How Motorhead producer nearly talked himself out of job
Cameron Webb recalls calling Motorhead a heavy metal band at first meeting - and how it almost cost him the job
Producer Cameron Webb has recalled how he nearly talking himself out of his job with Motorhead – by calling them a heavy metal band.
Mainman Lemmy, who died in December 2015, always insisted his outfit played rock’n’roll, and resisted any other genre label.
But Webb didn’t know that when he first sat down with the band in 2004, with a view to becoming their producer.
The meeting was arranged by Motorhead managed Todd Singerman.
Webb tells Produce Like A Pro: “I would always ask, ‘When’s Motorhead doing a record? I want to do one.’ And he’d always say, ‘You’re too nice of a person. I would never put you in a room with them – they’d tear you apart.’
“All of a sudden, one day I get a phone call. It’s Todd: ‘Do you want to do a Motorhead record? Here’s the deal. You’re going to have dinner. If you like them and they like you, you’re going to do a record. If they don’t like you, you tried and it is what it is.’”
He recalls visiting Tower Records on his way to the meeting, but on discovering how many albums the band had released, he decided not to try to expand his education, but to rely on what he already knew of their 1970s and 1980s output.
Webb continues: “The one thing I wanted to do was make sure they were modern sounding. I didn’t want them to sound too trashy – I wanted it to be full and big-sounding. Bands like System Of A Down had great-sounding records at the time. I wanted that for Motorhead.
“So I went up there, sat, ate steak, drank and talked shop. I approached them with, ‘I want to make a heavy record, almost a metal record.’
“Lemmy says to me, ‘Cameron, we’re a rock’n’roll band. We’re not a heavy metal band.’”
The producer knew instantly: “‘Oh, man, I just blew it.’ I walked out with the manager and he goes, ‘Cameron, you almost did a good job. But you shouldn’t have brought up that heavy metal thing.’
“Next day I got a call – ’You’re on, show up at rehearsal.’ And since then I’ve done every record. I built a trust with those guys.”
Webb continues to oversee any archive or live Motorhead releases, and had a hand in the production of guitarist Phil Campbell’s solo band recordings.