There I was this morning stumbling around the house on my first day back at work, when I checked the news and suddenly got to feel a whole lot worse – Lemmy passed away on Boxing day, aged 70. Despite the fact that I’m one of the very few rockers I know who never actually met the man, and everyone I know who did all tell how funny and courteous the man was, I feel like I’ve lost a real mate.
Like a lot of my generation I first encountered Motörhead on the kid’s TV show TISWAS and playing ‘Ace of Spades’ on an episode of The Young Ones, quite frankly they scared the bejeezus out of me. It wasn’t until years later when I hit 18 and a friend sold me a few of his brother’s records, totally unknown to his brother it later transpired, that I got in on the act and once it clicked with me, it stayed clicked. Years later again I got massively into what I dismissively thought as ‘that hippy band my parents liked’, Hawkwind and was genuinely surprised to read Lemmy’s name in the credits.
Motörhead became a firm favourite and still are, I’ve seen them a bunch of times and blown lots of my hard-earned chasing down a lot of their records. As well as their sheer excess, I love the way that their music, despite being real heavy metal is still noticeably grounded in the rock and hard blues that they mutated from – that Lemmy played in various bands all over the North West. I particularly liked the fact that Lemmy whenever he was interviewed, which was a lot, was always thoughtful, funny and erudite and all this after a life of near-legendary excess. I’d thoroughly recommend his biography, White Line Fever, if you haven’t read it already, it has all those qualities and the man’s essential humanity shines through it all.
I was pretty shocked to read that Lemmy had passed, I know his health had not been good for a while but I assumed that, along with Keith Richards he would survive the apocalypse and would end up touring, playing versions of ‘Ace of Spades’ and ‘Overkill’ to our insect overlords for centuries to come.
The afterlife house band just got much more worth seeing.
Finally, as is traditional, a clip. I’ve avoided the obvious and posted one of my faves of Motörhead and Girlschool together back in 1981, doing their cover of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates’ ‘Please Don’t Touch’ – man, it just looks like so much fun!! Also well worth watching for Philthy’s dancing, as well as for the coolest man in the room: