From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)
They say that the past has a way of catching up with us. They say that sooner or later the deceptions and delusions that we've wound around our fragile lives start to unravel. All those words and excuses we've created to distance ourselves from our pasts. All those barricades we'd carefully constructed. All those castle walls and motes circling around us. All those obstacles we'd so carefully placed along our path to protect ourselves from the truth--slowly eroding. Slowly crumbling away. Sapped and undermined by the steady tides of time, lapping at our shores.
They say that all these things we do to protect ourselves from the past will never stop it from finally finding us. It's inevitable. It's unstoppable. It's the terrible beast of duality. Of life and of death. Of freedom and of captivity. The bloodhound of the soul--TIME! Precious TIME! baying in the dense fog of the past. Growing louder. Looming larger. Howling in the night as it leads those thin torch beams, searchlights, and stage lights ever closer. Its invisible footsteps shuffling in the dark murky shadows. Dogging our tracks. Closing in. Chasing us into its strange eerie corner. And they say that it waits for no man. No single soul. Not even for those of action.
A tall devilishly shaped brunette served drinks to the floating faces reflected in the two twin mirrors mounted on the wall behind her. Her curves straining beneath a skin tight red blouse and skirt leaving very little left for the imagination. She was the archetype of temptation. The poster girl of lust. A pit stop on the highway to Hell.
The room was draped in red. It flowed and dripped onto every spot that the eye rested. Down the walls and onto the carpet. Along velvet-red curtains framing a recessed stage. Across red tablecloths crawling beneath triumphant flickering candles.
There were candles everywhere. Shedding light as white as ice. Sparkling like diamonds. Dancing and emoting ethereal life. Captured souls speaking in their own silent liquid tongues of flame. Candles on the bar. Candles framing all the mirrors. And their grand master, that huge round brazier with its colossal column of flame leaping beside the window of night--reflecting off its vast pane and all the blind eyes within its sight. Life and death.
I wondered how many poor souls had stood too close to its fiery breath and spontaneously combusted. It sure looked like Hell. And I sure felt like it.
A woman rushed up to me when I'd made it to the blinding pyre. She took my hand, shook it, and excitedly purred, "Action Man, how are you?" Her voice had a British accent. I recognized it straight away. The voice of Karyn LeSuer. A local PR dame from PRinava that had contacted me awhile back hoping I'd investigate Dahlia's new CD.
"Still recovering from Motörhead!"
Her eyelids peeled back stranding her pupils in large vast white ice fields. Then she just grinned evilly.
The gent to her left extended his hand and moved in quickly. He smiled as he clasped my hand.
"Action Man, I'm Marty Hughley."
"Ah, so you're Marty!" Marty Hughley is one of the music critics for the Portland Oregonian newspaper.
"That was a great show! I really got into it. My neck was sore for three days."
"Oh, you got off easy. The Motor-mob worked me over pretty good. Couldn't move my left arm. Got a bruise the size of an old Morgan silver dollar just below my chest. Then they really got down to business. Sapped me with human bodies. Rolled 'em over my head. Left me for deaf. Took a bow. Then took it on the lam. I reckon they've sacked every major city on the West Coast by now." Marty laughed.
"I'd forgotten what it's like down there mixing with the mob. Once the boys start playing--they play for keeps--and things can get a bit rough. I hadn't been worked over like that since Folkestone. They still pack quite a punch--and there's no stopping 'em once they get rolling!"
Lemme tell you all about it.
Leafing through the Arts and Entertainment section, I discovered a photo of three dangerous looking hombres. Motörhead! It was a stock promotion photo. Black and white. The band were standing in front of the Motörhead logo--snarling at the camera.
The photo was perched above a monolithic Motörhead write-up. It mentioned that Lemmy had been in Hawkwind and wrote their greatest hit song "Silver Machine". It also mentioned that Lemmy and the boys would be holed up at the Crystal Ballroom. A place that nobody would ever expect to find them. It sure looked like Motörhead was going to catch everybody by surprise tonight.
