It appears as if my lifetime has been fuelled by an overdose of adrenaline; I have never been the kind of person to sit down and do nothing. In the main, TV bores me, and very few, if any, of the diet of programmes they feed us with, by cable or satellite dish, has ever had a profound effect, and none have changed my life. But I listen to CD’s frequently, watch the odd DVD, and go to see live bands as often as I can. The main time-consumers are family, reading, and spending far too much time on the PC.
Yes, I write my fiction, you know that. It’s not as successful as I would like it to be, but what can you do? All things in life are a gamble. Every item we buy has to be there and available in the shops, otherwise they would never be bought. Likewise the fiction, if I had never written the books, they wouldn’t be there for those who want to buy them. The very first rule of marketing, I believe. But I enjoy writing them, so whether people buy them or not is largely immaterial; but a heartfelt thank you to those who have and do so.
Motorheadbangers the fan club is also something which had to be put out there for the people who wanted it, and I enjoy doing that, too. And if we enjoy doing something, it is not a chore, so there is no battle to win. No one has to force me away from the soap operas and the other god-awful pap they call 21st Century TV entertainment to keep the fan club running. Some have asked: “How (my wife) Jane puts up with it?” What has she to put up with? I’m at home. I’m not down the pub, (but I drink far too much here, I will add, before someone else does), and I’m not at a football match: (one of those was enough to last me a lifetime, but that’s another story!), and I’m sticking to my marriage vows, because no one except Jane would put up with this rather odd lifestyle of mine.
Fan clubs have always been regarded as a rip-off, and in many unfortunate cases, fans have sent their money and received little or nothing in return. As if to compound (the misery of) joining a fan club, they always seem to take an eternity to reply. Some have made headlines in the newspapers and on TV, with throngs of ripped-off fans punching their fists in the air demonstrating their immense disapproval at what they had paid for and been promised, but eventually, didn’t receive. The feeble excuse always seemed to be: “We were inundated, and the fan club staff couldn’t cope.” Cobblers! They can hire staff from an agency to get them through the crisis. There should never be an excuse, the fans are a band’s/artiste’s lifeblood, and you do not piss them off!
From day-one, my mind was made up that none of the above scenarios would apply to the fan club relating to Motorhead. The band have always given value-for-money, and the fan club would always follow suit. For what-you-pay versus what-you-get, Motorheadbangers has always been a bargain. Even now I receive letters from fans saying: “I’ve seen your address on the album sleeves for years, so I think it’s about time I joined.” Then, when they do, inevitably another letter follows: “What a fool I’ve been! I should have joined before!” It’s not their fault, it is the fault of the stigma surrounding fan clubs; and it is that very stigma which I have done my utmost to destroy. There is no way Motorhead would get a bad name from something I had done, or not done, whichever the case may be!
So, three times a year I get the fanzines together. I never have to curse under my breath, or wring my hands in despair when the publication of a new issue looms on the horizon; because, it is, and always has been, fun to do. To others, not made the way I am, it would be a chore, so this must be why it has worked for so long.
The most asked question over the years must be: “Have you met the band?” I fail to understand how anyone can run a fan club and not know the person or people they are doing something like this for. A few letters over the years have called me names relating to the state of play with regard to my parent’s marital status when I was born, because they are envious of my meeting the band. Envy and jealousy have never entered into my life. They are both aspects of the human psyche which I have had the good fortune not suffer, and equally, find it difficult to understand it in others. They are both destructive, and my life has been lived all the better without them. By and large, Motorhead have always been fairly accessible. If you want to meet them, you can; you just have to get to the venue early, or stay late afterwards. They have never been a band to hide from their fans, and after 30 years on the road, I can’t see them changing their ways. Fans are the people who buy the albums, go to the gigs, and provide the lifestyle the band enjoys, so why should they snub them and hide from the hands that feed?
But yes, other than original drummer, Lucas Fox, I have met them all, and they have been top-notch people bar-none. Lemmy: (Uncle Rotter): Rather than dribble on uncontrollably; I know that he knows, and he knows that I know, and in a nutshell, more than words can ever say. Larry Wallis: quietly spoken, and very amiable. Fast Eddie Clarke: an instant friend, and always will be. Philthy Animal Taylor: the joker, the loony, thankfully he has never changed and never will. Brian ‘Robbo’ Robertson: the typical feisty Scot, we had some good talks about guitars. Peter Gill: amazed when I treated him, Phil Campbell, and Wurzel, to beans on toast when they first joined the band and were skint. Phil Campbell: a great friend, who also shares my birthday, but with a 10 year age difference. Wurzel: despite the hiccup, I miss him. Mikkey Dee: a powerfully intelligent bundle of positive energy whether drums are present or not.
25 years, and they have disappeared so quickly. 72 fanzines, with an average page count of 16, that’s 1,152+ pages about Motorhead; and 2 books – well, they can blame me for the disappearance of some of the rain-forest, can’t they!
It makes me feel somewhat humbled that a world-famous band joined forces with a rock fan from Dorset and have allowed him to do this for so long. It has been a privilege and an honour, not only in doing it for Motorhead, but also the fans, the MHB’s; as so many have become friends. My thanks to you all.
But one person deserves my personal thanks more than anyone. Brian Tawn. Brian has organised Hawkwind’s ‘Hawkfan’ fanzine for over 30 years now. When Lemmy moved on to Motorhead, Brian tried keeping fanzines going for both Hawkwind and Motorhead, but found it too much. Fate intervened. Brian and I happened to be corresponding, phoning one another, etcetera, and in conjunction with then Motorhead manager, Douglas Smith, Lemmy, Philthy, and Fast Eddie; they agreed to allow me to give the Motorhead side of things my best shot. As the title to this essay tells us, my best shot has lasted quite a while. If any dues were to be paid, I think I’ve paid mine in full. But had it not been for fate and Brian Tawn, then I don’t know who would be typing this up just now? For once in my life, (well, twice, actually, cos there’s Jane, too), I happened to be in the right place at the right time.
The list could go on forever as so many have done so much, but Mick Stevenson has been a worthy cohort through the majority of the years. Mick has been the intrepid instigator behind most of the MHB’s merchandise, so not only do I thank him, but you should, too. I am the world’s worst for buying clothes, so without Mick, my T-shirt drawer would be empty, and all I’d have to wear is black jeans.
A little too old for the electronic age, ink and paper have always been my forte, but Sarmad Sheikh conjured up a knockout AB/MHB website which has almost changed my mind. His now almost trademark expertise can also be enjoyed on the main Motorhead site.
Also Robert Kiewik. He knows why, and he didn’t forget his toothbrush, and I never will, either.
Eddie Evans and Nigel Moore are my last, (though not least), for grabbing me by my agoraphobic scruff of the neck, strapping me in the car, and getting me back on the road.
There have been many others down the years who also deserve thanks and appreciation – you know who you are.
The fan club has worked so well due to the fans chipping in with their reviews, photos, etcetera, and also because I am a fan! A great many fan clubs are run by organisations with no interest, other than financial, in the artistes themselves. It makes a great deal of difference of you’re rooting for the band whilst you’re doing what you do, rather than something you have to do to pay the bills.
For this first 25 years, I’ll say I’ve enjoyed every minute. To even consider either the band or myself having another 25 left in us – No way!