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LUCAS FOX (MOTORHEAD): "I met Lemmy at the Speakeasy and through Motorcycle Irene who was someone I spent a lot of time with…"

We are presenting exclusive interview with former Motorhead drummer Lucas Fox!

Objavljeno: 11.07.2019. 09:00

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LUCAS FOX (MOTORHEAD):

 

How did you get in to the music world? As a kid or later?

 

I started drumming at the age of nine and washed cars in the snow to buy my first drum-kit.

 

What were your infuences? What did you listen when you were young and did you go in some clubs as teen or listen music in friends flats?

 

My first musical memories are Rose Murphy’s Busy Line, the Ink Spots ‘It don’t mean a thing (if you ain’t got that swing), Rachmaninov’s Warsaw Concerto, Buddy Holly’s Peggy Sue and later Elvis’ The Devil in Disquise…

At the age of 11 I saw loads of shows like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles at Hammersmith Odeon which wasn't far from where we lived in Chiswick. As a teenager I went to the Marquee most weeks and went to the Bath (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd…) and Isle of Wight festivals (Dylan, the Who, Free, Joe Cocker…) amongst many… In short out of all the bands that played or came to the UK at the time, I only missed Janis Joplin and the Doors… I saw Hendrix many times, Cream, the Faces, the Kinks, Chuck Berry, Ike and Tina Turner, Little Richard, Otis Redding…..
 

How did you get in music bussiness? You didn't want to do some boring jobs or you were always into the some music art? Lemmy said he did go into this bussiness because of girls :) :)

 

I started in bands when I was still at school at the age of 13. I went to Art college for a year and came out straight into bands rehearsing and playing gigs at the age of 17.

I realised that all the musicians I liked hung out at the Speakeasy club in Margaret street. So, I lied about my age and became a member at 17 instead of 21. I got used to being in the same space as the musicians of the time and their whole ethic built up from the sixties…and there were a lot of girls…and I’ve always been into girls…but not just any girls… ;)
 

How did you met Lemmy?

 

It was at the Speakeasy and through Motorcycle Irene who was someone I spent a lot of time with…

 

Did you know well guys from Pink Fairies, Hawkwind and what do you think about them, did you do something together with them, hang out?

 

Lemmy and I had been hanging out together for a long time every time he wasn't on tour… I met and got to know loads of people and musicians in that period, Paul Kossof (Free).. Steve Took (T Rex…), Chris Wood (Traffic) – they were a real bunch of characters… went to lots of parties and crazy endings (in bed with several girls…always pretty, often crazy!) I got on well with Nik Turner, Simon King, and Alan Powell (Hawkwind), Dikmik (ex Hawkwind) and I became close for years, Sandy Sanderson, Twink (Pink Fairies). We were all going to the same parties, clubs, pubs etc…

 

How did you met Larry Wallis?

 

When Lemmy was kicked out of Hawkwind, he really didn't want to see anybody… except me.

After about three weeks (where famously he managed to bed 4 of the Hawkwind wives!), the idea to form a band came about. Previous to this he was more than happy to be a side-man and enjoy the advantages of being in a band (gigs, girls, fame…) without having the responsibility of fronting a band etc…

So that was when we started to look for guitarists and Larry popped up as an obvious choice as Hawkwind and the Fairies often shared the same stage at free festivals… we also approached Luther Grosvenor (Arial Bender - Mott the Hoople) who I really liked.

That would have been a killer combination with the double guitars … Lemmy, Lucas, Larry, Luther would have had a certain ring to it too!

Unfortunately, Luther wanted to start his own band called Widowmaker.
 

 

Can you tell us some stories from back stage and off stage of those first 6 months with Motorhead, this first tour?

 

The first six months were exciting bizarre and chaotic. The performances were good overall though some suffered from lack of good sound on stage and our lack of rehearsals…The crowd were flattened by the sheer volume of the onslaught. Lemmy and Larry had problems being on the same time zones and often ended up not rehearsing at all. There was not a lot of song-writing going down either…..; Lemmy and I roomed together (when we actually bothered to go to sleep). One night on stage Lemmy sauntered over to me between numbers and said << did you see that guy over there (nodding towards the left-hand side of the stage), he’s got his head INSIDE the PA speaker and he’s banging it against the side… he’s a real Headbanger! >> This was the first time that the term was used! The Headbanger was born!
 

