Original Motorhead Guitarist Larry Wallis Dies at 70
Larry Wallis, who served as Motorhead's first guitarist, has died at the age of 70. As of press time, the cause of death is unknown.
He'd been a veteran of the British progressive and metal scenes by the time he joined Motorhead, having gotten his start in 1970 as a member of Shagrat, a band founded by Steve Peregrin Took after he left Tyrannosaurus Rex. From there, he moved on to Blodwyn Pig, which was followed by a stint in UFO that lasted about eight months in 1972. He also spent a few years fronting the Pink Fairies, during which time they recorded Kings of Oblivion.
After the breakup of the Pink Fairies, Wallis got together with Lemmy Kilmister, whom he knew from when the Pink Fairies played on the same billed as Lemmy's former band, Hawkwind. They formed Motorhead with drummer Lucas Fox, signed with United Artists and recorded On Parole, with Wallis penning the title track and co-writing three others. But Fox left during the sessions, and they hired Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor as his replacement.
However, the label wasn't thrilled with the end result and refused to release it. Then Motorhead brought in a second guitarist, "Fast" Eddie Clarke, and Wallis, dissatisfied, left the band. On Parole eventually came out in 1979, after the band had had some commercial success.
Wallis returned to a re-formed Pink Fairies for a few years, and served as a recording artist and producer for Stiff Records, the label that introduced Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and the Damned to the world. He parted ways with Stiff in 1980, and went on to a few ad hoc projects, and returned to the Pink Fairies for another go-round in the late '80s.