R.I.P. Lemmy Kilmister (1945-2015)

James / December 29th, 2015

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An era has passed, now that one of the originators of metal/ hard rock music is now gone. Lemmy Kilmister, the legendary frontman of Motörhead died yesterday, after keeping the band active for 40 years! He never stopped performing. Some bands retire, but Lemmy kept running the Motorhead engine until the wheels fell off. Certain members of the three-piece band came and went over the years. Like a vintage machine, parts were replaced, with Lemmy being the sole original member. He was the foundation. He was truly the man who was Motorhead, synonymous with the name, and with the whole genre surrounding it.

Whenever he was told how he changed the face of music, helped invent heavy metal, whatever, he just shrugged. To him, he was just playing music. “It’s just rock n’ roll” he would say. Even if it meant rock n’ roll at a thousand decibels. His approach to music was pure, without lavish production, classic blues inspired, but just loud as shit. There were many imitators, but nobody in the world sounded like Lemmy, with his steady bass rumble, and his gravelly voice like a British Megatron with a bad cold. Motorhead wasn’t for everybody. It was like drinking whiskey. It might be rough, but once you down enough of it, damn it’s good!

He lived his rock star life to the fullest, a woman chaser, a heavy drinker, doing things to his body that were lethal, while flipping the middle finger to the grim reaper until the very end. And in the process, walking around dressed like Captain Hook. To see more of what he’s like, I recommend the documentary Lemmy: 49% Motherfucker 51% Son of a Bitch.

During Motorhead’s final tour, it was well known that Lemmy was fighting illness, but he kept pushing himself through, show after show. There were many some cancellations, sometimes mid-song, but in relative comparison to all the shows he played, he was near invincible. When he had no choice but to stop, he would tell the crowd staight-out what was happening. Not a backstage roadie, or an anonymous voice on the loud speaker. Lemmy himself would come back out on stage and tell everybody.

My last time seeing Motorhead live was on September 22, 2015 (with Anthrax supporting) at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby PA, which he said was the first place he ever played in the USA, back in the 70’s. I had the feeling it would be the last time, so I had to get up close. When he appeared, he said his traditional quote “We are Motorhead. We play rock n’ roll.” the obvious, but classic line, a throwback to more humble innocent times when bands would usually introduce themselves at the start of the show, except here, you know what’s going to happen… that first chord hits, sending a shockwave to your feet. You feel it go up your body, into your head, pulverizing your brain, like standing on a runway while a plane is taking off! (I never tried it, but still.) The crowd goes nuts. A high heel boot kicks me in the side of the head. I turn, just in time to catch a crowd surfer from falling, as I help lift her up. We send her sailing toward the stage. That’s when you know, you’re at a Motorhead show. Even though the volume was deafening, Lemmy grumbles “it’s not fucking loud enough. Turn it up.” The roadies attach a bottle of water to his mic stand to keep him hydrated. His bandmate Phil Campbell reminds him to drink it. He replies “Fucking water. I hate it.”

I’m not one who stands there looking through his phone the whole concert, but sometimes it’s good to have some memories captured, isn’t it? Here’s some pics.

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My Top 10 Favorite Motorhead songs

10. Killed by Death (No Remorse, 1984)

9. Born to Raise Hell (Single, 1994)

8. Deaf Forever (Orgasmatron, 1986)

7. In the Name of Tragedy (Inferno, 2004)

6. Ace of Spades (Ace of Spades, 1980)

5. Iron Fist (Iron Fist, 1982)

4. Overkill (Overkill, 1979)

3. Damage Case (Overkill, 1979)

2. We Are the Roadcrew (Ace of Spades, 1980)

1. The Chase is Better Than the Catch (Ace of Spades, 1980)

With a large catalogue of music, I’m still discovering more. It’s a large consumption, so my favorites can change over time. At the moment, these are the top tracks that stick out to me. Tons of others almost made the list. Anyone’s Top 10 is bound to be different. There’s not much you can do wrong.

 

Comments

  • lartrak

    December 29, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    I’m not actually a giant Motorhead fan, but I’ve always respected Lemmy’s dedication and craft. For his death, I think his actually quite moving (though it isn’t Motorhead) version of Stand By Me is perfect.

    YouTube Link

  • jerry lowe

    December 29, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    I didn’t listen to Motörhead until I heard WWE Triple H come out on stage with his new song
    Motörhead playing “The Game”!!!
    OMG it was so badass!!
    I went and bought Motörhead CDs after that night 🙂

  • Pablo1989

    December 29, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Edgar Froese from Tangerine Dream dead and band disanded
    Now same happens to Motorhead 🙁

    Time ticking and you dont know how many legends dies.

  • December 29, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Well said, James. Rock In Peace, Lemmy! \m/

  • GorgeousBones

    December 29, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    I’m trying not to feel bad about Lemmy’s death because he lived such a full life, but I’ve been down all day honestly and can’t help it. Motörhead are my favorite band and at least I was lucky enough to see them live some years ago. I actually asked to to do a podcast on them back when you were releasing them but you stopped doing them, which is a shame.

