The Story Behind The Jazz June Song "Motörhead's Roadie"

Guest columnist: Andrew Low from The Jazz June

One day a few years ago I got an email from Dan (the bassist for The Jazz June) that said, “You have to check The Jazz June Myspace page, you are not going to believe the message we just got!!!”  Like most people, I hadn’t been on Myspace in years, so I couldn’t imagine what message could have made him so excited. I had been living in London for a few years and the band had not played for a very long time so even the suggestion of a great show would not have excited him that much. It had been so long that I had to have him send me the username and password. When I finally logged in, waited ages for the page to load and made it into the inbox, there was a message from ‘We Are the Road Crew. This is what it said:

To: the jazz june
Date: May 11, 2009 7:45 PM
Subject: your motörhead’s roadie song
heard you got a song called Motörhead’s roadie...
i'm dan, Motörhead’s road manager and me and the chaps was wondering if you could mail me a copy of it to my email so we could check it out...the address is XXXXXXXXXXX also what’s the story behind it? me and the boys are interested...
also if your Motörhead fans we should be your neck of the woods hopefully in autumn so let 
me know if you guys need any tickets sorting...
peace, love & noise
Dan Halen
Road Manager – Motörhead

Dan Halen? We are the Road Crew? Could this actually be for real? I couldn’t believe that Motörhead's crew had heard a song that was almost 10-years old from a little-known emo band. I rigorously checked the site, the comments, the followers and it all seemed legit.  At this point I was thinking, “Shit, what am I going to say to that?” I am a huge Motörhead fan and I really wanted to go to the show, meet the crew and hang out with Lemmy. At the very least I would love to see Motörhead for free. The odd thing about the song is that the title does not specifically reflect what the song is about. I wrote the lyrics to the song when The Jazz June was getting ready to graduate from college and take the band on the road for a huge tour that would hopefully give us the boost we needed to make the touring a full-time job. Up until that point, we had always toured on breaks from the school year, so it was all very carefree. If we lost money (which was always the case) we knew we could make it back during the school year working part-time jobs. Graduating meant going for it full time and not having the dorm and school to fall back on. Plus, my parents were not too happy about their son hitting the road after getting a teaching degree. Like all good parents they wanted me to get a job and were pressuring me to settle down and give up the band.  In order to psych myself up for this huge risk I wrote the song Motörhead's Roadie as an inspiration for all of us in the band to back ourselves in this huge decision and face the unknown or ‘spit at the sky’ with courage and certainty. The reason the song is called Motörhead’s Roadie is because I figured that Motörhead’s actual roadie must not given a shit about pissing off his parents when taking the decision to tour full time. He must be hard core as hell, a hell raiser who lives for the road and makes the most of every day of his life, an outcast unfazed by the pressure of society to conform. I thought that if I could think like Motörhead's roadie that all my insecurities would melt away.  I really didn’t want to let Dan Halen down, so I composed a response I thought he could  relate to and, at the same time, make him think I am a super tough metal head dude as well, not an English graduate in a washed up emo band. This is what I came up with:

From: the jazz june
Date: 15 May 2009, 07:37
Subject: RE: your motörheads roadie song
Hey dude,
Thanks for the message.

The idea behind Motörhead’s Roadie is we thought that whoever was chosen to be the roadie for Motörhead would have to be the coolest motherfucker ever. Like, if Lemmy choose you to roadie for him that you must be a cool as fuck. Subsequently, if you were Motörhead's roadie, you must have seen some pretty crazy shit on the road and partied harder than anyone.

I always thought that Motörhead was one of the coolest band’s around, so I also figured that the band's roadie would have some seriously funny stories about all the other wimpy metal bands that you have played with - that is the general concept behind the song. I think it all came about because we would go on these really long tours in the US and get bummed out because two people were at the show. Sometimes I would think, “Man, I wonder what Motörhead's early days were like? They couldn't have been like this.” Don’t get me wrong, we had fun, but in a different way.

I live in London now, so let me know if you guys are playing in town and I’ll definitely come down. I was at a Metallica show at the O2 for work a few months ago and the rumour was that Lemmy was going to play some songs with the band, but it never happened?

I’ll send you that song to your email address tonight.
Thanks for writing.


And then Dan Halen sent the best response ever.

To: the jazz june 
Date: 15 May 2009, 07:37
Subject: RE: your motörheads roadie song

hey andrew,
in answer to your comments...
and yes...

You'd be surprised but Motörhead is a family...we argue, laugh and cry with each other...all usually due to the drink but fuck it eh..good times  Yeah were around at Guillfest and also a Hammersmith show soon so come down and I'll show you what I mean. mail me that tune man...gagging to hear it


Unfortunately, we lost touch and I never got to go to the show and meet Motörhead's crew, Dan Halen or Lemmy. He must not have liked the song, which is fair enough. One great thing was that he also referred to himself as Danthrax in one of the emails - Dan Halen and Danthrax, how cool is this guy!?!?! 

Since I never got to go to the show I convinced myself that this Dan Halen character was not really Motörhead's tour manager to relive my disappointment. It wasn’t until I saw the Lemmy documentary, featured none other than Dan Halen, that I realized it was all legit.  Watching that documentary made me realize that Lemmy and his crew are the best bunch of dudes in rock and roll history. All the stories told in the doc confirm that not only are they the hardest-partying guys ever, but they are actually extremely kind and sweet people who genuinely care about each other and their fans.  

I still think in awe about how the cosmos aligned to make this situation happen, and that we were really lucky to have been emailed by Dan Halen. From now on I am going to title all my songs after my rock heroes. Watch out for the next The Jazz June album, titled: Led Zeppelin rolled The Stones over a Beatle that Bob Dylan gave to Neil Young. 

Hey, it’s worth a try.