would've been wasted anyway. So they have compressed and gated my drums so much that there is no toms, there's one bass drum and there's no cymbals. And they sound like shit.


MS: It really sounds like a bootleg tape.

MD: It's worse than a bootleg. It's just terrible. So they fucked up, it's not us. I heard it the first time, we remixed it, it sounded great. And then we went on tour and I got a test copy and I said, "What's this, what the fuck is this, what do you mean?" There's no fucking drums, it's sounding like when I'm playing the bomber in the beginning [he hits the table for emphasis]. Sounds like a fucking circus beat, you know, when you lose your left bass drum, you know, "doot-doot-doot, dooten-doot-doot". And every time I do a roll it's like "pshhhhhhhhhhhh". The drums just fucking disappeared. So it was really, really hard for me to accept that.



MS: How about that one you're re-releasing in the States later, is it that same version?

MD: Same thing. My manager told me to just let it go. I was going to fight it big time, but I'm just going to let it go. Because the whole DVD is very professional, it's very good, and the extras, I like that. The concerts were great, but I can't accept the sound.



MS: So is there any chance of releasing the soundtrack of the DVD on CD?

MD: I don't know. That DVD is gone, it's over, it's history. They fucked up in Germany, what can I say.



MS: After this tour, what's your next plan? Do you have a new record coming out, maybe?

MD: You know us in Motörhead, we always seem to write a record a year, you know. We will tour this year on this album, and I would think that maybe next winter we'll start writing the next album. It usually takes about 15 months or so between albums.



MS: How long do you think Motörhead can carry on that way?

MD: 'Til someone drops. All I can say about the next album, is that I want it to be the hardest motherfucking Motörhead album ever made. I want it to be stone hard. Fuck the melodic shit, it's going to be super-hard. I love this album, but the next one's going to be super-hard.



Motorhead DiscographyMS: How do you scale the albums you've done with Motörhead? Because for me, it's "Bastards."

MD: Me too, no problem. It is for Lemmy too, and Phil too. And "Sacrifice" is a very good album. I tell you what, all the albums have been really, really good. I don't say that because I play on them, but I think they… see, I keep saying this. If I do an album, I don't want to take two or three steps forward every year. If we only take one step or half a step every year it's good, as long as we don't go backwards. As long as we don't start to sound like we're copying ourselves. Each album is so different from the other, but it's still the same, it's still kind of the same Motörhead.



MS: There was one I didn't like so much, it was "Snake Bite Love."

Motorhead DiscographyMD: Didn't I tell you about that, that we really needed more time for that? That's the album that all three of us said we could have had two more, three more weeks and then had so much more potential for that album. We were stressed out of our minds when we did that album. It turned out OK, but no more than OK. That's the album where we all say it's a good album, but it's definitely OK. We all know it; we should've had three more weeks on that and it would've been a great album. I blame it completely on the time we had. For instance, we put on the worst song we ever had, which is "Night Side," it's the worst shit we've ever done, and we thought it was shit when we did it. We had no time to write another tune, we had nothing left. I remember me and Phil, we were drained; our manager called and said, "Mick, you have to write maybe two or three more songs" and I said "I can't even write one riff more, I'm exhausted." My mind was blank, and Lemmy was right, we all went blank, we said, "We need more time, we have to stop and take off for two or three weeks and come back and it's going to be a world of difference. Let's go and do a couple of shows in California or something. Book us at a couple clubs, $500, I don't give a shit, let's just play a couple shows. Let's take off, let's go swimming for four or five days. I want to go to Mexico for the weekend, anything to get away from the studio." But we had no time to even give that a chance. So we all feel the same way about that album. I've heard people say, "That's the best album you've got" and I'm like, "What planet are you from?

MS: It's … different.

MD: But people seem to like it, though. It sold pretty good. It's one of the albums in a line of very good albums. But it's probably the weakest album since I joined the band, yes, that's for sure.



MS: You say that you're going to continue until someone drops. So what about Lemmy's condition?

MD: He's in great condition.

MS: He had some problems two years ago.