Dance on air. That's the slogan for the Crystal Ballroom. A lofty ceiling with chandeliers and walls painted with arched murals like you'd see in a cathedral. Except it wasn't saints and holy men depicted in these murals. They were all paintings of musicians, dancers and people having a great time. Festive stuff. And the floor in this place was special too. It was furnished with wood designed to bounce beneath your feet as you glide across it. Adding that extra special spring to your step. This place was built with one thing in mind--ballroom dancing.
Were they really ready to pass the conductor's baton over to Lemmy? Ready for the repercussions of an orchestra led by the master of mayhem? And a ballroom stewed to the gills with manic Fred Astaire's transformed into denim and leather James Cagney's... huffin' and hoofin' a spirited Yankee Doodle Dandy around all those wild wanton women in the crowd?
It had all the makings of the Roaring Twenties all over again. Except this equation left out one random variable. And this little variable was planning to crash this bash and cut himself in for a piece of the action.
Dance on air? Hell, once Motörhead cut loose... launched into space would be more like it. I was expecting people to topple like dominos. Or helpless ten pins struck down by the big black balls fired from the cannons of a marauding pirate vessel.
I must admit, Phil Campbell did look particularly swashbuckling in this promotional photo. Bandanna wrapped around his head. Standing as bold and as defiant as Errol Flynn taking on an army singlehanded. He certainly was no slouch. Someone you had to keep your eyes on at all times.
I glanced out the window. It was clear. Not a cloud in the sky. Yeah, you can't believe everything you read. My dark coat would still come in handy, even on a warm cloudless evening. It acted as social camouflage. And it was a great way to transport all of my concealed hardware.
The past was converging on the present. The stage was set. The time had come. It was now time for action.
Technically speaking, I'd already let myself in by creating an illusion of pressing business to attend to. Generating an aura of belonging. Now was the time to cloud their minds further. To enlist them in my legion of agents secretly aiding me in my search--reducing some of my leg work--while cutting to the chase.
I shuffled over to the dame at the counter like I was King Lear. Favouring my right side as I kept my shoulder holster in check under my jacket. My right hand fished inside my jacket and produced an envelope. I passed it to my left hand and watched her eyes follow it away from my body. Away from the bulge under my jacket. It was an act of misdirection.
Miss Direction kindly directed me and my shadow to security over by the door. I approached him from behind, so he'd think I'd come from within.
"Excuse me, I know this is going to sound a little silly, but here goes..."
Mr. Security turned and gave me his full attention. He looked bemused. Not sure what I was about to hit him with next.
"Could you have someone send word to Lemmy that I've arrived--I'm an old friend." I smiled and chucked, "I suppose you hear that all the time, don't you?"
Mr. Security joined in on my amusement, "Yeah, all the time!"
I scribbled a name on the envelope and held it out to him. "Could you see that Lemmy gets this?"
"I'll do you one better. I'll call it in." Mr. Security pulled out his remote and spoke into it. "Is Lemmy nearby?"
"I got somebody here says he's a friend of his."
I waited patiently for this to play out.
Mr. Security glanced back at me. "What'd ya say your name was?"
I gave him an alias. An old alias that'd been idle--lying dormant. "Lamont Cranston," I replied, smiling devilishly.
"It's Cranston. Lamont Cranston." He turned his back to me.
I waited to see if there would be a nibble at my bait. Only a few moments passed as he listened on his receiver.
He turned. His wary expression transformed into a warm friendly smile. "You're In. Do you know where the Lola's Room is?"
"Yeah, I think so. Second floor?"
"Right. Go up to the second floor and straight back into the Lola's Room. Lemmy's there."
This was just dandy. I'd arrived early. Avoided the crowd. And best of all--I got in without being frisked. Everything was going like gangbusters.
As I approached the Lola's Room, Phil Campbell stepped into the hallway. I smiled, "Hey Phil!" I walked over to him and shook his hand. Phil looked amused as I rambled on. He didn't recognize me. Lemmy would be about the only one that would--once he saw past my unique disguise. I was dressed all in black. Long bushy sidewalls along the jaw ending at the corners of my mouth. No mustache. I Looked like an Amish version of Lemmy taken from a painting similar to that of Dorian Gray's. I was aging. Lemmy was not!
