While Motörhead are typically classified as heavy metal, speed metal or thrash metal (and often regarded as a foundational influence on the latter two syles); Lemmy disliked such labels, preferring to describe the band's music simply as "rock and roll". Motörhead's approach has remained the same over the band's career, preferring to play what they enjoy and do best, their like for the early rock and roll is reflected in some of their occasional cover songs. Motörhead's lyrics typically cover such topics as war, good versus evil, abuse of power, promiscuous sex, substance abuse, and "life on the road". World-wide the band has sold more than 41 million albums.
The band's distinctive fanged face logo was created by artist Joe Petagno in 1977 for the cover of the Motörhead album and has appeared in many variations on covers of ensuing albums.
Petagno was born in Portland, Maine and left the United States in 1972. He worked with Hipgnosis before meeting Motörhead's Lemmy in 1975, he designed "War-Pig" for the band's Motörhead album and has continued to design the majority of the album and single sleeve covers for the band. He is also (lesser) known for his science fiction book covers, notably for the Corgi SF Collector's Library edition of Ray Bradbury's The Silver Locusts aka The Martian Chronicles. He also creates non-heavy metal album covers.
In 1979, Petagno went with a travelling exhibition, sponsored by the Shah of Iran, visiting France and meeting his partner, Sanne, in Denmark, where he has lived ever since.
He has published Orgasmatron, The Heavy Metal Art of Joe Petagno, which has a foreword by Lemmy and an introduction by Steffan Chirazi. It covers his work with Hipgnosis, designing for Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, and Motörhead. Also contains reproductions of paintings on display in Denmark.
Petagno appeared in a rare interview on the bonus DVD when Motörhead re-issued their Inferno album as a 30th Anniversary Birthday Edition.(read more...)
In 1979 he formed the heavy metal band, Persian Risk, playing on their 7" singles, "Calling For You" (1981) and "Ridin' High" (1983). Compilation albums have been issued which feature some of his work with Persian Risk.
In 1984, following the departure of Brian Robertson, Motörhead frontman, Lemmy Kilminster, held auditions for a new guitarist, narrowing the candidates down to two guitarists - Phil Campbell and Michael "Würzel" Burston. Lemmy had first planned only to hire one guitarist, but upon hearing Würzel and Campbell play together, Lemmy hired them both. (read more...)
"If this band moved in next door to you, your lawn would die."
People don't read any more. It's a sad state of affairs. Reading's the only thing that allows you to use your imagination. When you watch films it's someone else's vision, isn't it? — Interview in the English newspaper The Independent, 15 October 2005.
"We've never had a good world, we don't understand how to make it a good world. the only thing we've learned in 2000 years of civilization is how to kill more people from further away, so we don't have to see it. our mindset hasn't improved at all."
"Safe sex, safe music, safe clothing, safe hair spray, safe ozone layer. Too late! Everything that's been achieved in the history of mankind has been achieved by not being safe."
"The only time I've seen any rebellion was in the fifties, sixties and early seventies. The rest of it you can keep."
"One thing I am very glad of is that I went through the sixties. People who didn't really don't know what they missed. We pushed a certain consciousness, a way of life and it was exciting - no AIDS, people weren't dying so much from drug abuse and it was truly a time of freedom and change."
"That was a great time, the summer of '71 - I can't remember it, but I'll never forget it!"
"If you think you are too old to rock 'n roll then you are."