It’s that time of year again when Motorhead deliver another new album and continue to set the standard for everyone else to live up to. With new album Motorizer set to blow your ear drums this week we thought we should catch up with long time drummer Mikkey Dee to get the low down on it and how it feels to be labelled the best drummer in the world.

R13: We last saw you at Download festival, good to see you back on the main stage, how was it for you and does Donington still have a special vibe for you or does it feel like just another festival?
MD: Both yes and no, of course Donington and Download is something very very special I’m sure if not for Lem but for Motorhead as a band and in England we do really well so it is special but on another side it is just another festival, but it’s a great festival you know? There are a few out there in Europe that are really special and that’s one of them.

R13: The new album Motorizer is out soon and most bands will usually say that their latest album is their best one but how do you think it stands up against ‘Inferno’ and ‘Kiss of Death’, which I think are probably the best albums from the last ten years?
MD: Yeah I think you are right there and I think this one is actually going to beat that. The reason it’s going to beat it is because this is a wider record, what I mean by that is that you’ve got a lot of different songs and I prefer that. The first time you listen to this record maybe 3 or 4 or maybe more songs will grab you straight away and then after a little while certain songs will take over and it keeps going. I have records where the first couple of times I played it there are a couple of songs where I think ah that’s rubbish and I just slip over them but 3 months down the road they became my favourites. I think this album has more of that potential than the other two albums, which I think are probably among the best records we’ve ever done. It sounds promising and I really dig this! In Motorhead we definitely don’t say that every album is the best, I remember with ‘Hammered’ we thought the album was OK but we also thought that we needed some more time on that one so we didn’t go out and say ‘oh we’re going to release the best record we’ve ever done’ we said nah we don’t know, it’s not the best but it’s a good album you know? So there it is.

R13: On the back of that probably the surprise hit with fans recently was ‘Whorehouse Blues’, which was a real departure in style, so is there anything as diverse as that on this album?
MD: Maybe not as diverse as that but this album has shuffle songs, blues, very rock & roll, fast ones, slow ones, a power ballad if you will, another power shuffle, I mean it includes quite a lot really.

R13: Is there a particular theme to this album?
MD: I’d say Lemmy writes pretty much about sarcasm and chicks and hanging out, they’re really good lyrics and I’m laughing at some of them!
R13: I was going to ask you about that as he’s received quite a lot of praise for the quality of his lyric writing in recent years and I was wondering how much effort he put into that and whether you had much input, do you tell him if you think a lyric is crap for instance?
MD: Yeah we would but to tell you the truth when he writes the lyrics there’s not much to say! We do tell him that you know, maybe this is a little vague and he comes in and says “read this” and certain songs we’ve been writing maybe he writes a lyric that just doesn’t fit. He feels strongly about human stupidity and war and all songs musically don’t fit to me sometimes so all he does is change it around but 99 times out of 100 he’s so spot on it’s ridiculous. He’s so good at that there’s really not much to say about it.

R13: Naturally some of the songs from the new album will be making it into the set list for the forthcoming tour, can we expect to see any new additions to the set from the back catalogue this time round?
MD: I hope so, when we come around this fall there will be several new songs from the old days but it’s a problem when we tour so much, for instance when we’re doing the festivals a lot of people come up and ask us if we’re going to be doing any new songs and we could do one or two from the new album at these festivals but it’s really useless. I believe that festivals should be about songs you recognise and we’re not here to promote an album that’s not out yet. They want to hear classics, they want to rock & roll and they want to have a party and that’s what we give them but for this fall I hope we can include one or two from the new album and maybe two or three from the old catalogue.
R13: Any chance of ‘Joy of Labour’ from Snakebite Love?
MD: Who knows? We’ve got so many albums we have to sit down and check them out but I tell you sometimes when we find a song or two that we really want to play, we play it and it just doesn’t work out at that time and then maybe 6 months later we try again and it sounds great - it depends where you are, if you’ve been touring a lot or if you haven’t, little bits and pieces like that.

R13: Going back to the writing of the new album, you proved on ‘Whorehouse Blues’ that you can turn your hand to the guitar as well so how much input do you have in the song writing process? Do you all chip in with riffs?
MD: Yeah it’s me & Phil that pretty much comes up with the music for every album since I joined the band. I sing a riff for Phil, I obviously can’t play it as good but I hear melodies and me & Phil are working it out. Of course Lemmy is involved in the song writing too but we ‘re taking it to maybe 80 or 90% finished or as far as we can and then Lemmy listens in and he gets inspired to write some lyrics and gets involved in the music “I can’t sing to this” or “can we sing to that?” and then we piece it together all three of us. It’s easier though if me & Phil take it as far as we can, to get the basis of the song.

