Würzel bigraphy, stories - English rock musician

Würzel : biography

23 October 1949 – 9 July 2011

Michael Burston (23 October 1949 – 9 July 2011), commonly known by the stage name Würzel, was an English musician and formerly a guitarist in the British heavy metal band, Motörhead.. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2011-07-23.


With Motörhead
  • 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)
  • BBC Live & In-Session (2005)
Solo work
  • Bess (1987)
  • Chill Out Or Die (The Ambient Album) (1998)
Other work and guest appearances
  • Warfare – Metal Anarchy (1985)
  • V.A. – "Where Would You Rather Be Tonight?" (1986) (All proceeds from this album went to Broadreach House, a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts and alcoholics)
  • Atomgods – WOW! (1988)
  • Warhead – Warhead (1995)
  • Disgust – A World Of No Beauty (1996)
  • WVKEAF – "Jump/Maximism" – (1997)
  • Splodgenessabounds – Artful Splodger (2001)

VHS & DVD appearances

  • Motörhead – The Birthday Party (1986)
  • Motörhead – 1916 Live…Everything Louder than Everything Else VHS & DVD 1991.
  • Motörhead – Videobiography (2007) (Wurzel is featured on Disc 2 of Motörhead Videobiography, in a 50 minute interview, his first since leaving the band; filmed in early 2007) Motörhead Videobiography (Double DVD with 48 page book) Edgehill Publishing Ltd., June 2007 ISBN 978-1-905954-38-4


Before joining Motörhead in 1983, Burston had been a corporal in the Army, serving in Germany and Northern 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 at a Motörhead audition, both were hired. The new four-piece line-up made its debut recording a backing track for The Young Ones on 14 February 1984.

Burston acquired the nickname Würzel whilst in the Army, being compared to the character Worzel Gummidge due to his scarecrow-style hair and bumpkin-like manner. Motörhead singer Lemmy encouraged Würzel to add an umlaut to the ‘U’ in his name, for heavy metal effect.

Würzel saw a number of changes to the line-up in the band, each involving the drummer, until he left in 1995. Although he played on Sacrifice, he left the band before the tour. He was not replaced and Motörhead remains a three-piece. He had made a few guest appearances with the band: at the 2008 Download Festival and at the 2009 Guilfest, as well as a few other appearances on the band’s 2008 UK tour.

In 1987 Würzel recorded his first solo E.P., "Bess", that was not so far removed from the Motörhead sound, but also allowed for slightly different ideas. The E.P. included the instrumental title track, two Rock pieces, ‘Midnight in London’ and ‘People Say I’m Crazy’, and an instrumental Jazz Rock-orientated track, ‘E.S.P.’.

In 1998, quasi-inspired by psychedelically-informed experiences in Ghent, Belgium, Würzel recorded and released an ambient, improvised avant-garde album entitled Chill Out Or Die.

On 9 July 2011, Tim Butcher — longtime bass technician of Motörhead leader Lemmy — reported that Würzel had died. The cause of death was ventricular fibrillation triggered by cardiomyopathy.. Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved on 2011-07-23.. Ultimateclassicrock.com. Retrieved on 2011-07-23. Before he died, Würzel was working on new material with his new band, Leader of Down, who had previously announced the release of their debut single for early 2010. The following day, Lemmy dedicated Motörhead’s performance at Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth to his memory, as well as dedicating ‘Going to Brazil’ to him.