December 1999

Motörhead - Live, Loud & Lewd
DCC/Big Ear Music EAZ 4020
Released: 1999

by Chuck Moe

Musical Performance ***
Recording Quality *
Overall Enjoyment **

[Reviewed on CD]The English band Motörhead has been thrashing and shredding their version of metal since the ‘70s. I say their version because Lemmy Kilmister, the band’s founder, has always played the way he wants to play: loud, fast, and raw. Motörhead was thrash before thrash was cool. Many of the ‘80s metal bands were influenced by Motörhead’s crunching riffs and anvil-like hooks.

Fast-forward to today, and Motörhead is still doing it their way. Although the band never really "made it" in America, they sustain a large cult following. The biggest recognition was a Grammy nomination in 1992 for the album 1916. In Europe, however, their fame was unparalleled in the early thrash-metal days. I have seen Motörhead in both America and Europe, and there is no doubt that Europeans appreciate Motörhead much more than we Yankees do.

The attraction of this disc is the 12 live tracks never before released in the US. The disc includes classic Motörhead tunes such as "Overkill," "Motörhead," and "Iron Fist." The recordings are from various locations, and the performance is steady and solid throughout. Lemmy’s raspy vocals are a trademark of the Motörhead sound (I’m surprised he still has functioning vocal chords). Fast Eddie Clark is well…fast. Let’s face it, this is Motörhead, so there’s not a lot of diversity here. One of the most enjoyable tracks is the live version of "The Train Kept A Rollin’." A version unlike all others, this one is downright fun.

Before I get into the sonic qualities of this release, allow me to prepare you. You know that old live-bootleg record that everyone has, sounds like crap, but you still have fun listening to it? Think of Live, Loud & Lewd the same way. Come to think of it, most of my live bootlegs sound better. Anyway, this CD sounds bad, very bad. The soundstage is horrible, and the noise and distortion (unwanted distortion, mind you) is very bad at times. Everything sounds compressed, muddied, undefined and, at times, hardly intelligible. As I listened through the tracks, I became accustomed to the poor recording until I hit the last two "bonus tracks," which actually sounded worse. I could go on and on describing the problems, but you get the point. Obviously DCC/Big Ear Music didn’t have much to work with here.

Once again, think of this as a bootleg of unreleased live tracks and nothing more. To be fair, Motörhead sounds bad live, so if anything, this recording is realistic. To sum up, this disc’s time is better spent on a boom box rather than an audiophile rig.