R13: Am I right in thinking that Lemmy was asking you to join the band as far back as 1985? Is there any reason why you didn’t join back then?
MD: Well it wasn’t ‘85 actually I belive it was 86 or 87 maybe? I was in King Diamond and we were doing great, we were a bunch of kids and friends and I never have or will be jumping between bands because of the size of the band or because of money or fame, it’s where I enjoy playing that I’ll be staying. King |Diamond were a bunch of friends from my home town in Gothenburg and Danish friends and we had a blast so I really saw no reason to leave the band. I also thought that I definitely wasn’t ready to join a band like Motorhead and I’m glad I didn’t join because if I had I wouldn’t be here today I tell you that, I’d be in some other band because it’s a very unique and special band; you can’t just join you have to really earn your stripes before you get into this band.

R13: Well having been in the band for what is it, 16 years now?
MD: Yeah almost 17, I’m the new guy you know!
R13: Well I was going to say, you’ve done 9 or 10 studio albums so do you fell like this is the classic Motorhead line up now or do you still get people asking where Philthy (original drummer) is?
MD: No not all, if you asked me 15 year sago out of 50 interviews 45 would include Taylor & Eddie, 10 years ago maybe 20, today not even one out of the 50! I have no problem with that but when you say classic line up they weren’t together many years, they started Motorhead and they did great but with all respect to Eddie and Phil if they were playing today I don’t think it would be what it is today you know?
R13: Yeah I think you’re right and I was wondering that given the improvement in production techniques and the difference in style, for instance you have a much more aggressive style than Phil…
MD: Absolutely
R13: …have you ever thought about re-recording any of the older songs?
MD: We already have done that, we’ve done 10 or 12 tracks but that’s only for Guitar Hero and Rock Band and it’s not to exclude the guys from the royalties or anything like that, they get the same money! There is some old record companies sitting there getting a shit load of cash and they don’t even exist anymore. Guitar Hero & Rock Band wanted us to rerecord this because on some of this stuff you can’t even hear what’s going on.
R13: Any plans to release that other than within the game?
MD: I doubt it, we’re not here to rerecord some really good songs that the guys did earlier, we have no interest in doing that. We did this because we had to, Guitar Hero & Rock Band are really big and it was a great honour that they asked us to be on that and to have a chance to come out there and especially when we are picking up a lot of younger kids it’s very important for us to be on a thing like that but the reason for it is not at all to play better, it already is great - why rerecord ‘Smoke on the Water’ or ‘Burn’? I want them to sound the way they are but according to these people they needed a new version of it so we had to play along with it.

R13: Both Lemmy & King Diamond have rated you personally as one of if not the greatest drummer in the world, how important are those kind of plaudits to you and more importantly do you think they’re right?
MD: It’s great if they feel that way and I’m sure Lemmy says it every night and for him I’m sure that he really does enjoy my playing and playing with me - Lemmy is one of the best bass players I ever played with, we hook in and we have a great way of playing. Then talk about Phil Campbell, if he’s sitting down doing some amazing Yngwie Malmsteen scales I’m sure he fails but look at him on stage and listen to him on stage and he’s fantastic you know? I don’t think too seriously about it but if people like what I do and especially me fellow band members then it’s flattering and I like that but I’m not walking around thinking about it too much.

R13: With Wurzel turning up at Download and Fast Eddie at Sweden Rock last year is there any chance of any other old members making surprise appearances?
MD: I wish! When we did the 30th anniversary show both in England and in Los Angeles we invited Philthy to come and play. I said “come on Taylor” and he saw three shows in the California area but he just didn’t want to do it and you know all respect to that, if he feels he can’t come up and do it then he shouldn’t. He better be remembered as the fucking crazy, loony drummer he was and good in the days and I think he made the right decision. I say the same thing of myself, I’m really, really not ever going to be a drummer where people say “oh Mikkey Dee, he used to be great”. I have quit, I have finished and I have vanished way, way before that happens! I’m not going to cling on to some pretentious stuff like I’m an old man now but I’m great & I’m a rock star and I’m this & I’m that. As long as I feel that I can manage to play the way that I am playing right now then I will continue and it’s fine but the moment I feel that it’s time to pack it in I will do so but it’s far away from that!