I leaned in closer toward Phil. "Alan Burridge says 'HI' and told me that I better not miss your show." I grinned mischievously, adding, "He said he'd shoot me if I did--SO I'M REALLY GLAD TO SEE YOU!" Phil Just chuckled. Then we parted and went our separate ways.
I saw Lemmy sitting at a table eating. He also was dressed all in black--except for his boots--they were blizzard white. He was the silent dark night rising up from the arctic snow. The union of two different worlds. Light and darkness. A fellow creature of noir.
There was a chap sitting to Lemmy's left and a dame to his right. The chap had short cropped sandy hair and matinee idol looks. He looked like a young George Peppard straight out of Breakfast at Tiffinay's. The dame sitting at the table with them wasn't Audrey Hepburn. They were in the middle of a conversation. I wasn't sure if it was an interview or not.
I sat down at a booth directly across from them. Shifted the contents under my jacket and kept the trio under close surveillance. Lemmy was leaning slightly over his plate. As he lifted his fork, he casually lifted his gaze--giving me the once over--sizing me up. Matching the face to past names and past appearances. Everything is subject to change... as time goes by.
I arched an eyebrow and gave him a slight nod. Lemmy returned his fork to the plate and his attention back to the conversation--waiting for me to make the first move. I waited, biding my time for a natural break in their conversation. Letting it take its course. Waiting for it to play itself out.
A thin, plastic badge hung from a tether around the matinee idol's neck. No, this wasn't an interview. These people with Lemmy were part of the tour.
"I got something for you," I said as I got up, gliding over to their table.
Lemmy watched me closely as I slid the envelope across the table letting it come to rest beside his plate.
"Oh, and this." I reached into my pocket and placed a small black case on top of the envelope. It bore the name of one of the Marx Brothers--Zippo.
Lemmy stared down at the case as I returned to my booth and sat back down. He casually raised the lid--exposing a dull yellow ingot bearing a crest. He froze--transfixed--lost in another time and another place.
"The last one was silver. This one is gold."
Lemmy was surprised. "They got the last one."
I nodded. "I thought that might happen. Reckoned you might need a replacement. This is the last one I have."
"They won't get this one!" Lemmy firmly tapped the ingot with his index finger. His jaw set and his eyes blazing defiance.
Lemmy smiled and introduced me to the others mentioning that I used to be stationed on a frigate out of San Diego. He quickly added, "He used to sabotage his ship so he wouldn't have to go out to sea." We both laughed.
Mr. Matinee Idol became intrigued. "Did you sail to many places?"
"Yeah, once they got it running--we were constantly underway. The Philippines, Hawaii, Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean. God, that was boring! We cut circles in the ocean for months. Nothing but water as far as the eye can see. 360 degrees of it. Every day. Every night. Nothing but sea and sky. Talk about solitary confinement! Eventually, we sailed to a place in Africa--Kenya."
Lemmy shook his head, "Too hot for me!"
"My only concern was making sure I didn't get left behind. It's a long walk home--without a passport!"
Mr. Matinee Idol blanched.
"Me and some of the boys rented a small bush plane and flew out to the Tsavo game reserve out by Tanganika near Mt. Kilimanjaro. We had several days to kill."
I chuckled, "Now that was interesting!
We slept in huts at night and followed the animals around the bush by day."
Lemmy was digesting the scenery.
"This tour of yours, It's only the West Coast?"
"Yeah, a few days. On down to San Diego."
"Then you're off to South Africa?"
"I hear it snowed there a while ago. This is their winter. Them being down there opposite of us."
Lemmy shook his head, "No, it'll be their summer when we get there."
"Then you're off to Greece, Right?"
Lemmy smiled and let out a heavy sigh, "YEAH...." His eyes were light and unfocused--dreaming of sights and visions I could only guess at.
I imagined him resting on a beach overlooking the sea. Surrounded by beautiful Mediterranean women fanning him with palm fronds and freshly peeled bikinis. Feeding him olives. The sun sparkling on the waves.
