euclid james 'motorhead' sherwood

* 1942/05/08 in Arkansas City, Kansas  + 2011/12/25

Jim 'Motorhead' Sherwood met Frank Zappa in high school.  He occasionally sat in with the Blackouts, stayed (with Zappa) in Studio Z for about six months and joined the Mothers Of Invention; first as a roadie, later as a musician.

In the early seventies, Motorhead recorded with Ruben & The Jets.

Motorhead was also a part of the early Grandmothers.



1 the mothers of invention: freak out!
    (1966, 2lp, usa, verve)

2 the mothers of invention: absolutely free
    (1967, lp,usa, verve)
3 the mothers of invention: we're only in it for the money
   (1967, lp, usa, verve)

4 frank zappa: lumpy gravy
   (1967, lp, usa, verve)

5 the mothers of invention: cruising with ruben & the jets
   (1968, lp, usa, verve)

6 the mothers of invention: mothermania
   (1969, lp, usa, verve)

zappa_06.jpg (26926 bytes)

7 the mothers of invention: uncle meat
   (1969, 2lp, usa, bizarre)


the mothers of invention: burnt weeny sandwich
   (1970, lp, usa, bizarre)


the mothers of invention: weasels ripped my flesh
   (1970, lp, usa, bizarre)

  ruben & the jets: for real (1)
   (1973, lp, usa, mercury) - produced, featuring, parts written & arranged by frank zappa
34 frank zappa: you are what you is
   (1981, 2lp, usa, barking pumpkin)
  the grandmothers: grandmothers (1)
    (1981, lp, ger, line records 6.24636 ap) - feat. various ex-moi

grandmothers_st_lp.jpg (28012 bytes)

  the grandmothers: fan club talk lp (2)
    (1981, lp, us, panda 001)

gm_fct_pdvinyl.jpg (25941 bytes)

  the grandmothers: lookin' up granny's dress  (3)
    (1982, lp, us, rhino records  rnlp 804) - feat. various ex-moi; incl.zappa compositions

gm_lookinup.jpg (23374 bytes)

  frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore - sampler
51 frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.1
   (1988, 2cd, usa, ryko)


frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.4
   (1991, 2cd, usa, ryko)  
  the mothers of invention: the ark
    (1991, cd, usa, rhino foo-eee records r2 70538)
  the mothers of invention: 'tis the season to be jelly
    (1991, cd, usa, rhino foo-eee records r2 70542)
  zappa / mothers: electric aunt jemima
    (1991, cd, usa, rhino foo-eee records r2 71019)
  zappa / mothers: our man in nirvana
    (1991, cd, usa, rhino foo-eee records r2 71022)


frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.5
   (1992, 2cd, usa, ryko)
  jim 'motorhead' sherwood: motorhead speaks - 1993 interview
    (1993, k7, usa, electrik yak 004)


zappa / mothers: ahead of their time (61)
   (1993, cd, usa, ryko)
  the grandmothers: a mother of an anthology
    (1993, cd, us, one way records ow 28880)  = compilation + extra tracks  

  ant-bee: snorks and wheezes
    (1993, k7, usa, electrik yak) - feat.bunk gardner, don preston, jc black, motorhead sherwood

  ant-bee: the *#!%%? of ant-bee - rarities vol.3
    (1993, k7, usa, electrik yak records 009) - feat.bunk gardner, don preston, jc black, motorhead sherwood

  don preston: vile foamy ectoplasm (1)
    (1993, cd, ger, muffin records muffin cdmr 003) - feat. ex-moi and ex-zappa bandmembers 
  ant-bee: with my favorite "vegetables" and other bizarre music
    (1994, cd, uk, divine records divine 3) - feat.motorhead, black, gardner, estrada, preston, snyder


frank zappa: civilization phaze III
   (1994, 2cd, usa, barking pumpkin)
  sandro oliva: who the fuck is sandro oliva ?!?
    (1995, cd, usa, muffin records mrp015)
- feat. various ex-moi; incl.' genes' (frank zappa)

  ant-bee: lunar muzik
    (1995, cd, uk, divine records divine 20) - feat. gardner, preston, black, estrada, sherwood, bob harris


frank zappa: lšther
   (1996, 3cd, usa, ryko)


frank zappa: mystery disc
   (1998, cd, usa, ryko)

77 frank zappa: the mofo project/object
    (2006, 2cd, usa, zappa records)