MD: Yeah, well, I'm surprised he didn't get more problems about that. We were collapsing left and right on that tour. And Russia really did us in. There was a flu going on, and that flu I had it, everyone had it except Lemmy. Lemmy got it in Holland so we had to cancel one show in Holland, and he was fucking sick. He was like, "Oh, fever, ugggh." I said to Lemmy, "Make sure you eat these penicillin, now, correctly, because we're going to Scandinavia and Russia here and it's going to be cold," and he said, "What do you mean, I already ate 'em!" He ate all the 10 days' doses in one day. But then he got it back, later and so much worse. I remember him in the bus saying, "I can't stand up, I don't have the energy to stand up," and I go, "I've never seen you like this." So he basically just fucking collapsed.



MS: So the last gig was in Finland, am I right?

MD: No, the last one was in Poland. We were going to Krakowa, 18 hours on the bus and we were going to Krakowa, and Lemmy said, "I'm so sick, I can't even stand up" and it was nothing strange, it was just exhaustion combined with a terrible flu. I was 37 then and I was knocked out. Lemmy was like 56. I'm 37 and in pretty good condition then, you know, and I was flattened. I couldn't even stand up for three weeks. And he still walked onstage and did shows with this fucking flu and in the end his body was like, "Forget it, you have to rest." And that's what the doctor said, too, "You're going to fucking drop if you don't rest." So we did. We took off, we canceled 10 shows and came back and did them six months or four months later. It was just one of those things that happen you know, because when you tour all the time you don't have time to get sick. And if you are getting sick, you know how you feel. You don't want your fucking friends at home, you just wanna sleep and lie at home, and you're fucking aching, and it's terrible. But we can't do that. We have to go on stage. My fucking elbows and shoulders and neck and everything were fucking aaah! Straight from hotel to the show, straight back to the hotel with 39 ½ and 40 in fever. I drank like 10 litres of water and had to have the bed - at one hotel I had to have the bed changed three times, I was soaked. When you're sick on tour, it's terrible. You just want to be home, being taken care of.



MS: A couple of years ago I heard you tried to tour with Manowar and Dio, and you were in really bad condition because of some beer and you almost threw up.

MD: It was horrible, because we were on "On the Rocks" that time, too. It's my own stupid fault, though.



MS: OK, this is going to be the last question. You have done lots of co-headlining tours with bands like Manowar and W.A.S.P.

MD: Offf. Let's not even talk about W.A.S.P.

MS: With lots of talk, can you tell some stories of what really happened with these tours?

MD: The fucking assholes in W.A.S.P.? The worst band in the fucking planet?

MS: The whole band or only Blackie?

MD: No, only Blackie, the rest of the band is great. Mike, Chris, the rest are fantastic guys. Too bad about Blackie. I don't know what's going around in his head, really. See, here, I don't know where this started but here's what happened. We got asked to co-headline with W.A.S.P. Which everybody knew. On the contract is 100% co-headline. We said, "It's OK, it's OK for W.A.S.P. to play after us because it takes two hours to clean the stage." Because it takes two hours to clean the stage after them, and if they played in front of us there would be a two-hour break and it wouldn't work. So we said, "It's OK, we'll give you the last spot, or we're going to alternate every other night." And they go, "Yeah, great." Then we go on tour. The first three weeks, we didn't even see Blackie, we didn't even talk to him, nothing. And then - and I used to be a really good friend of Blackie's - so I went into his tour bus after three fucking weeks and said "Hey Black, what's up?" And he said "Oh, hey Mick" sitting there with his fucking shorts, his Adidas shorts, you know those Adidas shorts that he always wears, he says "Hey Mick, how do you like my tour?" He's talking "my, my" and I go, "What do you mean, 'your tour,' what are you talking about?" "Well, you know, my tour it's going to kick in, Mick, we're going to do better…" So I realize this guy thinks it's his fucking tour. So they kept fucking us, big time. You know when you headline, or play last, you soundcheck first, and it started in New York I think. We had a sold-out Irving Plaza, and Blackie took one and a half hours to go from the bus to the stage. So we had to hold the doors. The band was sitting on the stage, waiting for Blackie. We said, "Come on!" They said, "Blackie's on his way, he's on his way." One and a half hours to go from downstairs to upstairs. He walks on stage, puts his guitar on, turns his volume up and that's it. So no soundcheck for us. Then we go to Cleveland, it's a sold-out place called Harpo's. It's a Friday night, the promoter has 3,500 kids in line outside waiting outside to get in and drink beers. The doors were at 7pm, at 9pm W.A.S.P. get on stage, they held the doors for two hours. So the promoter is flipping out, he's losing so much beer money on this, so we told him, "Look, we're not going to soundcheck, just let them in." He says thank you. So we go, "What's wrong with these fucking guys?" And Blackie's not on stage. He doesn't show up. Then he goes up on stage to touch his bass and then walks off. So we know he's doing this on purpose. Then we came to Detroit. That was the last and final - we said "Fuck it, we can't do this anymore." We show up, do our show, when we're coming off stage, all our clothes are thrown out of our dressing room onto the wet cement floor with water and shit. "What's going on?" we asked the security guards. "Oh, uh, W.A.S.P. have taken this whole area now." And we go, "What?" "Yep, they're going to have both dressing rooms." We already had talked to our manager, and he had done a survey, a check-up on who sold the most tickets. We sold 74% of the tickets. We sold merchandise for $6,000, W.A.S.P. sold for $900. After we played, more than half the crowd left every night. Me and Lemmy had a long talk about this, and we said, "We never, ever backed out on a tour ever." Lemmy said, "I don't want to leave this tour, because I've never left a tour in my life." I said, "Yeah, but what are we going to do, Lem, are we going to stay on and be treated like this?" So we left the tour. And after we left, W.A.S.P. said "Yeah, fuck you, we don't need you anyway." We did Detroit and guess what the last show was? Detroit! The rest of the tour was canceled immediately when we left it. The next day was canceled right away. The promoters didn't want W.A.S.P. The package was OK but they didn't want them alone.