A voice interrupted my thoughts. It was Lemmy's. "Can you do something for me?"
"Sure. Name it."
"Put the word out that I'd like to hear from Mike."
"Gimme a couple of days. I just might be able to set you up."
"Tuesday would be nice."
"I reckon I can smoke him out by then."
Lemmy smiled, "Thanks!"
"Don't mention it." I paused briefly, reflecting on the past. "I'll try not to lean on him too hard. I'd rather not have to mix it with that albino." I grimaced, "They can be a real nuisance--IF YOU CROSS 'EM!" I ran my thumb back and forth across my lip.
"Na, they're still dead."
"Let's not make this personal, okay?"
"Sure." I drew my lips back from my teeth, "Whatever you say, Lem. Whatever you say." I got up and started out of the room.
Lemmy just chuckled. It sorta gave me a funny feeling inside. But I wasn't laughing.
A sofa was hemmed in against the wall between two night stands. One was loaded with lamps. The other one, next to Lemmy, was loaded with bottles. Jim Beam, Jack Daniel's and several of their distant relatives. All huddled together. One big happy family. Waiting patently. Seals all snug and in place. Bottles all fresh and full. Yeah, the night was still young.
A coffee table stood on the floor between us. A copy of Stuff magazine with Pamela Anderson overflowing its cover rested on top of it. It just as easily could have been a copy of the National Geographic--featuring the splendours of the Grand Canyon. Both are grand. Both are vast and majestic. And both are impossible to see in their entirety in an extreme close-up shot.
Over by the door stood a red-plastic ice chest and several stacks of canned beverages piled up like sandbags on a flooded riverbank. A tier of Coca-Cola rose up from the floor hiding a tier of Corona. I wondered where the limes were. Probably cowering behind the lemons. Then again, this wasn't exactly the Royal Navy.
Lemmy was turning pages of a book. Skimming through it. Totally engrossed in his new acquisition. The King Of The City. My eyes gravitated back to the magazine cover. I had a hunch it was placed there to test visitors resolve. I suspected it was booby trapped. I was on the verge of surrendering my resolve to overwhelming forces, when a roadie walked into the room.
The roadie was carrying a grey metal briefcase. "Are you ready for this, Lemmy?"
"I'll just leave it right here!" He set it down beside the coffee table--right between us.
The briefcase was plastered with a wild assortment of stickers. It looked heavy and indestructible. It looked ominous. The big question was--what was in it? Some questions are better left unasked and unanswered. It's just safer not to know.
My best guess? It sorta reminded me of the president and what he carries around with him. It probably houses controls to an array of geostationary satellites loaded up with Marshall stacks positioned all around the planet. All aimed at its surface. It's what we used to refer to during the Cold War as--The Marshall Plan.
"Would you like a drink?"
"Yeah, thanks!" I scanned the room for something to drink out of. My eyes landed on the lamps beside me on the night table. Then drifted up to the lamp shades. "Hmmm...." Lemmy silently watched me inspect the dressing room, following my gaze over to the ice chest by the door.
"Ah, knew I spotted something earlier. That'll do." I drifted across the room and returned with a large, red dixie cup.
Lemmy cracked the seal on the bottle of Jack Daniel's as I arrived with my cup.
"Just a wee bit'll be fine." I watched the cup fill. "Yeah, right there--Thanks." I returned to my chair.
Then Lemmy prepared his own drink. A couple of ice cubes. Some Jack. And a splash of Coke. He raised his cup, giving it a slight tip in my direction, in a silent toast. I returned his salute, studying the black Maltese cross--edged with silver--peeking out from his unbuttoned shirt. It was the real McCoy. An Iron Cross. "...BANZAI!"
The whiskey strained through my teeth and blazed a warm trail as it flowed down into the depths of my soul--igniting it. They say that still waters run deep. But Jack runs even deeper. Lemmy sipped his drink slowly as he leafed through his book. He had class. He had style. He had some time to kill.
I slipped a small note pad from my jacket to jot down a few facts and details.
"Have you seen Hendrix?"
Lemmy smiled, "Yeah, plenty of times."
