#843: From Sacramento, CA, he played drums for Rollins Band from 1998 to 2004

Q #1,838: From Sacramento, CA, he played drums for Rollins Band from 1998 to 2004.

A.

When the Golden Gods Awards inevitably start handing out ‘The Lemmy Kilmister Award for unfaltering grind and dedication to the spirit of rock and roll,” they need to posthumously give that award to Jason Mackenroth.

After Henry Rollins produced Mackenroth’s band Mother Superior, which had formed in 1989, he recruited multiple members of the group to play in Rollins Band. Jason joined in 1998, recording multiple studio albums, live albums, EPs, and compilations accompanied by four world tours. After departing in 2004, Mackenroth would not only go on to form his own project where he moved out from behind the kit to the frontman position, he would find himself playing drums in Blue Man Group for eight years in Las Vegas, NV.

Diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago, Mackenroth battled his disease without missing a beat. He lived to play, and he continued to play all the way up until the end of his scheduled run with Blue Man Group last month, on Christmas Eve, before passing away on January 3rd at the age of 45.

Said to be a perfectionist when it came to his playing, he would treat every live performance like a studio session, attempting to insure the greatest performance each and every night. This was still his approach after years of dealing with his illness, and while treatment may have taken a toll on him otherwise, his playing never faltered. He fulfilled his duties, business as usual. A day of treatment would end with time behind the kit as if nothing had happened. I can think of nothing more Lemmy – nothing more rock and roll – than playing all the way down to the last note and going out doing what you love. I can’t help but feel like in a game where we ultimately all lose, that this particular passion and attitude allows you to win. Call me a ‘LIAR.’

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#836: Motörhead covered what ZZ Top song on a (regrettable) 1980 EP?

Q #1,831: Motörhead covered what ZZ Top song on a (somewhat regrettable) 1980 EP?

A.

Motörhead’s ‘Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers’ EP is not only a great way to summarize the music industry, but it serves as a testament to the legendary hard working rock and roll attitude of the late Lemmy Kilmister.

The ‘Beer Drinkers’ EP, along with other early recordings of the band, had managed to earn them the title of ‘the best worst band in the world’ in NME Magazine, as well as causing early record labels to refuse to release the material. Motörhead were no ‘Overnight Sensation.’

The “classic” lineup of Lemmy Kilmister, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, and Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor were once moments away from calling it a day (can you imagine a world without Motörhead?). Clarke and Taylor were set to leave the band, but agreed to do one last show with Lemmy, who was hoping to record the show live. Instead of scoring a live recording, a rep from Chiswick Records named Ted Carroll arranged for the band to appear in multiple recording studios to lay down numerous tracks, including what would become the debut album ‘Motörhead.’

As the band forged on, they would eventually release the now legendary ‘Ace of Spades’ album, featuring the iconic track of the same name. With the band’s newfound success, what could be better than an old business deal with material deemed unsuitable for public consumption being re-released? ‘Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers’ is an attempt by a third party label from the band’s past to cash in on their sudden commercial viability. The Chiswick Records catalog was acquired by Big Beat records, and the ‘Beer Drinkers’ EP was born. What would otherwise be considered outtakes and B-sides by modern standards, the EP was released while attempting to maintain a straight face. This is the sort of release that if it happened to come out tomorrow, fans would eat it up as a piece of history. Side by side with ‘Ace of Spades,’ it’s no wonder that it was poorly received. It should be noted that even the ‘poorly received’ still managed to hit #43 on the UK Singles Chart.

Most bigger bands, like Motörhead, eat a few dozen bags of shit before finally catching their particular brand of lightning in a bottle. Like anything else in the translation of the modern music world, material that was once cast aside as rubbish would eventually become a point of sale for a cash cow hopeful. ‘Beer Drinkers’ was first seen as worthless, then seen as meaningful in the cash grab game, and was then seen as a subpar release a second time, this time by fans without a frame of reference. Today it sits on YouTube for all to criticize, but it also sits in the homes and hearts of die hard collectors who understand and appreciate that bands start from somewhere. It’s not about good decisions or bad decisions, it’s ultimately about pressing forward no matter how many deals go bad, no matter what other people think. The spirit of Lemmy Kilmister is the spirit of rock and roll, and while music usually transforms the listener, Lemmy transformed the music. RIP.

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