Michael “Würzel” Burston (23 October 1949 – 9 July 2011)

On Saturday 9th July, former Motörhead guitarist Michael “Würzel” Burston passed away.  He was 61 years old.

Joining Motörhead in 1984, replacing ex-Thin Lizzy man Brian Robertson, Würzel was a member of the band for just over a decade.  He lent his guitar chops to seven of the band’s studio albums: ‘No Remorse’, ‘Orgasmatron’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’, ‘1916’, ‘March Or Die’, ‘Bastards’ and ‘Sacrifice’.  Arguably, the best of those discs is the 1991 release ‘1916’ – a release which captured Motörhead with a renewed sense of vigour after a couple of workmanlike releases at the tail end of the previous decade.

While he did not contribute to the band’s earliest (and perhaps most famous) albums, Würzel can be seen performing with the band during a performance on UK cult comedy The Young Ones –  a clip which, is arguably the most commonly seen Motörhead footage in the UK (especially for those who don’t particularly follow the band).

Outside his work with Motörhead, Burston also recorded two solo albums: ‘Bess’ in 1987 and an experiemental, ambient disc, ‘Chill Out or Die’, released in 1998.  His last band, Leader of Down, were set headline the Never Mind The Bullocks charity fundraiser at the end of June 2011, but the event was cancelled due to a lack of ticket sales.  The band were also preparing their debut album.