When the bands that collectively fell under the banner of “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” started making waves in the late 70’s and early 80’s, nobody thought they’d still be crushing it more than 35 years later (Motörhead are celebrating 40 years this year). Metal was “a fad”. And yet both Iron Maiden and Motörhead have new albums out, and are touring the world to support them.
Including this year’s release “The Book of Souls”, Iron Maiden’s discography has grown to thirty-seven albums, including sixteen studio albums, eleven live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations. They have sold over 90 million albums worldwide.
Once again, they’ll be taking their own plane “Ed Force One” on tour, and once again lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson will be the pilot in command. They’ve upped the stakes a little from previous tours on which they used a Boeing 757, and are going with a tricked out Boeing 747 for 2016.
Bruce Dickinson says, “When the opportunity arose from my friends at Air Atlanta Icelandic to lease a 747 for The Book of Souls World Tour, of course we jumped at the chance, who wouldn’t? The greatest benefit of travelling in a 747 is that because of its colossal size and freight capacity we can carry our stage production and all our stage equipment and (sound and light) desks in the cargo hold without having to make any of the immense structural modifications needed to do this on the previous 757, the extent of which fans will have noted on the Flight 666 DVD. Although in reality we cannot carry much more gear the savings in complexity, time and cost make using the 747 even more practical. All we will need to do is “paint” it and move a few seats around, with the added advantage that there is much more room for band and crew – our Krew can almost get a row of seats each to catch up on sleep on the flights! Furthermore, it is marginally faster – 0.85 MACH – and the range of around 7000NM (13,000 km) is much greater which means we will not have to make the refuelling stops we needed to with the 757.
“However, even though we have worked out the logistics of taking a plane of that immense size out on tour, I still have to learn to fly it before we can go anywhere! So, I’m currently doing my training to qualify as a pilot and Captain on a Boeing 747. I’m doing this at Cardiff Aviation, my aircraft maintenance facility in Wales, where we recently took possession of a rather splendid 747 simulator which I can’t wait to get practising on!”
Motörhead have released twenty-two studio albums, ten live recordings, twelve compilation albums and five EPs, and have sold between 15 and 20 million albums worldwide over the last 40 years. The latest is “Bad Magic”.
I’d argue that despite all that, Lemmy and his crew still don’t get the recognition and respect that they deserve in a broader sense. Musicians know what he’s contributed, and millions of Motörheadbangers know it too, but if the world was just, Motörhead would be in the same position as Maiden and Rush…headlining stadiums.
Poor Lem has suffered a few health problems over the last little while. Over 5 decades of “the life” has taken it’s toll, I guess. Still, he’s a few months shy of 70 and even he’d probably admit it’s a bit of a miracle he’s still alive, much less touring with the loudest band on earth.
Here’s what I love about Motörhead; you always know what you’re going to get. They aren’t “experimental” or “cutting edge” or any of that. They are a fierce rock and roll band with a defined style, and if you enjoy that style there are none better.
Here’s to a few more good years, Mr. Kilmister. You have enriched my life, and I am grateful.