During its 40-year history, Motorhead was no stranger to getting — as the title of its 2002 album declared — Hammered. So booze, and particularly beer, seems like an appropriate way to continue the revered heavy rock troupe’s legacy in the wake of Lemmy Kilmister’s death in December 2015.
On Saturday, Motorhead will launch a new Road Crew IPA beer with a celebration at Arcadia Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is producing the suds. Road Crew is described as “a crushable, hop-forward India Pale Ale with attitude that showcases the floral and citrusy hop character with just the right amount of malt sweetness.” And, of course, it can get you drunk. Road Crew offers the first Motorhead beer foray in North America, which guitarist Philip Campbell tells Billboard has been something he and drummer Mikkey Dee have long desired.
“I guess it must have been five or six years ago, myself and Lem and Nick were just sitting around drinking and we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to have our own brand?'” Campbell recalls. “So we made a few inquiries and started to get the ball rolling. It’s taken awhile. We released a Road Crew IPA in December 2016, and now it’s exported to over 22 countries, so that’s good. But we wanted to do something especially for North America, which is this IPA. We know that’s really popular in North America right now. It’s quite good. It tastes great and we’re really proud of it.”
Campbell is particularly happy to have Road Crew made “where the coolest Gibson guitars are made.”
“It’s part of Lem’s legacy and the band’s legacy,” Campbell adds. “Lots of alcohol was always an important part of the daily life for Motorhead over the years. Most of the songs are written after various amounts of alcohol. We used to drink the minute we got up, and then all through the gigs, or until we went to sleep most of the time. So I hope everyone enjoys this. They can get drunk when they want to get drunk. And drink sensibly — I was told to say that.”
And how many times did Motorhead actually drink sensibly? “I don’t remember one time to my knowledge,” Campbell says. “That’s the truth.”
Motorhead has also produced a whiskey brand, and Campbell says a line of wines is also on the horizon. The group has released a live album and compilation since Kilmister’s death, but Campbell — who’s working on a second album with his group the Bastard Sons — says there may be more coming from Motorhead’s vaults.
“We’ve got plenty of concerts, some of them not as good quality as the others, and we’ll probably go to the unfinished [studio] stuff, too,” he says. “We’ll just have to go through all the master tapes for the albums and check to see what we’ve got, and then decide what we want to do. There’s nothing in the pipeline at the moment, though. It’s something that will take awhile.”