With Motorhead, did you all hang out together off stage too?

 

Off stage we did hang out quite a lot and went to Reading Festival together and other ‘events’. We used to go over to Larry’s flat in Wandsworth, he had a rattlesnake, a boa constrictor and a parrot called Sally in his bedroom! Most of the time though it was Lemmy and I hanging out…after clubs closed we would go round people’s apartments to wake them up and party… often it was girls… we were pretty persuasive…I ended up waking up in all sorts of different places (when we ended up going to sleep that is…!) he he! I had my car, ‘the Fridge’ (because the heating wasn’t very efficient and it was a white box van) so we’d go all over the place in and outside London.
 

What guys didn't like about your drumming? Lemmy said you were ok but 'you didn't have a bite'.

 

Lemmy was fine with the drumming on all the first gigs, the amphetamines kicked in to my detriment later – it turned out that sulphate wasn’t my drug!

 

There are 4 songs with you on EMI reissue, plus one on 'On Parole' album. How this recording happened, Lemmy said there was two producers, with second one came Phil Taylor too and he just overdubed drums. What was exact process from day one, can you remember? Because even Lemmy didn't remember all.

 

We laid all the tracks down with Dave Edmunds and his guitar, bass and drum sounds were phenomenal. At this time though I was in a strange state and was in another space. Dave had gone off to other pastures mid-album and the idea to replace my drum tracks came up...So one thing led to another and it was now my turn to be on the ejector seat.

Phil came in and the rest, as they say is history… In the end the great Motörhead combination for me was the Lemmy, Fast Eddie and Phil…but I don’t regret having been instrumental in starting the band at all… I found out the last time I saw Lemmy before he died,, we were for an hour and a half in his dressing room in Paris. Turns out that there wouldn’t have been a band if I hadn’t been there for him in ’75 … look at the result all these years later, thousands of gigs and hundreds of thousands of happy fans!
 

There are at least two bootlegs with you from that first tour, it was not that bad at all like Lemmy said. Too bad they weren't recorded good. Did you hear them and if you did how they sound to you from today point of view?

 

I love the feel of the bootlegs, I’m sure that some smart engineer out there would be able to restore the sound as it was on stage. Lemmy’s bass sound, as ever was enormous but also very tuneful, Larry had great sound too and had way more middle than you hear on the recording. I was playing my 60’s Ludwig kit (with extra thick shells) that I’d bought off the Four Tops who sold it to a drum shop in London. This was the same Ludwig kit that became the ‘Black Kit’ (all the hardware was matt black as well as the shells…) So, the drum sound was good and deep too (I still tune a lot of my toms down to fit between the guitars and bass… check out the sounds on the ‘Resident Reptiles’ Pink Fairies album (Cleopatra Records).
 

 

Do you have any tapes or photos from that time?

 

The photos that I have are on my Instagram (lucasfox_fox) and my Facebook page. Also, in the ‘1975’ Motörhead book. No, I haven’t got any extra recordings of Motörhead. There are the two bootlegs of the first show at the Roundhouse and a bootleg of the BOC gig at Hammersmith Odeon, someone said the other day that there was  bootleg from the Marquee....
 

 

Did you know bands where Lemmy was before like Opal Butterfly, Sam Gopal and Rockin Vickers?

 

Yes I heard the stuff the Rockin’ Vickers were playing which really rocked out and Sam Gopal (much more folky)… I never heard Opal Butterfly.
 

After you left how did you end up with Andy Colquhoun and Warsaw Pakt?

 

Between Motörhead and the Warsaw Pakt there were a couple of other bands… they got me back on the drum stool and playing tight like I used to. Then the Warsaw Pakt gig came up. Seemed like a good mix, Andy (Colqhoun) and John (Walker) had a good combination of guitars, steaming vocals from Jimmy and some really mean songs with good melodies… It was a cracking good band live, raw and edgy and Lemmy loved us!
 

