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Farewell To Motörhead’s ‘Philthy Animal’

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Motorhead photo by Fin Costello and Redferns
Photo: Fin Costello/Redferns

The death has been announced of Phil Taylor, or ‘Philthy Animal’ as he was affectionately nicknamed by friends and admirers of the drummer in the early line-up of Motörhead. Taylor was 61 and died on Wednesday evening (11) of an unspecified illness.

“My dear friend and brother passed away last night,” his former band colleague ‘Fast Eddie’ Clarke wrote on Facebook. “He had been ill for some time 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!”

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Motörhead’s current members wrote in a collective Facebook tribute: “Lil’ Philthy, he who once shouted ‘stop wincing about’ on an album, he who fueled many a young boy’s punk/metal hairstyles, he who played the drums with fury and intent, he who liked to call people ‘wazzocks’ once in a while…friend, Roman, Derbyshireman…rest in peace, with much love.”

With the speed and energy of his drumming, Taylor was widely regarded as a musician who helped to establish the sound and style of what became known as thrash metal. “The drummer that introduced me to that double bass type of thing was Phil Taylor from Motörhead,” said Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich in the Metal Evolution documentary on thrash. “When I first heard [the Motörhead single] ‘Overkill’ in early 1979, that was what blew my head off.”

Taylor, born near Chesterfield, replaced Motörhead’s original drummer Lucas Fox after they were signed to the United Artists label, and played on the band’s first recordings in 1975-6 that were later released on the On Parole album. By then, the band had made their full debut with a self-titled 1977 and the subsequent Overkill.

He played on ten studio albums and all of Motörhead’s vintage recordings until 1984, including their enduring anthem and 1980 UK top 20 hit ‘Ace Of Spades,’ in the trio line-up with Clarke and frontman ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, and the famous 1981 live album No Sleep ’til Hammersmith.

Taylor’s subsequent credits included work with the bands Waysted and Operator, and with Scottish rocker Frankie Miller. He returned to Motörhead for five years from 1987 and worked in numerous rock settings in later years.

“Just heard about Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor’s passing,” said Ozzy Osbourne in a statement. “It’s a terrible terrible loss. He was a great friend — great drummer — a great guy and he will be dearly missed. Today is a very sad day for me. Rest in peace — and he still owes me 500 bucks from that time in Vegas.”

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Christer

    November 13, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Farewell Phil, A great loss for all of us! Rest in peace!

  2. kurt christiansen

    November 13, 2015 at 11:11 am

    I write i in Danish, skønt energi og en fantastisk måde at få det med ud i lyden, du var med til at gøre motorhead til mit Nr 1 band,

  3. Zalecsny

    November 13, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Salut et merci pour c’est moment que je n’oublierez jamais. Le où j’avais 14ans. A fond dans la tête. Tout la journée. Et je continue. J’ai 50ans aujourd’hui. Merci du fond du coeur. Soit sage au paradis des batteurs

    • Zalecsny

      November 13, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Désolé pour les erreurs de frappe

  4. Patric

    November 13, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    You were a hell of a drummer. Now rest in pease!

  5. Rob

    November 14, 2015 at 12:32 am

    No one wants to lose, but gamblin’s for fools, but that’s the way I like it baby , no one wants to live forever. RIP you crazy Animal xxx

    • gilln

      November 14, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      ???
      You know I’m born to lose, and gambling’s for fools,
      But that’s the way I like it baby,
      I don’t wanna live for ever,

  6. sinistrus666

    November 15, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    what a huge loss again to our music, in my teen years i grew up with bands like ac/dc, deep purple, led zeppelin, rainbow, and then one day i got my hands on the album Overkill, in those days i had heard of Motorhead but hadn’t heard their music, when i played that album the first time i was blown off my socks by the power and speed in their songs, those drums, man i could listen to it all day long, played the album over and over again, i so love the song Overkill, ending and just starting again with those double bass drums, still one of my favorite songs along with ace of spades, your appearance, your wicked way of being you, your naughty grinn, you’re one of my heroes, you will be missed but never forgotten as one of the great ones, you’re a legend for a lot of us, rest in peace mate, hope to bump into you when my time has come, hope to hear your drums up there when i arrive, thanks for everything you gave us

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