As the townsfolk of Weert in the south of the Netherlands gathered for the local Torenfestival on July 17, 2021, it is fair to say they did not expect to hear MOTÖRHEAD‘s iconic, thunderous classic outlaw rock and roll anthem “Ace Of Spades” ringing from the church bells. Yet that is precisely what happened, as local guitarist Jitse Zonneveld partnered with keyboardist and bell-ringer Frank Steijns to perform an unforgettably unique version of the worldwide classic involving Zonneveld shredding the riffs while Steijns hammered the keys/bells to achieve a wonderfully unique performance of the eternal international hit.
The response locally was uproariously enthusiastic, as locals loved it, and even Dutch national TV reported the performance.
While it’s fair to say that Lemmy would have been at first a little perplexed at hearing MOTÖRHEAD cascading from the bell tower of a local church, he’d have been delighted to know that Motörmusic had forced its way into such rarified air and received such an overwhelmingly positive amount of support.
It’s also worth noting that Steijns plays in Andre Rieu‘s JOHAN STRAUSS ORCHESTRA, which is quite something when you consider that Andre Rieu is Holland’s biggest export… yes… bigger than tulips and cheese.
In 1980, off the back of two essential albums, “Overkill” and “Bomber” the previous year, MOTÖRHEAD continued to get bigger, better, louder and faster by the second. This time, on “Ace Of Spades” they teamed up with producer Vic Maile and came up with twelve songs; each and every one of which crams a regular band’s ten minutes of playing into an average of three. The songtitles alone made ears bleed; “Love Me Like A Reptile”, “Shoot You In The Back”, “The Chase Is Better Than The Catch” and “The Hammer” were a few examples. This landmark album saw the three amigos of Lemmy, Fast Eddie Clarke and Philthy Animal Taylor at the helm of the juggernaut that was MOTÖRHEAD, gaining phenomenal growth in popularity as they forged onward. The band’s and fans ideas, wants and inspirations, converged at a perfect tangent. Anyone disputing this fact need look no further than any heavy metal gig of the time and play “spot the MOTÖRHEAD T-shirt and jacket.” They outnumbered anyone else by at least five to one. A statistic that is still accurate some forty-five years since they first began!
The “Ace Of Spades” album release was a magical moment in rock ‘n’ roll history, an album which had enormous global impact and continues to resonate and inspire people worldwide. Fans to this day still remember where they were when they first heard it, and it immediately inspired bands worldwide to absorb the album’s energy, speed, and attitude into their own work. “Ace Of Spades” is ground zero for thrash, speed metal, and punk/metal crossover.
Photo: Alan Ballard