We have sad news to report, as former Motorhead drummer Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor has passed away at the age of 61. The stickman anchored the band behind the kit for a total of 14 years, enjoying two stints with the group, laying it down on several of the uncompromising outfit’s highest-regarded albums.
Celebrated Motorhead guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke posted a tribute on his Facebook page with the news. Clarke played alongside Taylor from 1976 to 1982, rounding out the classic lineup with mainman Lemmy Kilmister that released Motorhead’s first five albums.
My dear friend and brother passed away last night. He had been ill for sometime but that does not make it any easier…
Posted by Fast Eddie Clarke Official on Thursday, 12 November 2015
Featured on every album up through Another Perfect Day, including classics like Overkill and Ace of Spades, Taylor split from the band in 1984 only to join three years later and depart once again in 1992 after playing on Rock ‘n’ Roll and 1916. His playing bordered on unhinged, fueling the Motorhead engine with his reckless yet refined style that was essential to the band’s attack.
Motorhead paid tribute to Taylor with a post on their official Facebook page:
Describing his style to Artist magazine in 1983, Taylor explained, “Well, once Lemmy starts playing, he’s sort of out there on his own, in a way. It’s something that came naturally; but when Robbo [guitarist Brian Robertson] joined the band, we started working it out a bit more.” Continuing, he compared the differences to Fast Eddie being in the band, saying “When Eddie was with the band, I played more with the guitar than I did with Lemmy, because he’s not really a bass player,” adding, “Lemmy always plays so fast that it’s always been down to the guitarist and me to keep the rhythm and melody going.”
Furthermore, Taylor elaborated, “Lemmy is just non-stop playing all the time, so for the highs and lows of the numbers, the ups and downs, light and shade — whatever you want to call it — it’s basically down to Robbo and myself. I’d never played much before, so it’s probably a lot more difficult for Robbo than for me. He’d always played in bands that had a proper bass player, so to speak.”
Taylor was replaced in Motorhead in 1992 by Mikkey Dee, who still remains in the band to this day.
Loudwire extends its condolences to the Taylor family and anyone fortunate enough to count the legendary drummer as a friend.