01 Nov Motorbäbe’s Rachel Enyeart Reclaims Her Metalhead Destiny
If Rachel Enyeart’s life were a movie, it might be called Metalhead, Interrupted. The San Clemente, California, bass player and lead vocalist for Motorbäbe — a hellraising, all-woman Motörhead tribute band — has had more than a few life-changing pauses that sidetracked her music career.
The first was at age 14. Metallica-loving Enyeart had just started playing her mom’s Ibanez guitar when she found out she was pregnant with her first child.
“I was a teenage mom,” she says, with a laugh. It’s late September when I finally wrangled Enyeart for a Zoom interview, between work, music, and getting tattooed by one of her adult daughters, Chelstine, an artist at 454 Studios in Encinitas. She’s in good spirits, ahead of October’s mini tour with Motorbäbe up and down the West Coast. “When I had my son I gave up the whole music dream of being a rock n’ roll star for a very long time.”
But the made-for-screen, real-life story of Rachel Enyeart is also one of perseverance and intuition, like Where the Heart Is. Whenever the mom of five — and grandmother of seven — trusts her gut, the universe opens its arms a little wider.
One day in 2011, after a 20-year playing hiatus, Enyeart got so sick of simply being a musician’s girlfriend on the sidelines that she just announced her intention, at age 34, to start her first band. After recruiting her friend Elizabeth “Liz” Borg to sing lead vocals, and a couple of guys to play other instruments, Enyeart formed the rock band Chica Diabla. Original song melodies and lyrics just flowed out of Enyeart and soon, radio stations and bigger bands like Nashville Pussy took notice.
“Like, that’s my hero, my fucking hero,” Enyeart says of Nashville Pussy’s lead singer Blaine Cartwright. “I actually did a radio interview last week with a guy from the East Coast, and he knows Blaine, and he said, ‘I actually have the Chica Diabla album and I’ve had it for years — Blaine Cartwright told me I needed to buy it because he said you guys were great. I was like, ‘oh my God!’
Tragically, Borg got breast cancer and passed away in October 2016, shortly after the final 2016 Chica Diabla show two months earlier. Enyeart, grief stricken, tried to start a new band with Chica Diabla’s guitar player, who was her romantic partner at the time. But that band, Call of The Wild, ended when they broke up.
“Call of the Wild was scary because it was the first time that I was going to be a front woman and play bass,” she says. “And we were a three-piece, heavier than Chica Diabla and more [like] Black Sabbath. We had a good run as well, but he and I broke up.” She laughs. “Don’t ever be in a band with a love interest.”
Having been through so much heartache in such a short timeframe, Enyeart didn’t know what was next. She only knew to trust her instincts.
Still, it was a bit surprising when, in 2017, guitar player Phillipa Tank reached out to Enyeart on Facebook messenger and asked if she wanted to start an all-girl Motörhead tribute band — and be the band’s lead singer and bassist!
Enyeart initially paused in her response. She had only played in original bands up until that point. Also, filling the shoes of the legendary Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister would be a tall order, not to mention playing with two other talented players who could hold their own: Tank and drummer Janna Brunner. But it felt like the universe’s arms were as wide as they could get — and the timing was serendipitous.
“At first, was like, ‘No, I can’t do this, I can’t be Lemmy, like, he’s a fucking God, I’m not going to take that bullet,’” Enyeart recalls. “And then I thought, ‘well, you gotta fucking try.’ And so we got together and we did three songs. We did ‘Ace of Spades,’ of course, ‘Jailbait,’ and ‘Orgasmatron’ and we just kind of looked at each other afterwards and fucking knew.”
The band’s been going strong ever since.
“Now I have a whole new respect for the tribute band scene,” she continues. “I get defensive when people put it down now, because to me, it’s like, you have a pianist who plays a piece of music that’s not his. What’s the difference between that and us playing someone else’s music and doing it well? And people can’t hear Motörhead live anymore.”
Enyeart, who likes to refer to Motorbäbe as a “3-piece all-female salute to the mighty Motörhead,” also feels a deep and spiritual connection with Kilmister. This comes through every time she takes the stage with her Rickenbacker bass and sings upward into a microphone placement.
And as Motorbäbe’s fan base grows to the tens of thousands, so does their desire to deepen their repertoire. But given how much material Motörhead put out, that’s also a tall order.
“Now, I’m of course obsessed and just can’t get enough Motörhead and we’ll never run out of songs,” says Enyeart. “The more albums I buy, I’m like, ‘fuck there’s so many!’ Like, they put out an album every fucking year till they died, you know? It’s crazy to me. But yeah, the more I dig into it, the more I fall in love, and the more I’m sad that I can’t meet Lemmy because I think we would have just had a lot in common and gotten along really fucking well, you know, and it’s just kind of sad [but] he has visited me in a couple of dreams.”
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor of Rockmommy.