Andy said you and him did practice a lot. What can you said about him and about other from band because there are very little informations on internet? What did you do off stage, hang out together? And did you have a plan for second album?

 

John was my neighbour, we lived in the same house in Blenheim Crescent in Ladbroke Grove. We kicked around together a lot. Andy and I got real close as it was a lot of the time a drums and guitar thing, well tight keeping a wild edge to which Chris (Underhill) and John who were less wild kept the centre going, Andy and I used to meet up all the time and John, Andy and I were real close, all living in the same area… We used to rehearse all the time in the (now famous) Bunker’ at the top end of Portobello Road, constantly working up new songs and honing the set to be as exciting as possible.

Doing the album was a trip… Mim, the bands’ manager came up with the direct to disc idea. It really was a statement against all the bands who spent four to six months in the studio. Long sound check, straight down, straight through one side, a break, then straight through the other. We did it three times and chose the best sides.

The lacquer direct off the cutting lathe was driven by sports car to have the mother made and the pressing plant pressed all 5 thousand copies overnight. Through the night we rubber stamped and stuck stickers on all 5 thousand covers… then later on we signed loads at Virgin Record shop in Marble Arch. The story goes (which you can kind of understand) the record companies realised that, if the idea caught on, they would no longer be able to get the bands indebted to them for all this studio time - they would lose some of their precious control over them. Also, needless to say, all the studios were also making a lot of money with these extended recording sessions…So Island, I think under pressure, decided to press no more...
 
 

How did you end up later in The Sisterhood project? What was the connection? And what did you do on that project?

 

It was a long time Motörhead at roughly the same time as the tenth Anniversary gig at Hammersmith Odeon.

I had been, based office wise, in All Saint’s Road with Troubadour, a touring company, Merciful Release (Andrew Eldrich and the Sisters of Mercy) and Nick Jones’ management company and label (Fools Dance, Screaming Blue Messias). So, when Louane the Scientist’s drummer left on the eve of the support tour to Sisters of Mercy, I was asked to step in. I’d been producing quite a lot at the time. I played with Civilisation Machine at the Whisky a Gogo in Wardour street the night before and learnt the songs overnight and on the drive up to Glasgow, the first gig. It was a great tour and the Scientists songs kicked well and I remember going down well….despite it being a strictly Sisters audience… I’d known Andrew and the Sisters before the tour, but they’d never seen me play. The six-week tour ended with Andrew inviting me on stage to sing Knocking on Heaven’s Door with him on the last gig at the Top Rank in Brighton. We continued the night together and I was driven back to London with Andrew… We went to Portobello Market in the morning and there were already bootleg cassettes of the last night’s Sisters gig being sold on the stalls on the market. It was an intense time, I was producing indie bands, still playing sessions, there was even a track produced by Karel Fialka with me singing lead (‘You don’t have to be rough to be ready’)!. So when the troubles started between the Sisters and Andrew, and Wayne took the group, the sound engineer, the lighting man and wanted to name his new band after the Sisters of Mercy’s fan club, Sisterhood…. this was the last straw for Andrew so he asked me to produce Giving Ground, as he contractually couldn’t and gave me James Ray to sing it… it was released on his label under the name Sisterhood and stayed at number 1 in the Indie charts for 3 months. Wayne named his band the Mission. I then joined Andrew to work on the album Gift at Fairfield studios in Hull...
 
 

Did you have a plan for more collaboration with The Sisters Of Mercy?

 

We worked in Hull for 6 weeks on the Gift album and only at night!

We worked on the extended version of Giving Ground, slicing the 2-inch tape, marking it with china graph pencils and hanging the pieces round the control room before reassembling them in the version you now hear. I also spent 6 days working flat out with James Ray on his vocals for This Corrosion in London before going back up to Hull with the tape. I sung and spoke vocals on several tracks and we had Patricia (Morrison – Gun Club…) come up to work on bass and vocals. We had Alan Vega (Suicide) record some yells and screams which we used as well. Most of the time though it was just me and Andrew getting up and having breakfast early afternoon and working through the night, coming back to the hotel around 8 or 9, going to bed and getting up and starting over again…

Then we mixed the album at Pete Townshend’s Eel Pie Island studios in Twickenham in London.
 

