I’m pretty sure jokey Christmas sweaters produced in the last several years must by now outnumber the entire total of sincere (if ghastly) ones made since the invention of those oddly specific garments, but once in a while, it’s still possible for one to pop up and make me say “OH, SHIT, I WANT ONE!” It’s been a good two years since that happened (that was when Einstürzende Neubauten produced one, and that was really just a t-shirt), but I just stumbled across one that’s got me wondering if I can maybe cross a couple of giftees off of this year’s nice list so I can afford one for myself—a Motörhead Warpig Christmas sweater. An unofficial one was produced a few years back but promptly got yanked—at the time my DM colleague Martin Schneider called on the band to produce an official one, and it looks like his Christmas wish was granted.
The Warpig logo, sometimes spelled “War-Pig,” and also variously known as “Snaggletooth” and “The Iron Boar,” has graced all but two of Motörhead’s album covers and been on countless t-shirts, and has also inspired rings, pendants, bottle openers, and even a rubber mask by the celebrated Rick “SikRik” Fisher, also known for his line of DEVO Booji Boy masks. It was designed by Joe Pentagno, an erstwhile Hipgnosis associate who was previously best known for the Icarus logo he designed for Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song imprint. Shortly after Lemmy Kilmister’s death, Pentagno discussed the origin of the logo with Team Rock:
[Lemmy] wasn’t clear on exactly what he wanted, something like a knight or a rusty robot as I remember, a biker patch that could be displayed on the back of a denim vest.
On the way home I stopped off at the library in Chelmsford. Taking my cue from outlaw biker patches, I was looking for skulls and bones when I inadvertently came across a book of animal skulls, then it hit me; an animal skull would work better than a human skull. When I got home and began sketching, I thought; why not invent a new skull, a hybrid? I started playing around with mix and match sketches dog – lion, wolf and so on. In the end I settled on a dog or wolf and gorilla cranium and gave it over-sized wild boar teeth. I hung a chain from the horns left to right under it and a small human skull to designate size, adorned it with an iron cross as a sign of bravery and then topped it off with a few spikes.
When it was finished, I knew I had created something unique and timeless in Snaggletooth. It was the ultimate anti-everything symbol. I look at it this way, there’s is an inherent urge in most individuals to shout and be heard above the din and frenzy of life, and Snaggletooth is a great symbol for standing firm, resisting, rejecting, refusing and rebelling against anything and everything that is detrimental to one’s individuality.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Satanic Christmas sweaters let you flip the bird (or the goat horns) at the holidays
Fuck Motörhead: Seriously, you can sort of do that, there are Motörhead vibrators now
Ask Lemmy: Straight talk from metal’s ace life coach
Motörhead’s Orgasmatron War Pig: The ultimate stocking ... stuffer