MS: Actually this sounds really familiar. Last year, we were at Sweden Rock and we had all the passes we needed to be in the backstage area, and we met Mike and everybody and the whole band, actually.

MD: Yeah, they're great.

MS: They were really cool with us, we waited three or four hours then security guy said, "Clear the area." Actually Blackie wanted to take us out from the backstage area.

MD: It's fucking terrible, it's absolutely terrible. So you know how he is; you know what the deal is. It's impossible to work and deal with a man who either thinks that he's god, or his mission is to fuck the bands over. Us in Motörhead, we don't work that way. We like to tour and have a good time, not to tour and have a bad time.


MS: Actually last year he was promoting "Unholy Terror" in Finland, and then he was OK…

MD: If you say so … heh.



MS: If I have understood correctly you do know Linda Lampenius personally? (Linda is a Finnish violin star)

MD: Linda Lampenius? She's a good friend, I spoke to her last night and she was supposed to come up and party with us. She just came in from Greece; I'll see her tonight.

MS: Is there any chance you'll use her on future albums?

MD: I'd love to. She's a great, great violinist. And a super-nice girl. She's a very cool chick, and it's funny here in Finland they seem to hate her.

MS: They're jealous.

MD: Maybe they're jealous. I don't understand it. She's a very international, forward, Finnish person.

MS: Maybe she has been too much in the papers in Finland.

MD: Probably.



MS: Have you heard about the Europe reunion.

MD: No, they're not going to do it, I don't think so.

MS: That's good. They played last year.

MD: But only two songs.

MS: They got good money from that.

MD: Yeah, they did. They got super-good money for two fucking songs.

MS: Two million.

MD: No, five, I think.

MS: They had some taxes.

MD: You see, but everything went into the taxes. They're clean now, so they made a deal with the government. They owed more money than what they made, but they said, "If we do these two songs, will you clear us?" and they said yes, and they did it, of course. I'll tell you what, I'd like to see Europe reform, it would be great. If they do it, they're going to be huge. If they make one good album and they reform with John Norum, they're going to be huge.

MS: At least in some countries.

MD: I think all over the world, to be honest. Look at a band like HammerFall and shit. They're going through the roof. When kids come up to me and say "Iron Maiden, they're almost as good as HammerFall," there's something wrong, you know? I saw two kids with Iron Maiden-shirts, in Stockholm when me and Lemmy were there doing press, and I was sitting in the lobby waiting to get to the airport and I saw two eleven-year-olds with Iron Maiden t-shirts and I said, "Yeah, that's a great band you've got there" and they said, "Yeah, they're almost as good as HammerFall, they sound exactly the same."