"Seen him recently?"
He frowned, "I don't think we're on the same page."
"Sometimes the text bleeds through the pages."
"Only if they're all wet."
I closed the note pad and leaned forward. "Know anything about a death generator?"
"That's what I thought. Nobody knows nothing. Nobody's saying nothing. Maybe they're covering for somebody."
"Maybe... it's a DEAD END."
I grinned, "Maybe."
"Ya know something, Action... yer loopy!"
Mikkey rushed through the door, "Lemmy--" He glanced at me and my note pad. "Oh, an interview!"
"No. Interrogation's more like it."
Mikkey's eyes darted back and forth between us.
I stood up and strolled over to him, "He's all yours, Mikkey."
"Mikkey smiled, "Thanks. This'll only take five minutes."
"No rush, take your time. I'm through with him--for now."
Mikkey is one of those warm friendly types. Very thoughtful. And very polite. On your score card of suspects and characters--pencil him in as Prince Charming.
I left the dressing room, leaving Lemmy and Mikkey to further plot the night's rock 'n' roll mayhem. Let them get on with their business while I got on with mine. The investigation. Then I'd look into Lemmy's request. Who could refuse such a simple task. I'd be glad to take care of it for the gentleman rocker. I might even learn more in the process.
My first stop was back in the Lola's Room for a cup of java and to listen in on the roadies. The famous bomber was the topic. It was being described to a new roadie that'd never seen it in action before.
"The bomber hadn't been used in years, but they had it up and running at the Brixton Academy show in London. You should've seen it going through all of its maneuvers--right over Mikkey's head. If he would've looked up and seen it just above his head pitching and rolling... he would've dove for cover!"
I reached into my jacket for my note pad and noticed something very strange. There was a faint throbbing sensation registering at the end of my hand. At the end of my index finger. It was starting to itch and I didn't even have it on a trigger. I quickly withdrew my hand for a closer inspection.
A trickle of blood had started oozing down my finger. Funny, I don't recall cutting myself. I dabbed at it with a napkin. A fresh bead of blood quickly manifested itself. It didn't appear to be stigmata. So I sucked at the wound, until it stopped weeping.
The source of the Red Sea was a small, round pin prick at the end of my finger. I chose to ignore it. Probably just a minor accident. But it is odd that I never felt it when it'd occurred. I couldn't even recall when it'd happened. I must be getting reckless. I'll make a point of staying more alert. Pay even more attention to everything that crops up. To every detail no matter how small, how minute and insignificant they may seem at the time.
The rest of the roadies' conversation dealt with the differences of being a roadie at a club and at an arena. This included some tips, pointers and general philosophy of how to be a good roadie. Since I wasn't planning to hump equipment, I left to go up to the third floor to check out the Ballroom where Motörhead's stage was located.
My next stop was the T-shirt stall. There was a large American sitting behind the stall talking to a few people admiring the shirts. He was very friendly and enthusiastic--the perfect guy to have selling merchandise. I figured he might be Ace Trump. At least this is who he looked like if you refer back to Motörheadbangers World issue #60.
Like the roadies, Ace was talking about the Brixton show last December. He also covered a few details concerning the Hawkwind show the night before. Lemmy had joined Hawkwind on stage during their set along with Samantha Fox.
It was amusing to hear Ace mention that he had been talking with Samantha Fox and didn't realize it was her at first until someone told him later who he'd been talking with in the dressing room. I remember her only from the postcards and calendars they had of her in shops when I lived in the United Kingdom. She's a real dish. That's for sure!
The Brixton Motörhead show also had its fair share of special guests, and another dazzling dish dropped in to visit--Doro Pesch. A former model and former member of the German rock band Warlock. Lemmy is a good friend of hers and turns in two special appearances on her latest CD titled "Calling The Wild." The cover alone is enough to set your pulse racing. So load up the CD player. Strap on the safety belts. And give this babe a spin.
The people around the T-shirt stall were talking about something new that would be coming out soon. A Motörhead DVD. A DVD titled "BONESHAKER". It would be of the Brixton show and might even include some past Motörhead music videos as well. Sounds like I'll have to buy a DVD player after this Boneshaker is released.
