It’s an album that still divides opinion amongst the Motörhead fanbase. Another Perfect Day, released in May 1983, is the sixth album in the band’s catalogue. Called in to help Motörhead complete their US Iron Fist tour in 1982 when Eddie Clarke walked out, former Thin Lizzy / Wild Horses guitarist Brian ‘Robbo’ Robertson initially seemed a good fit. A wild, hard-drinking Scot, he joined in with the band’s reputation as a fierce, party band, endorsed by drummer Philthy Animal Taylor, a huge fan of Thin Lizzy.
Motörhead – Another Perfect Day
40th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: 3 November 2023
Words: Paul Hutchings
Lemmy is quoted early on in their brief union as being positive. “[The sound] changed a little now that Brian’s joined the band,” he said. “I think it’s gotten more musical.”
However, the subsequent recording of Another Perfect Day and the tour that promoted it didn’t go well. In the Motörhead documentary The Guts And The Glory, Lemmy has changed his mind. “Recording Another Perfect Day was fucking torture. Brian, he’d take seventeen hours doin’ a guitar track. It fuckin’ took so long compared with the other albums. And then when it was released everybody fucking hated it.”
As a wide-eyed 13-year-old soaking up everything I could, this change of line-up left me completely bewildered. This was a time when Metal bands had a certain image. Leather jackets, long hair, gruff appearance. All the things I was trying to become. And there was Robbo, in tight satin shorts and espadrilles. What the hell was this?
Another Perfect Day was recorded in London with producer Tony Platt between February and March 1983 and features ten songs. Whilst the fans didn’t warm to it upon release, it’s long been a favourite of mine in the Motörhead discography and probably gets more plays these days than any other Motörhead album.
Opening with the blistering Back At The Funny Farm, which is ferociously fast, the cohesion between the trio doesn’t seem at all bad. Robbo’s guitar work is substantially different to Fast Eddies, who favoured a more bluesy approach, whilst Robbo’s effect-laden style, often with overdubs, provided a completely changed dimension to the band.
It’s a strong, front-loaded album. Shine, and the bruising Dancing On Your Grave (credited by Sepultura as the inspiration for their name) are both anthems which stand up as well today as any song in their extensive arsenal.
Lemmy’s driving Rickenbacker powers Rock It whilst the smouldering One-Track Mind sees some of Robertson’s most dynamic playing, with Lemmy once again playing more second lead than bass. Taylor’s drumming is also more measured, although he can still raise hell when needed.
Halfway through Another Perfect Day, there is, in my mind, very little to complain about. Yes, it’s a departure from Iron Fist that preceded it, but the Motörhead sound is still distinctive and present. The title track provides even more evidence of the musical change that the band had embarked on, with Robertson’s flowing soloing as the song nears its end fluid.
The tail end of the album might not hold quite the same vibrancy as the front half, but even that is debatable. Marching Off To War saw Lemmy return to a topic he would frequently touch on throughout the band’s career, and in I Got Mine, there is a gem of a song. According to Setlist.fm it’s the 17th most played Motörhead song of all time.
Not bad when you consider the body of work. It’s a favourite of mine, with a groove that stays in the head for days. Bluesy with a typical swagger, there’s little dispute that this is a classic.
That leaves the punchy sub-three-minute Tales Of Glory, which is more suited to the sounds of the classic line-up, and the darker Die You Bastard. Possibly the weakest on the album, it’s another change of style, with the clipped riffs and almost punk-rock vibe showing that this line-up could write with more variety than was expected.
And then there’s the acid trip nightmare of the cover. A masterpiece from Joe Petagno, I would argue that whilst it can’t possibly be as iconic as Ace Of Spades, it is a phenomenal piece of art which represents the upheaval in the band at the time.
Petagno commented, “And the reason it turned out the way it was – it was all chaos. Chaos in my life and chaos in Lemmy’s life. I brought it to London with me to deliver it personally to the guys, and everyone was freaked over it.”
This anniversary edition brings a few treats along for the ride with the CD and digital versions including B-sides from the singles as well as four demos from the early recordings.
Unlike the 2006 reissue, which features the band’s set from Manchester on 10 June 1983, the additional album with this package is a previously unreleased recording from their date at Hull City Hall on 22 June, a mere six days before I was to see the band.
I had missed the only other Motörhead appearances in Cardiff in 1979 and 1980 on account of my age, so although the classic line-up was incredibly important to me, it was the Robbo line-up that provided my first opportunity to see the Motörhead in the flesh. I don’t remember much, apart from how bloody loud it was and that the band didn’t seem particularly happy. Oh, and Robbo’s shorts of course!
It’s an interesting listen and surprising in many ways. The band play seven songs from Another Perfect Day in the 16-track setlist, a real ballsey approach when you consider that the album had literally been out for a matter of weeks.
What is incredible when you look back at this is that Motörhead didn’t play any so-called classics. No Ace Of Spades, Motörhead, Overkill, Bomber, Stay Clean or Metropolis. It’s almost as if they were purging the past in favour of the present. Alongside Another Perfect Day, it’s Iron Fist that supplies another four songs, with only three from Ace Of Spades and Iron Horse/Born To Lose from Motörhead also featuring.
But for the fan who was there at the time or the curious fan who wasn’t around, this is an opportunity to listen to virtually all of Another Perfect Day played live. The only time this would happen. Ironically, I Got Mine isn’t even here, despite it later becoming a set staple.
Whilst the quality isn’t brilliant, this recording does capture a moment in time. A moment when Motörhead may have been heading towards their all-time low, with Taylor and Roberston leaving at the end of the tour.
But in hindsight, Another Perfect Day is vastly underrated, and today is a favourite with much of the Motörheadbanger legion across the globe.
There will be hardback book packs in two CD and triple LP formats with the story of the album and many previously unseen photos. There’s also a limited edition, orange and yellow spinner vinyl pressing of the original standalone album. All are available from here.