Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister
24.12.1945 – 28.12.2015
A huge part of growing up is buying your first Motorhead album. For me it was the compilation album “No Remorse”, which I wanted because it had “Ace of Spades” and “Killed By Death” on it. With that purchase, I took a step into a bigger world. Motorhead were a gang, not just a band – and with buying that record I was subscribing to a whole new way of life.
The first time I encountered the rabid monster that was Motorhead was when they performed the legendary “Ace of Spades” on the Young Ones episode “Bambi”. Lemmy was there front and centre, a living icon in mirror shades, mutton chop whiskers, and thunderous bass guitar; bellowing into a mic that was stretched to the ceiling.
Motorhead’s music was a raucous, fast burst of adrenaline and I played that album every Monday morning before school. It was the best way to get into the zone and face the start of the week. Total take no prisoners, take on the world music. Of course, real life wasn’t so harsh, but Motorhead made you feel like you could do anything.
Lemmy himself was always the uncompromising rock’n’roll figurehead. His gruff demeanour and his reputation for fast living only cemented his status. And Motorhead were always cool. When I developed a taste for punk rock, Motorhead were still cool. Lemmy and Motorhead straddled the otherwise impossible crevasse between punk and metal. He had roots going back to early rock’n’roll and the classics of the 60’s with the Beatles and Hendrix. Lemmy was part of rock’s DNA.
Over the years I collected their albums, bought the t-shirt and Lemmy’s autobiography, and saw them live. I even met the guy once. One day I’ll write up the story of that night, which I was always going to call “The Greatest Night Out of My Life”. Suffice to say that I met Lemmy in a strip club in Liverpool after a Motorhead gig, totally by chance. I hung out with him all night. He was extremely gracious and funny. He was tolerant of drunk fans because he knew how much the music meant to us.
As much a gentleman as a warrior, the world has lost a real original with the passing of Lemmy Kilmister. He was a pioneer, an innovator. We knew he’d go one day, but it’s still unbelievable. I’ll miss Motorhead. Raise a glass to the great man and yell:
“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling’s for fools, but that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t wanna live forever!”