I was in the Twilight Zone. Between the all ages section and the drinking section. An area security was using to maintain the crowd. The Ballroom had been filled by a swirling sea of animated heads that bobbed and floated within the confines of the two segregated areas.
The Twilight Zone was a clear area with plenty of room to move around in. Some equipment was off to the side by me. But I still had a clear unobstructed, if somewhat oblique, view of the stage. I could clearly see all that was going on.
I observed the lighting conditions. It was mostly red lighting. A few yellow lights flashed briefly. It looked like the high speed black and white film would be the roll I'd start off with tonight. Then I'd switch to colour film using a flash.
Originally the support act scheduled for tonights show was a band called Soul Brains (a reunion of Bad Brains) but this changed suddenly a few days before the show as a result of the World Trade Center attack. Soul Brains didn't want to fly out from New York, I guess. So instead of Soul Brains, we had the Catheters opening. Then Mudhoney. Both bands played hard and heavy, clearly glad to be supporting Motörhead.
Throughout the Catheters set they yelled out to the crowd, "Are you ready for Motörhead? Are you ready for Motörhead?"
Yes, the crowd was ready for Motörhead.
In between acts the music blaring over the PA was very distinctive. It was all music by the Beatles. Can you believe that? The Beatles at a Motörhead show? I had a hunch that the Beatles' "1" CD was being played in its entirety. In an alternate universe, Lemmy and Paul McCartney are playing in each others bands.
Mudhoney continued in the hard and heavy vein. The atmosphere was building in intensity as they played a cover of Alice Cooper's "Long way To Go".
During a break between songs their singer said, "I can't believe we're opening for Motörhead. I've always wanted to open for Motörhead and here we are opening for Motörhead!" Let's face it... everybody was here for Motörhead and damn glad to have this rare opportunity to see them again in Portland.
As soon as Mudhoney completed their set, I dove into the all ages crowd and worked my way down front. Somehow I had managed to get within one person of the security rail. In front of me was a middle aged chap and his cute niece.
The niece was a short, attractive brunette in her late teens or early 20's. She appeared to be the ideal person to have in front of me if I was going to have anyone at all between me and the stage. My camera could easily cover the stage. I'd just shoot right over her head. This certainly looked like the perfect spot. This'd be a cakewalk.
A male teenager, tall, thin, and wearing a black leather jacket got my attention. "Hi. This is my first Motörhead show. I'm 17."
I puzzled over this and simply replied, "I don't know how many shows I've seen. The first was with the original line up."
His eyes bulged in shock, "That's before I was born! I wish I could have seen them then."
Even the niece was older than he was. She just smiled and looked cute. Her uncle gave us a quick history lesson about Lemmy. Roadie for Hendrix. Was in Hawkwind. Then formed the loudest band in the world--Motörhead! Yeah, everyone must have read the Oregonian today.
The crowd erupted in loud cheers. Motörhead walked onto the stage and took up their positions. So did security. Phil was nearby to my left. Mikkey was somewhere behind the raised drum kit in front of me. Lemmy was to my right somewhere behind the security stiff blocking my view of him. It looked like Phil would be getting the lion's share of the photos tonight. I wondered if Phil had slipped that security stiff some dosh to stand between my camera and Lemmy.
As soon as "We Are Motörhead" started playing... the crowd rushed forward in a wild surge. I was fixed in place with nowhere to go. My left arm was pinned down at my side. And that little lady, the niece, was no lady--she was a hellcat!
Her ass thrust firmly back into my crotch as she started grinding in time to Mikkey's assault on the skins. Photography was the farthest thing from my mind at the moment. I'd never had a lap dance performed at Motörhead speed and intensity before. But it was her elbow that was really killing me.
I felt like I was being impaled. It was over my right side--digging in--just below my chest. If it had been on my left side, I'd have been convinced she was a vampire slayer. I had my free hand around her elbow and was slowly sliding it out and away from my body like Christopher Lee struggling with one of Dr. Van Helsing's stakes in those old Hammer horror films.
