Motörhead UK 1997
Cafe Royal Books
It feels as if it might be difficult to impress upon you stylishly jaded, over entertained and over here on this website readers, just how much we all love Café Royal Books. Craig Atkinson, established Cafe Royal in 2005 and has consistently published one new Cafe Royal title, often of otherwise unheralded photography, documenting lives just like ours that otherwise would not be recorded, would just be lost, each and every week. Glance around the bus, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, that's wholly astonishing right... Simply is... Craig, in doing what he does, has created an unparalleled archive. Just the most ugly beautiful glimpse into the relatively recent past.
This week, Craig and Cafe Royal have unearthed such treasure. Their latest book is Motörhead UK 1997, Amelia Troubridge’s candid backstage, back of the house photography trove of Motörhead from their 1997 Overnight Sensations tour. Amelia was working for Esquire Magazine and had never toured with a rock band before. I can’t even begin to imagine how that initial conversation with her editor must have gone. It's one I doubt Amelia will ever forget.
I saw Motörhead play in a tiny Anaheim club one time in the early 90s I'd say, for a radio station and the tickets cost whatever the radio frequency call sign was, something like, SOMETHING570, so maybe the tickets were $5.70 or something. Not many of the many bands I’ve seen have been as loud or anywhere near as intense Motörhead were that night. Or as entertaining. That noise was rare and pure.
Amelia’s essay accompanying her photography for the book is just a delight. Look, there was the hyper, unreconstructed masculine world of rocknroll men in bands. And then there was Motörhead. A sort of animated behemoth to themselves and their fans. Maybe though, because of their punk association, they were way more widely respected than your average rockers. That broad respect for Lemmy, Amelia picked up on straight away. Working with Motörhead was always going to be a negotiation but within a few days of being with them, Amelia was able to capture the kind of images maybe no one else could have, maybe no one else could see. And now thanks to Cafe Royal, they can be seen by the rest of us.