Why did you end up in Paris? I heard you were organiser for some festival? Tell us more about that era.

 

I had had experience in producing bands (Sisterhood, A Wedding Anniversary, E Katerina Velika, Paul Collins Beat, Batmen…) and with touring (lots of bands) and organising concerts (in the UK for bands that I was in or producing) and of stage tech (an engineer friend of mine kidnapped me for a 6 week UK tour which was great education!).

So the Midem organisation in Cannes (biggest music convention worldwide) contacted me to be Technical director for a series of international TV shows with bands playing live going out to 15 countries. I leapt at it and the first year went well. For the next 2 years I was Programming director AND Technical director (James Brown, Al Jareau, Simply Red…)
 
 

 

Did you ever wanted to make your own band?

 

Yes ‘SPYS was a band I started with Graeme Kilo (album SPYS on Edel, loads of gigs)… Carl Groszman’s White Lightning too…
 

 

You did new album under Pink Fairies name 'Resident Reptiles'. Album is really good. Was this Alan's idea to invite you in band? How this happened?

 

It was Cleopatra records who contacted me and knowing Alan’s history (Lemmy’s protégé and 20 years in Hawkwind) and Paul Rudolph (Pink Fairies, Brian Eno 4 albums) it sounded like a good combination. We then started exchanging bits of music… and after three weeks I realised that there were no real ‘lyrics’ so I ended up writing the lyrics and melodies for 7 out of the 8 songs. Once in Austin in Texas things really took off. The chemistry was immediate between us in the studio. I’d insisted that from the first note played that we would record. This explains the ‘freshness and dynamics’ of the album…we worked long hours and got into a daily groove and recorded 10 tracks, 8 of which are on the album. The production team were impeccable (Jurgen Engel producer, Eric Debris engineer) and it all went down real smooth. We hung out throughout and had a lot of fun, we had so much in common – Alan and I had Lemmy in common and Paul used to be John Walker’s (Warsaw Pakt) flat mate for 7 years… so it was like we had common experiences without having really known each other before…
 

 

What was the feeling to meet again with old friend Larry Wallis?

 

Well we didn’t actually meet up. I was in touch with him throughout the album sending him the lyrics of each song as I finished it. I/we were really hoping he’d sing on the tracks… in the end he didn’t but lent his vibes and support!
 

 

What is plan for future? Maybe a little tour with Pink Fairies or new album?

 

Unfortunately, Paul lives in Vancouver (Canada), Alan lives in Death Valley (California) and I’m in Montmartre when I’m in France… a whole lot of money just to bring us together… we’d neet a lot of demand to be able to pull it off… Personally it would be a gas!
 

 

Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee said maybe some day it will be one short project Tribute To Lemmy. Would you like to play 'City Kids' or some song from 'On Parole' live?

 

Funny you should say that! It has just been announced that I will be playing a few of the songs I played on with Greek tribute band ‘City Kids’ in Athens on the 12th October…

   

Little bit back to history. What was your relation with Mick Farren? He wrote few songs for Warsaw Pakt right, what do you think about him?

 

Micky was also a close friend of Lemmy’s. We went round to his place all the time… I learnt a lot from him, his lyrics fascinated me - Larry said that some of the lyrics that I wrote for the Fairies album looked like Mick Farren’s on a good day!. Micky was also closely linked to the MC5 which was one of Motörhead’s major influences (Link Ray, early Beatles, English Birds, Flaming Groovies,  Chuck Berry...),
 

 

What was your favorite song when you played with Motorhead?

 

I still like Lost Johnny and of course ‘Motörhead’ itself and Leaving Here…
 

 

Thank you for your time.

 

My pleasure, say hi from me to all those fans out there… looking forward to seeing you down the road!

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