Gamblers like Lemmy know the Ace of Spades is the most powerful card you can find in your hand, or popping up on your video poker machine. They also know its nickname is the Death Card. When Lemmy wrote Motörhead's bludgeoning 2:47 second jam "Ace of Spades," he framed his lyrics to reflect the perspective of someone much like himself. A gambler who can tell what you have in your hand just by looking in your eyes, and isn't ever afraid to bust out a few dance moves with the devil because that's the way they like it, baby.
"Ace of Spades" is one of rock and roll's most beloved and sacred anthems. It has also been covered by bands brave enough to take on a jam more powerful than an amphetamine-powered locomotive. The first band to do so was San Diego hardcore punk band Battalion of Saints who spit their cover out (quite well in fact) in 2:18 seconds. In 1983. Well over a hundred bands have followed including Sodom, speed metallers Abattoir, and Bathory. In 2019, Motörhead's Fast Eddie Clark (who joined the band in 1976, RIP) joined Saxon on stage to perform the song at Newcastle 02 Academy in the UK on October 28th, 2016.
And now, for the upcoming Motörhead tribute album, Löve Me Förever: A Tribute to Motörhead, a powerful group of metalheads and Psycho Las Vegas alumni have assembled. Coming together for the sole purpose of recording a version of one of metal's most lethal songs, "Ace of Spades," that Lemmy and his bandmates would be proud of. Would you expect anything less from Phil Anselmo (Pantera), Gary Holt (Slayer, Exodus), Nick Oliveri (Kyuss), Dwid Hellion (Integrity), Chuck Garric (Alice Cooper, LA Guns), Sacha Dunable (Intronaut, Crematorium), Kelley Juett (Mothership), Tom Polzine and Zach Wheeler (Howling Giant)? The answer is no. Here's more from Phil Anselmo and Gary Holt on what it felt like to cover the one motörcut (from the band's 1980 album Ace of Spades) that tops them all:
"It felt great. It felt natural [to cover 'Ace of Spades']," said Anselmo. "I think I did pretty good. The first thing that attracted me to Motörhead was Lemmy Kilmister and the sound of his voice. And then it was solidified in 1986 when I went to a (Motörhead) show outside of New Orleans, Louisiana, and it was Agnostic Front and Motörhead. It was a wall of crushing sound and they were just incredible. Lemmy is forever and I love him."
"I've played with him [Lemmy] many times here and there sporadically," said Holt. "I'm convinced and have been for decades that there is more than one Lemmy. Or at least there was. Back in the days when we would squander more money during tours in Europe, Lemmy insisted that we had to spend a week in London first to acclimate to the time change. Which basically meant we were partying like animals for five to seven days. This is when Lemmy still lived in England/London. And we'd (Lemmy and members of the bands on tour, etc) would go out to a bar, and hang out together.
"Then we'd head to another bar, and Lemmy would say 'Okay! See you later!' We'd get to the next place and Lemmy is already sitting at the bar. Like he's been there for an hour. Then we went to another place, and he was there again ahead of us and we left him at the last place sitting at the bar. And ever since then we're convinced that there are at least three different Lemmy's. Because he couldn't possibly have done it. But, you know, Lemmy is God so…"
So two things; Phil Anselmo gnarling out "Ace of Spades" is more than "pretty good" and sounds, (and we steal the word from Phil himself), "natural" for Anselmo given his vocals have only become more guttural like Lem's with the passage of time. Second, Gary Holt's story about Lemmy has got to be one of the greatest ever told and I believe every word. On that note, let's get to the latest cut from Löve Me Förever: A Tribute to Motörhead featuring some very metallic guitar work from Holt, hardcore kicks from Nick Oliveri, space rock rhythms from Kelley and Kyle Juett; desert-rock-crushing grooves from Zach Wheeler, Tom Polzine and Sacha Dunable, and Chuck Garric's legendary bass. Put all this metal together and you have a recipe for one of the greatest covers in rock and metal history. Pre-orders for Löve Me Förever: A Tribute to Motörhead are happening now. Get your tickets for Psycho Las Vegas (August 19-21st 2022), here.