    I had a cold one this morning as I heard the news, before going to work. I’ve never done it before, but I felt like I owed it to the man whose voice I’ve listened to for so many days of my life (and will continue to for as long as I can hear). Thanks for everything Lemmy.

  • December 29, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    RIP

  • Seimann

    December 29, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Nice one James! RIP LEMMY!! MOTÖRHEAD KICKS ASS!! \m/

  • December 29, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Well said James.The man was the embodiment of rock and roll!A legend in the truest sense of the word.Rest in peace? Fuck that. Rest in ear-wrenching, tooth-rattling, speaker-bursting glory, Lemmy. We will never forget you.

  • zeromentality

    December 29, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    i lost so much respect for my dad when i learned he and lemmy were the same age. rip to a true rager.

  • Satnav

    December 29, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    But that’s the way I like it baby,
    I don’t wanna live for ever…

    Glad I managed to catch Lemmy live last year, even if his age was audibly catching up to him. I still respect him for rockin’ to the end, not giving a fuck, and living the metal life loud and proud. RIP.

  • The Wicker Man

    December 29, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    A fitting tribute, James. I posted this on my Facebook:
    RIP Lemmy.
    I saw Motorhead once at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall (England). Myself and a friend had drank copious amounts of alcoholic beverages during the day, and while we were suitably buzzed by the time the concert started, Lemmy would’ve likely called us a bunch of shandy pants. During the concert there were people openly smoking weed (and this was during the modern era of cigarettes being banned indoors) and plastic cups of beer being launched through the air (I saw it as being wasteful).
    The Civic Hall also either didn’t have air-con, or it wasn’t turned on, so it was swelteringly hot in there at the time, so hot I was ready to go outside to cool down towards the end of the set as I couldn’t stand it any longer. “We’re going to play one more song” they said, so I decided to stay. Two songs later I was still suffering from Sweaty Bollocks Syndrome and I decided that I simply had to leave… but then Ace of Spades began. “Fuck it”, I said to my friend, “There’s no way i’m going to miss this!”. Motorhead then proceeded to belt out their most famous anthem, which they must’ve played thousands of times, with incredible enthusiasm that bands half their age could only dream of.
    I couldn’t be happier that I remained in there, despite the fact that outside the Hall I could literally wring sweat and beer out of my t-shirt. Thanks for the memories, Lemmy, you wonderful bastard. We’ve lost one of the very few remaining true rock stars.

  • December 29, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Well said James. The man the legend will be missed R.I.P Lemmy 🙁

  • nostalgiavhs

    December 30, 2015 at 8:46 am

    That was an excellent tribute, James. Lemmy was a one of a kind figure int he world of music, and his presence will be sorely missed. I also was lucky enough to have seen Motorhead live and met Lemmy and the band at Virgin megastore Times Square in 2008 (also saw them at Metal Masters that year). Great top 10 list, too. Chase is Better Than the Catch is a great choice for no. 1!

  • December 30, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    It’s a real shame Motorhead is no more, and an even bigger shame that Lemmy is now dead. Much in the way that Nirvana went, this too is a shock to my system. How sad it is that Lemmy learned he had cancer the day after Christmas, and then to die two days later? What a bitch life can be! Long live Motorhead! Here’s my top 10 list of Motorhead songs.

    10. Hellraiser (March ör Die, 1992)
    09. Louie, Louie (Non-album single, 1978)
    08. Iron Fist (Iron Fist, 1982)
    07. God Save The Queen (We Are Motörhead, 2000)
    06. Eat The Rich (Rock N’ Roll, 1987)
    05. I Got Mine (Another Perfect Day, 1983)
    04. Bomber (Bomber, 1979)
    03. Thunder & Lightning & Electricity (Bad Magic, 2015)
    02. Overkill (Overkill, 1979)
    01. Ace Of Spades (Ace Of Spades, 1980)

  • TheFreakMachine

    December 30, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Rock the Hell out Lemmy!

    My three Motorhead favorites:

    3) Iron Horse
    2) (don’t need) Religion
    1) Motorhead

  • greedo

    December 30, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Was never a Motorhead fan, but I always liked Lemmy. May he RIP.

  • Ajpieman

    December 30, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    I was at this show.

  • Joe Smith

    January 3, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    “No Voices in the Sky”. Greatest Motorhead song ever. I saw them in 1992 on a tour called Operation Rock N’ Roll in Pittsburgh at the Star Lake Ampitheatre. Alice Cooper and Judas Priest were there too. And a band called Dangerous Toys got booed off stage. I’m the same age as James I think I was 10 at the time.

  • January 10, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Weird that you, of all people, didn’t mention the fact tat Lemmy was a HUGE gamer.

  • January 16, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Please write something about David Bowie too! Can you review Jump: the David Bowie Interactive as AVGN? Bowie would be pleased because he HATED it! Best game to feature Bowie would be Omikron! Prince Interactive was better also!

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