Returning to the Chicagoland area this Saturday as part of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in Tinley Park, Motörhead drummer Mikkey Dee checked in over the phone from Oklahoma City yesterday for a chat about his thoughts on performing alongside the likes of Anthrax, Slayer and Slipknot this summer as well as to what he attributes Motörhead's increasingly young and loyal audience...
Motörhead return to town this weekend for the third time in the past year and a half following appearances at the Congress Theater and again last February at the Aragon Ballroom. "We seem to be the house band!" joked drummer Mikkey Dee. "We love Chicago. It’s actually very suiting for our playing. The most insane fans you can imagine. It’s always been that way in Chicago... All the Midwest really but in Chicago there’s something special."
What I've found interesting at all of these shows is the number of young people surrounding me in the audience. Unlike many of their peers, Motörhead consistently challenge their audience, releasing new music rich not only in metal but punk and even the classic rock n' roll of the fifties. The very personification of rock attitude, the band's act has never grown tired or stale. It's never felt like schtick and that's something that the internet has exposed to a whole new generation of kids sick of hearing the media telling them that rock is dead.
"The internet has been a huge factor in it, of course. But unless they think the band is cool, it doesn’t matter how good you are. You’re never gonna get the youngsters. I mean, you’re not supposed to like your parents’ music! It’s just not a cool thing to do! I’ve been saying this for about five or six or seven years now, that we actually did pick up a very young generation. Maybe not so much here in the U.S., but the rest of the world, I’m seeing twelve, fourteen, sixteen year old kids in the audience. Especially in Europe. What I think is there’s a couple things that are to blame for that! And one of them, of course, is that we still keep writing really good music... and without [over]thinking it. It’s real. Today’s generation… you can’t fool these kids. They know what’s real and what they like." says Dee.
And clearly what they like is just about anything that Motörhead releases. What's amazing about Motörhead is the band's ability to remain relevant. Radio won't play rock. Not a problem for Motörhead. Most people don't buy records. Apparently Motörhead haven't gotten the memo. The World is Yours was relased in 2010 and debuted in the top half of the Billboard 200 album chart. Last year, a live CD/DVD package entitled The Wörld Is Ours, Vol. 1: Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else chronicled the band's 2011 tour (with the highlight coming in the form of a rare show from Santiago de Chile's Teatro Caupolicán). And on September 21st, part two of that live series (The Wörld Is Ours, Vol. 2: Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else) will be released in several formats including CD/DVD and blu-ray.
As if all of that isn't enough, the band has also begun work on another new album, their twenty-first. "We actually have started to write the studio record. It was supposed to come out this year but we are gonna wait until next year. It feels like we’re almost flooding the market." admits Dee.
- Photo By Robert John
But Motörhead's ability to sell records, tickets and merchandise in an era where that's become increasingly difficult is actually more a product of shrewd placement in a number of areas that appeal to a younger demographic. Things like wrestling, skateboarding and extreme sports. Things that are cool. The band gets it.
"Another major thing is that, I think it has paid off, the fact that we did the Tony Hawk stuff, the Triple H stuff, the X-Games. A lot of stuff that kids today like, you know? And maybe if they’re only going to see one show, they say, 'Oh, Motorhead is in town. Ok, I want to go with Dad and see them.' Or 'Tony Hawk likes them.' Or 'Triple H… I like the song they do for him.' Or whatever. And then after they see one show, we have them. That’s where we come in and take over in a way then. We show them real rock 'n' roll. It ain’t fake. It’s what it is."
And the band continues to find innovative ways to superserve their rabid fanbase, upping the ante considerably this summer on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, offering fans a VIP Motörhead experience. "This is the first time we’re actually having VIP tickets being sold around the stage. We have the chance to put a lot of our fans up on the stage with us when we’re playing and that’s been a really nice feature."
And while some artists might be afraid to pull back the curtain and show fans their tricks, clearly this is not the type of thing that a band like Motörhead concerns themselves with.
- Photo By Robert John
"Well, we’ve always had an open stage. I mean, we actually enjoy that. We always have all our friends and any band can come up and see us on the tour. We’ve never had a closed stage. It’s actually fun. We’ve got nothing to hide. We don’t have a bunch of that bulls--t, extra musicians or anything like that. It’s just great fun to have people on the
side of the stage and we figured this would give our VIP guests a very unique experience. It’s been a really nice and appreciated deal so it’s great." adds the drummer.
And so it is that Lemmy Kilmister, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee return to the Chicagoland area this Saturday when the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival arrives at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in south suburban Tinley Park (Motörhead's first summer tour in the United States since 1998). "It’s a hot one, triple digits. I know that the stage is facing the sun so that’s always a toughy but what the hell? It’ll be alright."
Artists like As I Lay Dying, Anthrax, Slayer, Slipknot and many more make this festival the premier metal outing of the summer. "We’ve played with all these bands at one time or another. It’s a good bill. It’s good guys, everyone. We all like each other and so there’s no problem and we’re having a blast. I want fans to know that this whole entourage is really, really a good tour. And trust me, I don’t say that about every tour. But this… it seems to be a very, very good package going around. For those who haven’t got tickets, I really recommend them go and get it. So many good new and old bands. I’m very, very happy."
"Bring your sunscreen and drink a lot of water. Load up before a packed day of really, really good music!" advises Dee.
They are Motörhead. And they play rock 'n' roll.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
19100 S. Ridgeland Ave.
Tinley Park, IL 60477
Doors Open at 1PM
Seven Years Existence takes the stage at 1:30PM
$40.50 - $84.00 Per Ticket
Purchase Tickets HERE
VIP Packages Also Available
15 Acts On Three Stages Including...
As I Lay Dying