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Motorhead’s Mikkey Dee Talks Motorboat Cruise, Lemmy’s Health, King Diamond + More

Mikkey Dee
Adam Berry, Getty Images

If you listen to what Lemmy Kilmister has to say, and we all do, Mikkey Dee is the greatest drummer in the world. The Motorhead / ex-King Diamond stickman has lent his skills to some of metal’s greatest albums, and we were lucky enough to speak with the legend on a myriad of topics.

Motorhead’s Motorboat cruise takes off from Miami on Sept. 22 and then makes stops at Key West and Cozumel, Mexico, before returning to Miami on Sept. 26. Among the acts joining Motorhead on the cruise are Megadeth, Anthrax, Zakk Wylde, Testament, Down and more.

We caught up with Mikkey Dee to talk about the cruise, Motorhead’s involvement in the lineup and the resources put into the unique event. Also, we spoke to the veteran drummer about Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister’s health, the potential for him reuniting with King Diamond and much more.

Check out our exclusive chat with Motorhead’s Mikkey Dee below:

Let’s talk about Motorboat. It’s pretty crazy that you guys are launching your own festival cruise — and the lineup is great. Was this a lineup that you guys helped select?

Yeah, of course. We have to approve the bands who could do it, you know? It has to be a proper mix of bands which we think we actually got together now on this cruise. It’s kind of a test, we’ll see how this goes. There’s been a pretty decent interest for it and we’ve never done it, so why not? Let’s try it.

These cruises are an interesting blend of relaxation and total chaos. Because it’s the first cruise that you guys are doing and since you are invested in it, do you think you’ll be able to relax or will you be stressed about every little detail?

No, we don’t think in those terms, really. Once you’ve committed to this and you’re gonna actually get going on it — it’s not so much the money, really — we’ve got to make sure that we have a good time. It’s really the last thing that we’ve been talking about. What we want, of course, is for things to break even, you know? If not, for the future — it’s more for the future outside than anything else — if we’d like to maybe continue doing something like this. A positive result is always better than the negative, of course. I think we’re going to totally relax and it’s going to be a great cruise, for sure.

So, when you’re on board for this thing, how much interaction do you expect that you’ll have with fans? Have you ever played a festival cruise before?

This is the first time and I’m sure we’re going to be totally interactive with our fans and the folks that are on the cruise, that’s the whole point. With us, in Motorhead, we’ve never had a problem with that, to tell you the truth. Of course you want to be able to slip away once in a while, but that’s not the case here. We’re just going to try to enjoy it, take it as it comes and get the best out of it.

Great. There have been a lot of these festival cruises popping up. Do you think we’re looking at the future of music festivals?

I think this is kind of a fun deal, it’s been going on for X amount of years, different types of little cruises like this, but I don’t think this is the future at all. I think it’s just a good little angle on what you can do. It’s just a different concept which attracts both bands and fans. I just think it’s a different angle on how to enjoy music, it doesn’t matter if it’s hard rock or if it’s any other kind of music. It’s like two things in one hit; be on a luxurious cruise and at the same time listen to your favorite music.

Yeah, that’s paradise. I’ve been loving the ‘Aftershock’ album ever since it came out last year. I feel like this one really seemed to grab fans, maybe a little tighter than Motorhead’s recent releases. It also had better first-week sales here in the U.S. than any of your albums since ‘Hammered.’ How do you think ‘Aftershock’ connects with fans compared to recent albums from Motorhead?

Well, what you’re asking right now is almost an impossible question to answer because, we have no idea. I asked it personally. The recent five releases with our producer, Cameron Webb, everything from the album ‘Inferno’ to ‘Aftershock,’ I think stands out completely on its own. They are very, very unique albums and they have a certain style, they have great stretch through all five albums that we’ve done with Cameron. I really don’t know what made this album a little more attractive to fans than any of the other four, to tell you the truth. Different angle, different type of vibe. I know ‘Aftershock’ is a wider album in my book than any of the other ones, so maybe that’s the deal.

One of my favorites is probably ‘Inferno,’ out of the five. So I don’t know, it came at the right time. Maybe people were more up to see us. I usually say an album is more of a reflection of what you do in the previous year and I know that we toured so much — we tour a lot all the time — every year, but it was extreme the year before. There were really good shows and we managed to tour pretty much the whole world in one go, so maybe that’s why. You never know, it’s a very hard question to answer, but I believe it came at the right time and for some reason it just became a little more successful than some of the other records.

I think you’re right about the diversity of ‘Aftershock.’ It’s really dirty at some points and sometimes it’s really bluesy and nice.

It’s very wide.

For sure. Being such a massive band, were you ever disappointed with the first-week sales of albums like ‘Inferno’ and ‘Kiss of Death’?

Yeah, it’s somewhat disappointing, but I believe that in the end, after we’ve been touring and the album finished selling and a couple years go by, they seem almost the same in the end anyway, with more of a complete sale. So I don’t know if the first week or the first month or whatever is really relevant here. As long as each album makes a small step forward, then I’m happy.

We are not the biggest-selling record band in the world, but we’re very happy with the numbers that we do put up because a lot of bands seem to sell a lot less and we seem to at least move forward. We have increased our sales with all the records that we do, which is a good thing.

I’ve always found it interesting that even though it looks like the record sales are low at some points, when it comes to your fan base turning out at the shows, there’s always a ton of people of all different ages.

Oh, yeah. I keep saying we could do the U.S., North America — forty, fifty shows and then we take the weekend off and we can do the same round again, you know? And the house is sold out, so we’re very thankful for that part because I think it’s very unique.

Yeah, I think that’s what’s important in the end. I’m sure you get asked this a lot, but how is Lemmy doing? Is his health good? Has he been feeling good on the road?

Yeah, it’s been an excellent summer. I’ve been very happy; he’s probably the most happy out of us all. The fact that he’s come back, it takes time to recover and he’s been doing great. He’s really taking care of himself a lot better now and we’ve done festivals all over Europe and the last show was in Switzerland and all the shows we’ve been doing have been great. There’s no cancellations — every show has been played and we had a good time. It feels good to be back on the road, that we can still really do this.

People are extremely excited that King Diamond is touring again. Of course, you played on the amazing ‘Abigail’ and ‘Them’ albums along with a few others. Obviously, you haven’t been in the band for a long time, but if the circumstances were right, would you be open to a reunion tour of some kind?

You know, I like the band a lot. I’m very proud of the records that we did in the ’80s, which they call the “classics,” I suppose. ‘Fatal Portrait’ or ‘Abigail,’ ‘Them,’ ‘Conspiracy’ — we did really well, especially in the U.S. in those days. If I’m not doing anything with Motorhead, it would be fantastic to come in with my friends. They’re still my friends and we have a good relationship. I just hope they have all the success they can, because I think it’s eight or nine years since they’ve toured the U.S.

Yeah, it’s been a long time.

I believe they’re going to have a great tour and hopefully come back on the scene. King, also, his health was winding down for a while there. It’s always good to see people when they come back, I enjoy that. When people are strong enough to overcome whatever physical problems they seem to battle and then come back strong and do things even better, that’s very impressive. I think it’s a good deal, I wish them all the best and hopefully, maybe someday I can play along with them, who knows?

Thanks to Mikkey Dee for the interview! For more information on the Motorboat cruise, visit the event’s official website. To pick up a copy of ‘Aftershock,’ click here.

Mikkey Dee Addresses Media Coverage of Lemmy Kilmister's Health Issues

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