While I struggled with her lethal elbow, Motörhead provided an intense soundtrack. The crowd pressed in like runaway steam rollers. The stage lights flashed like lightning. Phil rifled his guitar strings. Mikkey thundered. Lemmy leered malevolently--searching through the crowd's faces--selecting fresh new victims to focus on. Chuckling over the desperate show of hands straining to gain his attention. Randomly returning a few hand gestures and laughing heartily over the excitement he'd conjured up. He had them right where he wanted them--teetering on the edge of the abyss--screaming for more.
I was surrounded by lemmings.
A busty blonde to my left, with a vibrant tattoo sprawled across her soft shoulder, was bouncing up and down in the throws of self-induced polyrhythms. Unleased, unfettered and totally set free. Sweat beading on her radiant face. Oblivious to my struggle only a mere gasp away. She sure could turn heads. And that was about the only thing you could do in this crowd.
A head lolled on my right shoulder. I turned to look. There was a mousy dame looking up into my eyes. Face covered with sweat and a large radiant smile of pure ecstasy. Some people were clearly getting off on this. Meanwhile, I continued struggling with the niece's elbow. Eventually managing to free myself at last.
Dracula had risen from the grave!
I raised my camera and aimed between the heads and hands waving at the security barrier. My mind was back on photography. I couldn't tell you about the sound. I sensed the songs instead of heard them. I knew what was playing by how it felt. The vibrations on my skin. The synchronized patterns of the human bodies around me. They were the organic notes Motörhead were playing. Playing like masters.
Phil was working the crowd. He was standing by the stacks in the bright light. My camera tracked him as I fired shot after shot. Phil close up. Phil far away. Phil at the edge of the stage. Phil's foot up on an amp as he leaned into the crowd so close you could've polished his shoes. He was constantly moving.
Lemmy was moving too! And everywhere that Lemmy went--that security stiff was sure to follow. Blocking my view. I couldn't believe it. This had to be a conspiracy.
Lemmy pointed out into the crowd at an individual and mouthed the words, "For you." A cheer erupted where he pointed. Then his hand continued the search. Lemmy pointed to another place and mouthed, "For him." His finger turned inward on himself as he mouthed, "FOR ME." The crowd went wild. I could hear shouts of "Motörhead", "LEMMY", and "HAWKWIND". And then I heard something more personal. Something I wasn't expecting.
A voice next to my right ear yelled, "I'm trying to get him to move for you." It was the 17 year old teen in the leather jacket. He was indicating the security stiff directly in front of me. How he was gonna do that I didn't know.
A few moments later, something suddenly hit me on the head. There was a struggle. My camera went up to my face and tried to parallel park inside my nose. My hair was combed across my skull with somebodies leg. I was still standing when a body was rolled over my head and dumped over the security barrier.
The crowd was hangin' ten. I must have counted half a dozen go over my head. Security personnel were scrambling to catch them all as they tumbled over like spawning salmon. It was amazing, I could see Lemmy now!
I discovered that the crowd relaxed between songs. I could move my hands better. A little faster, but not much. This was the time to change film and lenses. You couldn't do it any other time for fear of dropping something and not being able to pick it back up. Retrieving equipment from my jacket seemed to take five minutes as my hand inched in slow motion. Down. In. Fishing around for an item I couldn't see. Identifying it only by touch. Then drawing it back out and up to my camera.
I was exchanging odd expressions with a dame next to me while I was trying to visualize the inside of my pocket. I was trying desperately to avoid accidently sending my hand down into her cleavage. It probably didn't matter at this point. Everyone was one unified organism by now anyway. And if I did loose something, it'd be much safer there than on the floor. But would I be able to retrieve it later? Perhaps. She was returning a smile in response to my odd expressions of concentration. I was trying to visualize my pocket, but I was seeing double. And she was a far sight more interesting than my pocket. I returned her smile.
Lemmy was in full kaleidoscopic view now. I had the multi-image filter on my camera. It would be great to get at least one good arty photo of Lemmy just for the novelty of it. I must have shot six photos like this just hoping I'd get one that'd work out. This was not exactly the place to take your time and compose the shots the way you would like them. It was more a matter of taking them while you can. As quickly as you can.
