Motörhead’s Stone Deaf Forever! box set brings the ear-busting goods

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 18, 2003

By Steve Newton

So I was hangin’ out in the vicinity of the Straight music editor’s desk—since that’s usually where the CDs go before being parcelled out to the various scrounging contributors—and along comes the shiny new expanded edition of the David Bowie boxed set, Sound + Vision. Being a fan of the Thin White Duke ever since his Ziggy Stardust days, I quickly put my dibs in on the reissue of that four-disc package from ’89, but Mr. Usinger, the almighty Keeper of the Tunes, pooh-poohed the idea, saying that I had enough boxed sets to review. He argued that the long-suffering John Lucas should be awarded this baby, so in desperation I offered to trade him straight across for the five-disc Motörhead box that I’d been told was in the mail. Usinger scoffed at that suggestion too, declaring, “All you really need is ‘Ace of Spades’.”

As I slunk away empty-handed, I pondered the validity of that statement. Was it true that, once you’ve heard one Motörhead song, you heard ’em all? When Stone Deaf Forever! eventually arrived from back East, I ignored the exclamatory warning in the title and determined to find the answer. Ninety-nine tracks and several thousand speedy riffs later, I can conclude that the High Sheriff of the Straight’s music section is way off the mark. Sure, 1980’s “Ace of Spades” is a great tune, but the ’84 raunch ’n’ roller “Killed by Death” is arguably just as fine.

And there’s plenty of other gems that have been mined since bassist and lead croaker Lemmy Kilmister, freshly canned from prog-rockers Hawkwind, formed the almighty Motörhead in ’75. Among them are “Please Don’t Touch”, a sprightly 1980 collaboration with Girlschool; and “Shine”, a track from 1983’s Another Perfect Day, the only Motörhead album to feature ex–Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson before he got sacked for refusing to play Usinger’s beloved “Ace of Spades” in concert. And for those who think that the band’s best days are long gone, check out the eardrum-busting “Walk a Crooked Mile” from last year’s Hammered.

Stone Deaf Forever!’s 60-page booklet includes all the details of the band’s history, and sports some fun reviews, many of them culled from influential British metal mag Kerrang!. Take writer Mörat’s enthusiastic five-K review of 1995’s Sacrifice, in which he defiantly claims: “The coffin nails used to put Motorhead in their grave will now be driven into your forehead!” Ouch.

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