78 frank zappa: the mofo project/object
    (2006, 4cd, usa, zappa records)

  don preston: vile foamy ectoplasm
    (2007, cd, usa, crossfire publications) - feat. frank zappa, ex-moi and ex-zappa bandmembers
  tony palmer's film of frank zappa's 200 motels
    (2010, dvd, uk, tony palmer)
  ant-bee: electronic church muzik
    (2011, cd, usa, barking moondog records bmr1) - feat. various zappa & beefheart alumni
ant_bee_electronicchurchmusic.jpg (29175 bytes)

sandro oliva: who the fuck is sandro oliva ?!?
    (2011, cdr, italy, private release / obvious music omso 0013) - feat. various ex-moi / incl.' genes' (frank zappa) / re-release with bonus

so_wtfi_2011.jpg (78137 bytes)


frank zappa: road tapes - kerrisdale arena, vancouver bc, 25 august 1968
    (2012, cd, usa, vaulternative records )
zappa_roadtapes19680825.jpg (31025 bytes)


frank zappa: finer moments
    (2012, cd, usa, zappa records)

zappa_finermoments.jpg (47358 bytes)

  the mothers of invention: wollman rink, central park, ny, august 3rd 1968
    (2014, cd, uk, keyhole records)
moi_wollmanrinkcd.jpg (27731 bytes)


zappa / mothers: meat light
    (2016, 3cd, usa, zappa records zr20024)
fz_meatlight.jpg (46821 bytes)


motorhead speaks: the 1993 electric yak interview
© t'mershi duween magazine # 31: june 1993 

Another one of the interviews carried out by Billy James' Electric Yak Records, this time with the recently rediscovered Motorhead Sherwood. In keeping with interviews with Don Preston, Jimmy Carl Black and Bunk Gardner, it covers much of the same questions, but some interesting new details in this one. Take it away, Bob.

Q: Where did the name Motorhead come from?

A: That actually came from Ray Collins. Frank had Studio Z at Cucamonga in Ontario, and I'd go down and do a little jamming with them every once in a while. I even lived in the studio with Frank for about six months. Frank and I would get a lot of people over there to do things and he knew Ray Collins. Ray would come over and sing. He was working with Jimmy and Roy who got Frank into the band that eventually lead to the Mothers. Ray was always joking with me because I was working on cars and trucks and motorcycles. He said 'It sounds like you've got a little motor in your head', so they just called me Motorhead and that seemed to stick. I've always been called that ever since.

Q: When and where did you meet Frank?

A: Frank used to sit out on the front lawn at the high school when I was a freshman and he had this old beat-up guitar. It was an old acoustic, with the frets really high. It had been in a fire and was all burnt up. I think his uncle gave it to him. Frank used to sit out and play all the time, because he was in sophomore year (that's the second one in England) and didn't have any classes, so he'd sit out and play guitar most of the time. I found out later on that Bobby Zappa was in one of my classes. Bobby found out that I collected blues records and he introduced me to Frank, and Frank and I sort of got together and swapped records. We've been friends ever since. This was in 1956. Frank had a band at that time called the Blackouts. I went over and saw them at the Moose Lodge or something, and the group disbanded right after that. Frank and Bobby moved down to Ontario, and I started playing with the band. We called it The Omens, and I was with them for quite a while. Frank had formed a few groups down in Ontario, and he would come up for battles of the bands all the time. It was kind of a kick. It was mostly involved with swapping records. Frank was working at the record store, and we'd go down and try to get all the blues records we could before Frank got a hold of them.

Q: When did you join the Mothers?

A: Actually I worked with Frank, even when Frank was first starting the Mothers, when the band was playing at the Whisky-A-Go-Go and a lot of clubs around LA and the area. I would go down and do some jamming with them at certain clubs. I was on the 'Freak Out!' album, just making sound effects and on some of the songs. I went back to New York with them as basically the roadie and I was paid by the Garrick Theatre that we worked at. I was with them in 1967 when we did the first trip to London (Motorhead really says 1983-5 for this trip, but guess his brain slipped out of gear there for a moment), and that was when they officially put me into the band. I was taking care of the equipment, and they couldn't decide if they wanted me as equipment manager or as a musician in the band, so they decided to make me a musician who took care of all the equipment.

Q: What was it like at the Garrick Theatre?

A: That was some incredible stuff. We were at the Garrick a year and a half (!?), experimenting with music and ideas. Frank figured that most people's attention span was about five minutes at most, maybe a minute when you're playing music. So Ray Collins and I used to put on little puppet shows and we'd do really bizarre things. We had an old player piano that we'd turn round backwards and do puppet shows. We had the giraffe... Other things we'd do - I was doing the lighting sometimes in the booth, and I'd take vegetables and hang them on a wire. Then I'd slide these water melons and carrots and tomatoes down onto the stage ( so that's where Pink Floyd got the idea for the Spitfire!-Ed). The band would break them up and throw them out into the audience and share them with everyone. Or we'd get bags of ice-cubes and throw ice out into the audience during the Summer when it was really hot. You could probably spend months talking about all the bizarre crap that went on there at the Garrick. We had the three Marines who were getting shipped out to Vietnam. They got up on stage and took a doll and ripped it to pieces while they were singing 'House of the Rising Sun'. There were just too many numerous things. I can't even remember all of them. The Garrick Theatre was one wild time.

