Phil Taylor, the former drummer for Motorhead, died on Wednesday after a lengthy illness. He was 61.
Born on 21 September 1954, in Hasland, Chesterfield, England, Taylor replaced Motörhead’s first drummer, Lucas Fox, during the recording of the band’s first recording On Parole in 1975. Lemmy explains choosing him to play in Motörhead ‘because he had a car and could give us a lift back down to the studio, the drummer we had wasn’t working out very well and Phil kept saying that he could play’. Taylor introduced the band to “Fast” Eddie Clarke, having worked with him while painting a houseboat. Taylor was unable to overdub the drumming on the ‘Lost Johnny’ track as he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly. Also, the studio time had run out by the time he was released.
In 1978, Taylor, Lemmy and Clarke interrupted one of The Damned’s Chiswick album sessions, turning it into a recorded ‘jam session’. One track from this – Ballroom Blitz – appeared as the B-side of I Just Can’t Be Happy Today. Shortly after recording the classic Ace of Spadesalbum in 1980, Taylor broke his neck after being lifted above the head of a friend in a test of strength, only to be dropped upon his head. Taylor continued to play in Motörhead with the aid of a neck brace, as is visible in the music video for Ace of Spades. As a result, Taylor had a prominent lump located on the back of his neck (affectionately referred to as his “knob”), thought to be a calcium deposit caused by his previous spinal trauma. Tour-disrupting injuries were not unfamiliar to Taylor at the time, as he had previously broken his hand whilst punching a man outside his flat in London. In typical uncompromising Motörhead style, Taylor continued to drum by using gaffer tape to attach his drum stick into his hand until it had sufficiently healed.
After a ‘final’ appearance on The Young Ones in 1984, Philthy left Motörhead. The following year, he made appearances with Waysted, and joined another ex-Motörhead man, Brian Robertson (from Thin Lizzy), to form the band Operator. In 1986, he was part of Frankie Miller’s touring band.
Taylor returned to Motörhead in 1987. He said “I always regretted leaving. Let’s just say I took a three-year holiday.” He continued playing in the group until 1992. After having been warned three times in the previous two years “to get his act together”, he was fired after recording I Ain’t No Nice Guy, because of his poor performance.
From 2005 to 2008 Taylor played and recorded in a group called The Web of Spider with Whitey Kirst (Iggy Pop) on guitar and Max Noce on bass. In 2007 Taylor briefly worked on a project called Capricorn with former Danzig guitarist Todd Youth, former Monster Magnetguitarist/vocalist Phil Caivano and former Nashville Pussy bassist Corey Parks. After playing in The Web of Spider, Taylor began work on a project with guitarist Chris Holmes, formerly of the heavy metal rock group W.A.S.P., and in 2009, Taylor joined American thrash metal band Overkill for a set at the Islington Academy. The set included a cover of the Motörhead song from which Overkill took their name.
He sporadically played drums for Mick Farren and The Deviants, featuring on Dr. Crow (2002), Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing (2008), and Portobello Shuffle (2009).
Taylor has, on a somewhat regular and obviously incorrect basis, been reported as having died in a spectacular or horrible fashion. An example took place in 2001, where Taylor allegedly died due to AIDS. Obviously not true, Taylor can be seen on the 2005 documentary Ace Of Spades: Classic Albums, alongside Lemmy Kilmister and former members of Motörhead, frequently joking about his supposed demise.
Taylor reunited with Kilmister and Clarke on 6 November 2014 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England on stage for Motörhead’s classic “Ace of Spades” only to come on to wave to the crowd and leave.
Phil Taylor died on 11 November 2015 at the age of 61 after an illness. Fast Eddie Clarke said of his former bandmate via Facebook “My dear friend and brother passed away last night. He had been ill for sometime but that does not make it any easier when the time finally comes. I have known Phil since he was 21 and he was one hell of a character. Fortunately we made some fantastic music together and I have many many fond memories of our time together. Rest in Peace, Phil!”
- On Parole (1975/1979)
- Motörhead (1977)
- Overkill (1979)
- Bomber (1979)
- Ace of Spades (1980)
- No Sleep ’til Hammersmith (1981)
- Iron Fist (1982)
- Another Perfect Day (1983)
- Rock ‘n’ Roll (1987)
- 1916 (1991)
- March ör Die (1992)
- The Muggers (album) The Muggers Tapes Live recording from a brief spell of about 4 gigs Phil drummed with Fast Eddie Clarke on guitar, John ‘Speedy’ Keen, also on guitar, and Billy Wrath on bass. The album was released as a ‘bonus’ to a ‘Best of Motorhead’ release.
- Philthy Phil & Fast Eddie (album) Naughty Old Santa’s Christmas Classics (1989)
- GMT One By One 12″ single (1989)
- GMT War Games CD release of same tracks + one other (1991)
- The Deviants Have Left The Planet (album) drummed with Ladbroke Grove pals Mick Farren on vocals, Larry Wallis on guitar, etc. (1999)
- Sheep In Wolves’ Clothing Motorheadbangers fan club tribute CD. The Deviants Mick Farren vocals, Andy Colquhoun, guitar, David Ito, bass and Philthy, drums; re-recorded the Motorhead / Farren song ‘Lost Johnny’ for the CD – released 7 April 2008.