Long serving Motörhead guitarist Michael ‘Würzel’ Burston (not pictured above) has passed away following organ failure after battling heart disease for some time, aged just 61. Serving as front man Lemmy Kilmister’s chief lieutenant from 1984 to 1995, the former British Army corporal was much loved by fans for his work on the albums No Remorse, Orgasmatron, Rock ‘N’ Roll, March Ör Die, Bastards and Sacrifice.
Known for his comical beanpole appearance on stage, he derived his nickname from the German children’s TV show Worzel Gummidge, which was a nickname he picked up following a stint serving with the British Army in Germany. Naturally Lemmy had insisted on the addition of the Teutonic umlaut to the letter ‘u’ in his nickname.
Born in Cheltenham in the west of England, he left the band in 1996, going on to make solo albums and also forming a new group called Leader of Down. Lemmy, who received the news of his former bandmate’s death as he was about to take the stage at the Sonisphere Festival over the weekend, informed the crowd that the band’s forthcoming hour of “rock ‘n’ roll” music was dedicated to their fallen comrade.
News of his death was revealed to fans by Lemmy’s long time bass technician Tim Butcher, who posted on Facebook the following message. “RIP Wurzle, Great guitarist and a complete gent… we will miss you…”. Burston briefly reunited with the band in 2009 when he joined them on stage at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, performing their signature tune, ‘Ace of Spades’.
Check him out performing on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show in 1992.