According to a posting on the Facebook page of Tim Butcher, longtime bass tech for MOTÖRHEAD frontman Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, former MOTÖRHEAD guitarist Michael “Würzel” Burston died earlier today (Saturday, July 9). No official statement has been made, but it is believed that Burstondied of ventricular fibrillation, caused by cardiomyopathy, better known as heart disease. He was 61 years old.
Before joining MOTÖRHEAD in 1984, Burston had been a corporal in the Army, serving in Germany and Ireland with the 1st Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment, and had played in the bands BASTARD and WARFARE. Joining another relatively unknown guitarist, Phil Campbell, they played together at a MOTÖRHEAD audition, and both were taken on.
Burston acquired the nickname Würzel while in the Army, being compared to the character Worzel Gummidge due to his scarecrow-style hair and bumpkin-like manner. Lemmy reportedly demanded that Würzel add an umlaut to the “U” in his name, for “heavy metal effect.”
Würzel can be heard on the following MOTÖRHEAD albums:
* No Remorse (1984)
* Orgasmatron (1986)
* Rock ‘n’ Roll (1987)
* Nö Sleep at All (1988)
* The Birthday Party (1990)
* 1916 (1991)
* March ör Die (1992)
* Bastards (1993)
* Sacrifice (1995)
Würzel left MOTÖRHEAD in 1995.
For the past couple of years, Burston has played with a new band called LEADER OF DOWN, which last month headlined the main stage at the U.K. fundraising music festival “Never Mind The Bullocks” in aid of Midlands Air Ambulance.
Würzel joined MOTÖRHEAD on stage on November 28, 2009 at the Hammersmith Apollo to perform the band’s classic song “Ace Of Spades”. Video footage of his appearance can be seen below.