The songs quickly rumbled to their conclusion and Motörhead left after Phil, Lemmy, and Mikkey gathered at the front of the stage--bowing to the crowd. After they left the stage, the crowd released its grip on me and slowly filtered out into the night.
My coat was drenched. Soaked clean through. It felt like a heavy wet towel that'd been used to swab up a swimming pool.
I found John Paugh by the area we had watched the support acts from. He had a Motörhead set list in his hand as his prize souvenir from the show. The songs listed on it were: We Are Motörhead / Bomber / No Class / Over Your Shoulder / Metropolis / Ramones / Shoot You In The Back / God Save The Queen / Born To Raise Hell / Damaged Case / Sacrifice (drum solo) / Orgasmatron / Going To Brazil / Iron Fist / Killed By Death / Ace Of Spades / Overkill.
They certainly described the events that transpired out in the crowd very well. They were all hits. They were all epic songs performed by the real masters of rock--Motörhead!
Music drifted over from the Lola's Room. Disco type music. Sometime before the witching hour, DJ Gregarious started spinning his magic for a free-for-all boogie session. That's boogie-- NOT BOGIE!
Jay Bozich, King Black Acid's mixman, came waltzing up the hallway and did a double take when he recognized me. "What are you doing here?"
"Motörhead were playing."
"No, there!" I hitched my thumb over my shoulder and flagged their dressing room door.
"Shouldn't they be over at the Roseland, instead?"
I laughed, "They pulled a fast one... tried to get the jump on us by being unpredictable."
"I heard things were getting a little out of hand here. It took me ten minutes just to get in the building. Where were you during all this?"
"Guilty as charged officer--right down front--at the security barrier."
Jay rolled his eyes, smiled and shook his head. "You got a death wish."
"And they sure tried pretty damn hard to grant it. So what're you here for?"
"Thought I'd drop in to help out in the Lola's Room."
"I might as well join you, Motörhead seem to be swamped."
Jay and I entered the Lola's room and walked over to the mixing desk. A song by Nena was playing. The room was packed with dancers and people milling about the bar. It was a very strange transition. Shifting between all these different musical worlds.
Jay frowned, squinting at the levels "You got a flashlight?"
I reached into my jacket and pulled out a camera flash unit.
Jay laughed, "Not a flash. A FLASHLIGHT!"
I replaced it and pulled out a flashlight.
"How much hardware are you packing?"
"Let's just put it this way--I'm ready for anything, tonight"
The room was slowly starting to thin out when I glanced back at the door. Three dark figures entered the room. One of them was Lemmy. They drifted toward the bar for a moment before heading back the way they'd came.
Lemmy stopped. Turned. Made eye contact with me. He raised his right arm and signaled goodbye with a slow repetitive half folding motion of his hand. Like he was snuffing out invisible candles. One by one. It was almost hypnotic how slowly he waved. Then he just turned and vanished into the night.
I lowered my hand and my gaze after Lemmy faded into the shadows. I looked down at the red spot on my finger, drifting off into thought. "Blood... Bled... Bleed... BLEEDS! Sometimes the text bleeds through the pages.... Bleeding through its own skin. And wherever it bleeds, it breeds, and the story soon begins." I shook my head and pulled my note pad out of my jacket for another look.
I ripped a page out of my note pad. There were two words written on it. Lined out. Struck out. They were the words "DEATH GENERATOR". I didn't recall writting them. They didn't make any sense to me at all. Must not be very important. Just some doodle on the page.
I wadded up the page and tossed it into the rubbish bin, with a half folding motion of my hand--like I was snuffing out invisible candles. Then I left the room, vanishing into the night.
Two shadows left downtown Portland that night. One was headed South, toward California... searching for new ears to enthrall. The other headed East, toward the waterfront... searching for Michael Moorcock. The only lingering trace they left behind was an eerie, mocking laugh.
The seed of rhyme... bears better fruit--LEMMY KNOWS!