Let’s remember the incredible Jim “Motorhead” Sherwood on what would have been his 78th Birthday.
Born Euclid James Sherwood on May 8th 1942 in Arkansas City, Kansas, Motorhead (dubbed so by vocalist Ray Collins because of his affinity for cars) was classmates and friends with Bobby Zappa, who introduced Motorhead to his older brother Frank. The two bonded over a love of rhythm and blues music, leading to him occasionally sitting in with Frank’s early band The Blackouts as well as The Village Inn Band and The Omens.
Motorhead joined the Mothers as a roadie in 1965, ghosting on the band’s debut Freak Out! by contributing vocal effects. He officially joined the group in mid 1967 as baritone saxophonist and tambourine player, quickly becoming known for his frenetic dancing and carefree demeanor on stage. Motörhead stayed in the band until its disbandment in 1969 as well as participating in the 1970 Reunion, Lumpy Gravy, 200 Motels as Larry Fanoga (albeit uncredited), You Are What You Is, Civilization Phaze III, Läther, and many archival releases over the years.
After his time with The Mothers, Motorhead largely retired from music aside from occasional guest appearances such as saxophone on Ruben & The Jets’ For Real!. His life during the mid to late seventies is not terribly well known although it’s believed he was involved with Scientology for a time.
In later years he collaborated with The Grandmothers in the eighties as well as the Ant Bee Project in the nineties.
Suffering an inoperable tumor, Motorhead died in his sleep on Christmas Day 2011 at the age of 69.
While Motorhead is much missed, we must remember the joy he radiated in life and on stage, and for that we will always be grateful. If you are out there anywhere, please rest easy and know you are not forgotten.