[laughter] Then you realize there's something wrong here, you know. It's not a shit band, but it's incredible that they can hit the way they did. Anders is a great friend, and I hope to see Jens tonight. Someone told me that the Stratovarius guys are here. And the bass player, Magnus, he was the first bass player in Geisha. I fired his ass. [laughter] He's an old friend since 25 years ago. So I'm glad for Magnus, and I'm glad for Anders. And Stefan is a good guy, the bald guitar player, he's good, but Joacim and Oscar, they can suck my cock. Because they really think they're god's gift to the planet, and I used to say don't shit on the ladder because you're going to climb on it on the way back. They pissed me off too much, let's say two years ago, by being rock stars. I've done this now for 22 years, around the world, and I'm no fucking rock star, I'm a normal guy, and I have a million friends around the world. They did a couple of fucking club shows and they were being the biggest rock stars you've ever seen in Gothenburg. It pissed me off because they were treating me almost the same way, and I said you should kiss my ass instead of throwing me out of the dressing room, you know? So I was pissed off. And Anders and Magnus, they had a long talk with Joacim and Oscar and said "Mikkey is really fucking pissed." So Oscar called me and he apologized and says he was so scared every time I showed up anywhere, and I said, "Oh, I'm not going to beat you up but you're still a fucking asshole." So they're like that when they see me. But I don't agree with that; I have a problem to see these fucking guys when they play one year then they're bigger than Mick Jagger. And the way they became big is by ripping off Helloween, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, even King Diamond stuff. I hear a complete rip off of some harmonies that are complete King Diamond stuff.

MS: That's copying.

MD: And Helloween. And Accept. So, I mean, good luck to them, because I'm glad Magnus finally has a band, because he lived in an apartment of 27 square metres, for almost 20 years. He never had any money, he always played bass, he always stuck to his hard rock, and then he got a chance. I remember him calling me and saying, "Mikkey, I'm playing with a band called HammerFall soon and we're going to do a tour," and I go, "Fucking great for you, Magnus." And then when Anders came into the band, he's a great drummer, that other guy was a fucking joke. So I'm happy for them. But I just can't agree on this rock star image, especially Oscar. Joacim is better, but Oscar, with his fuckin'…

MS: Sometimes people have too big egos…

MD: Yeah, and when they did the album with Michael Wagner producing, Anders called me from Nashville and said, "You won't believe this, Mick, Oscar is actually almost going to fire Michael Wagner." [laughter] "He's going to fire who? Michael Wagner?" I mean, Michael Wagner has been sitting there next to Michael Schenker all through the years, so many good albums, and Oscar was bitching and told him, "No, this and that…" and he'd never done and album.

MS: How about Anders…

MD: I've got 10 stitches from that cunt there, punching him. What an asshole he is. I grew up with him too, you know. We used to be good friends. We're kind of friends again but I still think he's a prick.

MS: Last time I saw him in Finland seven years ago he was really fat…

MD: He's a wife-beater, I hate him. He hits his fucking girls, he knocks them out. He's a fantastic guitar player, you can't take that away from him. When Yngwie came, I don't know who you talked to but he came the first time '86 or when he became big, you never heard anyone play like that, ever. I mean, he did circles around Ritchie Blackmore. I love Ritchie Blackmore's vibe of course, but Yngwie did something that no one else had done on this planet. So I give him that. But as a personal guy, he's fucking weird.

MS: He is living in L.A. these days, I think.

MD: He moved from Florida?



MS: Talking about guitar players like Yngwie Malmsteen, have you heard the Finnish version of Yngwie? Not Timo Tolkki but Jaron Sebastian Raven from Virtuocity?

MD: I've heard of Timo Tolkki, from Stratovarius. Great guitar player, great guitar player.

MS: But you've not heard of Jaron Raven ?

MD: No I don't. But I ran into a band last night at "On the Rocks," what were they called? They're coming down today. But they seem to be more of a band like Journey, Toto, that type of thing. More the '80s soft-pop like. This guy worked a lot with a friend of mine, Tommy Tallinder, a Swedish guy in Stockholm who used to work with Toto and things like that. He writes great songs, wrote for Toto, super guitar player, and these guys obviously work a lot with him so I guess this band must be pretty legit. They're coming down tonight, they said. They were Motörhead fans, and that surprised me a little bit. 

MS: Toto, they came to Europe last fall.

MD: Yeah, I saw Toto a couple weeks ago at Gothenburg. You know, the castle outside of town? Out there they played in the courtyard, in the middle. With Simon Phillips. And they're good friends too. Every time they come to Sweden we used to go out and drink ourselves senseless.

MS: Ok our time seems to be used now. Thank you very much and have a great gig tonight!

MD: Thank you and see you after the show.

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