He had acquired the nickname Würzel in the Army because his Scarecrow like hair made him look like a British children’s fictional character Worzel Gummidge. Motörhead leader Lemmy Kilmister is rumored to have had the idea to add the umlaut to the ‘U’ to make it more metal.
Würzel also performed with the bands Bastard and Warfare, and most recently with Leader of Down. His fans remember him most from his tenure with Motörhead, during which the band had released songs such as “Orgasmatron,” “Sacrifice,” and “Going to Brazil.”
The band has issued an official statement regarding Würzel’s passing.
“We are greatly saddened to confirm that our long-time friend and comrade Würzel died Saturday at his home. Würz was pouring a Guinness and cracking a joke when he succumbed to a heart attack; at least we know he went with a smile.
“It is a cliché to say that words cannot describe how we feel, and in this case, other than ones such as ‘shit’ and ‘awful’ and ‘very, very sad,’ it is true, they really can’t. We all shared many many great times together, and what he did for MOTÖRHEAD is quite simply indelible.
“As our good friend Steve ‘Krusher’ Joule said, ‘RIP, dear Würzel, a rocker and a gentleman.'”
MOTÖRHEAD frontman Lemmy Kilmister added: “Wurzel was my friend and my brother and he’s never going to laugh with me again or bitch me out or do….anything. And that truly and cosmically SUCKS.
“RIP Wurz. Godspeed. Good man.”
Drummer Mikkey Dee spoke of Würzel in an interview following the news, stating that the former guitarist was “more rock and roll than all of us put together”. During their set at the UK Sonisphere Festival, Lemmy reportedly announced to the crowd, “We’d like to dedicate this set and our lives to Würzel”.
RIP Michael “Würzel” Burston
23 October 1949 – 9 July 2011