Hell Lemmy Kilmister is dead. We all thought he was immortal despite or maybe because of his legendary booze and pharmacological intake, but he was so much more than a metal musician.
I think I first saw Motorhead back in 1976 supporting the Edgar Broughton Band at Camden Town’s Roundhouse theatre and if I wasn’t already in love with rock’n’roll, I was that night confirmed. I had the very great pleasure of interviewing the guy for a music fanzine in 1977, joining him for a breakfast of Special Brew at around 3pm on a Sunday afternoon. I’d met a few musicians by then, but Lemmy stood out amongst the pack. He was a thinker with radical anarchist views and a deep-rooted mistrust of people in authority . He was also very funny, charming and generous to us as a bunch of annoying teenage kids starting out in music journalism.
I think it was his ‘fuck you!’ attitude towards people who tried to tell him what to do, that I liked about him the most. Despite being mocked by the pretentious music press in the late 70s Motorhead refused to conform. It was no fashionable haircuts or pissing off to America for them and you know what, the punks loved them anyway because they had that ‘fuck you’ attitude. The rockers loved them too for keeping the spirit of heavy metal going against the prevailing media tide, and let’s face it without Lemmy’s unique bass style and Philthy’s double kick drum sound we just would not have bands like Metallica full stop. The great thing about Lemmy was that he loved rock’n’roll, he didn’t care what haircut it had or the colour of a person’s skin so long as it moved him.
He also did a bit of acting with cameos in horrors like Hardware (along with Iggy and the Neph’s Carl McCoy) and some pretty dreadful Troma productions as well as the odd comedy like Eat the Rich and The New Statesman.
And of course the band’s music got used in movies like Hellraiser III.
Over the years I must have seen Motorhead more than any other band in places ranging from pubs to the Empire Pool Wembley, I also saw Lemmy jam with loads of other bands including the Damned, Girlschool, Hawkwind, Dr and the Medics and Twisted Sister. We’d occasionally run into him playing the fruit machines at gigs or in Notting Hill’s pubs and he’d always say hello.
A clever, witty and brilliant man, musician, actor, philosopher, mentor he will be deeply mourned.