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.

Hawkwind Doremi Fasol 08 (2)

Please note Lego facial warts.
Please note Lego facial warts.

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:

R.I.P .


41 thoughts on “Lemmy: R.I.P

  1. My first memories of Lemmy were seeing him playing with Hawkwind, Top Rank in Reading I believe, in the early/mid 70s. They produced such an adorable racket that he was playing for a few minutes before realising that his bass lead had come out of the amp! Some years later I had the joy of seeing Motorhead play in a few different London venues; Lemmy seemed to enjoy the music scene and could be found at various gigs. In particular I remember seeing him upstairs at the Music Machine in Camden Town, playing pinball, with a couple of tartily dressed women in tow. He gave off quite an aura, I certainly didn’t have the confidence to engage him in conversation!

    1. WOW!! can’t believe you saw him with Hawkwind – I’d kill for that privilege. A guy I know at work’s brother’s first ever gig was one of the Liverpool ones they recorded for ‘Space Ritual’ – aged 14. What a start in life!

  2. I never met Lemmy, I missed him by minutes a few times, “you’ll never guess who just left” was usually how that began. Today my friend Andy who did meet Lemmy many times as he was in a 4th division metal band in the 80’s emailed me with, “you’ll never guess who you just missed”

    1. My uncle did, another mate sorted some electrics out for him in London, a guy I work with met him outside one of his own gigs and the wife of a guy I worked for as a teenager met him backstage at a Sisters of Mercy gig! I feel left out.

  3. ” 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.”

    That’s funny because I’m the same — never met him, know people who have.

    Lemmy told off a buddy of mine. It was almost 30 years ago – 4 January 1986. This guy I know was in a club and they were playing all Thin Lizzy for some reason. He started bitching about the music when suddenly Lemmy appeared. “That fucker Phil Lynott died today so you’re gonna shut up!”

    1. Wow – that’s a great story Mike. I know at least 5 people who’ve met him at various times and places. One of the guys I work with met him outside one of his own gigs aged 15 (my friend, Lemmy has never been 15!). He took one look at all his Rainbow patches and told him to take them off (‘they’re shit’) and replace them with Motörhead ones, then gave him a pull on his whisky!

      1. Wish I coulda had a couple pints at lunch. I’ll pretend one was for Lemmy and one was for me!

        I think I’d like it in your neck of the woods. For one, pints at lunch. Two, no Trump fans. And three, LONG LIVE LEMMY!!

      2. There are 4 pubs in easy distance from my office (and a posh bar), 2 of which do incredible beers, a real selection of them from all around the world – specializing in nice IPAs. (sighs)

  4. James texted me the news last night. Good thing I already had a drink in hand.

    I am 3/4 through reading White Line Fever (it was a gift from Mike when we went to Taranna in November), so how’s that for timing.

    RIP Lemmy.

  5. Just gave White Line Fever to Aaron who is currently reading it!

    A nice tribute. Wish I could say this was shocking. The only shocking thing is that it’s really for real this time.

  6. I also believed that Lemmy would somehow outlast all of us. Your comments are spot-on, he seemed to joyfully wallow in excess while coming across as a down-to-earth, pretense-less good guy. I find myself imagining him continuing to grab life by the balls even in death. I mean, not even death can stop Lemmy from living, right?

  7. I was also somewhat surprised by this news this morning. I always found that I was drawn to Lemmy more than the music (I knew of Lemmy’s awesomeness even when I was only familiar with Ace of Spades). He just had so much attitude, character and charisma. A one of a kind.

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