Q: Do you have any interesting tour stories to share?

A: There were hundreds of those. There was one deal once when we were at the airport in LA getting ready to fly out. There was Jim and Ray, Art Tripp and Ian sitting around at one table and Frank and us were at another one. This marine came up with an armful of peanuts and just threw them all on the table, and said 'Here you monkeys, eat!' Jim Black, who'd been in the Air Force, just freaked. He jumped up and was going to kill this guy, and Art had to hold him down. Everyone was trying to keep Jim from doing this guy over, until he found out we were the Mothers. There were another five or so guys at another table, so I guess he felt a little overwhelmed there, and decided to back off. Another time, in Philadelphia, Bunk and Roy and Jimmy were standing on the curb and they started to walk across the light. A cab driver came whizzing across all four lanes on the street and tried to hit them getting off the curb. In Canada, they refused to serve us in any restaurant. We had to walk to work as we couldn't even get a cab. Strange things went on like that all the time. We'd get on airlines and the stewardesses wouldn't talk to us for about half the trip until they found out we were a band, and then they'd start bringing us drinks and peanuts and little extra snacks. Touring in the early years was really tough and really bizarre. It was kind of hard to deal with, but stories like that could go on forever.

Q: How about interesting stories of recording sessions?

A: Actually recording sessions were just a lot of work. You'd go in and play your music, and Frank would stay back and engineer. I'd go in with Frank a lot of times to help out on the engineering. The early years, when the band had just started, recording studios weren't as good as the more recent ones. The only good thing about those is that you'd go in, and they'd smell like a bar. There's be booze all over the place, cigarette burns in the counter. They had funky old microphones. Everybody stood behind these little cages. It wasn't like the new sessions. Today, you'll have the drummer and bassist go in and lay down a set, then the guitarist goes in to lay down solos, then you'll have horns or vocals or whatever. Nobody even goes in at the same time any more. The only really interesting things that I had with recording was in the very early days with the Omens. We'd go into the studio, and everyone would set up and play in one room, with the singer off in a booth with a window where he could look out. While we're playing, I'd have to give the singer signals to tell him when to start singing, and when to stop. They only had a couple of mikes that they set up and we all jammed at the same time. These days, there's not a whole lot in sessions. Someone comes in, lays down their tracks and leaves.

Q: Why in your opinion did Frank split up the original Mothers?

A: I think Frank was just tired or touring and playing. He wanted to go in a different direction. We talked about it. He asked everybody to just go out and join other groups and play different styles of music, and then we'd get back together later on and do our thing again with a lot of new ideas and new material. Nobody wanted to, because at that time we were starting to make pretty good money. The name The Mothers was really big, and Frank said 'Hey if you don't want to do that, then that's it. We quit.' He just broke up the band and that was the end of that.

Q: What was the story of your involvement in '200 Motels'?

A: My part in the movie was just really strange. Frank wanted me to play a newt rancher and I was supposed to be in love with a vacuum cleaner. That was my deal in the film. I don't know what that had to do with anything. Frank just wanted to put that in. The rest of it was based on just supposedly abstract ideas of how the band is on the road, how strange it is to tour, and all the bizarre people you encounter and all the weird things that go on. '200 Motels' to me was a take-off from a movie that Frank was going to do a long time ago with Captain Beefheart (presumably 'CB vs. the Grunt People'-Ed). Don and I were supposed to be in the movie and it just kind of evolved from that. Frank added his own bizarre things about his ideas on travelling and music in general. There's not much you can say about the film. It was just Frank's idea of how things were.

Q: What about your involvement with the band Ruben and the Jets?

A: After the Mothers broke up we were kind of in limbo. Frank had this kid called Ruben come up and say he wanted to use the name Ruben and the Jets, and play this old rock n roll music. Frank Figured that since I was this old rock n roll horn player that I'd like to get in the band. So I did and we played a bunch of concerts. Basically, they were free benefits in the Park or at the School because the guys in the band were younger and mostly Mexicans. So we played benefits in East LA for their relatives. We did cut an album, but we never went on tour. What happened there was the guys wanted to go out and do the concerts and an album and wanted to sign up with Herb Cohen. I said 'Hey don't do that. I've already dealt with this guy.' But they said 'Well. you've already been there, you can't tell us what to do.' So they signed with Herbie and got stuck. I told them I couldn't live like that. playing free benefits all the time, so I quit the band. I don't know what happened after that. They never played anywhere and nothing ever came of it that I know of. (The band did actually cut a second album-Ed)

Q: In the early 1980s, you worked with the Grandmothers. Tell us something about that.

A: Actually. Jimmy Carl Black had had his band Geronimo Black, and Bunk and Buzz and various other old Mothers were in that. They had a keyboard player, Andy. I don't know who originally thought of it, but to me it was Andy's idea to start the Grandmothers, to get all the old Mothers together and do an album. They gave me a call and said 'Why don't you write a song or do something on the album?' I was married at the time and was just about to move up to Idaho to do some ranching, so I did a little song called 'Going to Idaho' and put it on the album. They did a concert at the Whisky-A-Go-Go, so I went down and did that. That was my little stint with the Grandmothers. I never really kept up with that. so I don't know what happened with it. I guess Jim Black and a few others were touring around with it but I didn't do any more with them, I just let that go.

Q: We hear you've been doing some snorks with Ant Bee. How do you go about that and how did they originate?

A: The snorks were actually Dick Barber's, our road manager. He came up with that stuff. It's just a nasal thing. You just sort of snort through your nose, sucking air in through your nose. Dick Barber did that for a while on the road. I don't remember exactly how that started, but Frank wanted us to make some sound effects for a couple of the albums, so we tried to do any bizarre thing possible. Dick came up with the snork. I just learned that from him. The technique for doing them is nothing major, just inhaling through your nose. Dick had asthma, and when he coughed, he had this real asthmatic cough, and when he inhaled through his nose, he made these bizarre snorks. (Demonstrates) I recently visited Frank and did an interview with the BBC. They were doing a Late Show Special on Zappa. They invited some of the ex-Mothers down. It was actually me and Ruth Underwood. They had a bunch of video stuff that I did on the tour that they added in plus a picture of the old school that I took. That aired on March 11. Later on, they're supposed to be doing a longer show. When I went down to see Frank, Johnny Guitar Watson was down. I hadn't seen him in years. Frank had always loved his guitar playing, and Frank and him are very good friends. I didn't even know that at the time.

Q: What about Johnny Guitar Watson? And how is Frank's health?

A: Johnny's not doing anything much at all. I think he's getting an album together that will be released later on this year. As for Frank, he's not doing too well. I guess the cancer problem he's having is moving up into his back and he's having a little bit of trouble getting around, but he's still doing OK. He's just a little bit slower at it.

Q: Other than the Mothers and Ruben, did you do any other recording?

A: Yes, I did some recording with the Omens. We did a couple of vocalist back-ups that were unknown singers. After the Mothers broke up, I went down and did a rock n roll concert for Long Beach State University in 1973. That's basically when I quit playing horn. But that's about all I've done, apart from the Mothers.

Q: Any closing remarks you want to send out to Mothers or Motorhead fans?

A: I just feel honored to have spent time with Frank and the other guys in the early group. As far as the fans go, I wish them well, and I really appreciate the support. I hope they love Frank as much as I do, because he's an incredible person, and his music is just something I enjoy listening to all the time. It's always new and different and incredible, and I sure hope our fans stick around for a long time. because we love you a lot. I guess I'll close on that. Wish everybody well. Bye bye.



random notes

Born: May 8th, 1942 (Arkansas City, Kansas)

     Manning Bartlett said:
I saw him on the 1993 interview/documentary on the (British) Late Show,
but it didn't really give any indication of what he was doing with himself.

Any answers?

      From: Patrick Neve
Was this the same interview used in the A&E biography?  

Yeah, wish I knew more about what Jim was up to these days.  He supplied a bit of information for The Lost Episodes booklet. Also, he appears on a couple of Ant Bee recordings (see discography).  Mr. Bee would probably have as good an idea as anyone as to what he's doing.

     From: ANT-BEE
     Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 
Jim Sherwood lives in Northern CA. He is a plumber now by trade and still an avid blues collector. He did do some snorks and interviews for me a couple years ago.

     From: Michael Pierry wrote:
Is Roy Estrada the only one that kept on good terms with FZ?  What about Ian
Underwood, Motorhead Sherwood, Billy Mundi, Buzz & Bunk Gardner, and Don Preston?

     From: Patrick Neve
Motorhead was on good enough terms to attend at least one "soiree".  I
just noticed him ever-so briefly in attendance in the A&E documentary. Actually all you can see is his sweater, but it's the exact same print he was wearing during his interview earlier in the program.

     From: FHemmer
Jimmy Carl Black says that Motorhead works for the California Highway Dept in San Jose.


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