Nov 11, 2015: Mötorhead Drummer Phil Taylor Dies

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Philthy & Lemmy

Lemmy and Philthy

Former Mötorhead drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, died November 11, 2015 due to liver failure, at age 61. He replaced the iconic heavy metal band’s first drummer, Lucas Fox, during the recording of their first album, On Parole, in 1975, and played a significant role in defining their sound thereafter. He performed on all of the group’s major albums, including Overkill, Bomber, Ace of Spades and No Sleep ’til Hammersmith.

Mötorhead frontman Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister—who himself would pass six weeks later on December 28—paid tribute to Taylor in a heartfelt Facebook post. “I’m feeling very sad at the moment, in fact devastated because one of my best friends died yesterday,” he wrote. “I miss him already. His name was Phil Taylor, or Philthy Animal, and he was our drummer twice in our career. Now he’s died and it really pisses me off that they take somebody like him and leave George Bush alive. So muse on that. We’re still going, we’re still going strong, it’s just first Würzel” – Guitarist Michael “Würzel” Burston passed away July 9th, 2011, also at age 61 – “and now Philthy, it’s a shame man. I think this rock ‘n’ roll business might be bad for the human life. Oh well.”

Taylor initially left Mötorhead in 1984, only to return in 1987. He was ultimately fired by the band in 1992.

Mötorhead released their 22nd studio album, Bad Magic, in August 2015, offering up a fresh batch of the kind of maximum volume meat and potatoes rock ‘n’ roll they do best, replete with driving guitars, rumbling bass and raspy falsetto.

For a while, the band pushed on with their massive 40th anniversary tour – with dates all over Europe originally scheduled through February 2016. The world’s loudest band had to cut multiple shows short and completely cancel others due to Kilmister’s myriad maladies – respiratory difficulties, gastric illness and back pain, just to name a few. (See our news item here.) The band also canceled its November 15 Paris show in the wake of that city’s terror attacks.

They continued into December; their final performance was December 11, 2015, in Berlin, Germany.

The then-69-year-old metal icon and rock music lifer had insisted he’d continue to perform “as long as I can walk the few yards from the back to the front of the stage without a stick. Or even if I do have to use a stick.”

Related: Mötorhead are featured in our story: 10 classic rock covers by metal bands

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  1. Mr.Murder
    #1 Mr.Murder 9 January, 2022, 12:46

    Lemmy blew it up at 616 a club in Memphis down the street from Sun studios. Amazing show! Six feet away from him all show. Same stage spot Slash played with his Snake Pit(tm).

    Lemmy pulled no punches. Fought the good fight. Uncompromised comprehension of what Rock n’ Roll is, he was all about the fans, played the music the same way he wanted it. Hard and heavy.

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