NOVEMBER 11, 2015 – Drummer PHIL TAYLOR (b. September 21, 1954 in Hasland, Chesterfield, England) died from liver failure. 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!”
Better known as “Philthy Animal” Taylor or “Philthy Phil” Taylor, he was best known as the drummer in the British heavy metal band Motörhead from 1975–1984 and 1987-1992. The mark IV Motörhead line-up consisted of Lemmy Kilmister, Philthy Animal Taylor and Fast Eddie Clarke. Lemmy himself died less than seven weeks after Taylor, on December 28, 2015.
Taylor replaced Motörhead’s first drummer, Lucas Fox, during the recording of the band’s first recording “On Parole” in 1975.Bassist/vocalist Lemmy Kilminster explained 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 and 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 Spades” album 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 developed 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 while 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 Magnet guitarist/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 plays drums for Mick Farren and The Deviants, featuring on “Dr. Crow” (2002), “Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing” (2008), and “Portobello Shuffle” (2009).
Taylor had, 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 November 6, 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. It was to be his last public stage appearance.