Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Motorhead's Lemmy is dead...

I'm sure there are people out there who will remark, on learning today of Lemmy's death from an aggressive form of cancer, that he had it coming, bearing in mind his rock and roll lifestyle and the suggestion by the media that he drank a bottle of Jack Daniels every day. Well, perhaps he did, but either way he lived for three score years and 10 so he wasn't doing too badly for somebody who truly represented the world's rock gods.
Lemmy Kilmister, Motorhead's frontman

For me Lemmy first came to light as the front man of Hawkwind for the band's only top 10 hit, Silver Machine. What a song! What a track! It was a big hit back in the seventies, and it's still as potent today as it was back in the day.

When Lemmy was booted out of Hawkwind – you have to be rock 'n' roll to be booted out of Hawkwind – he set up Motorhead, probably the best example of metal music there is on the planet. You can't beat a band that looks like a group of vagabonds from a cross between a spaghetti western and an early Mad Max movie. They were, simply, the best, if you'll excuse the untimely Tina Turner/Mad Max reference. (Turner, in my opinion, put all the nails in the coffin of the Mad Max 'franchise'. The best ones, in my opinion, were the first two). In fact, why didn't they cast Lemmy in Mad Max? He would have been perfect, but then I guess it wasn't really his scene.

I find it rather funny that Lemmy – the man behind tracks such as Love Me Like a Reptile – was a keen reader of PG Wodehouse. This was revealed in a fantastic documentary by, I think, the BBC, who followed the great rocker on tour. Hopefully, bearing in mind Lemmy's recent demise, they might re-screen it on BBC Four.

Another great thing about Lemmy was the fact that he played bass. All the truly great rock musicians play bass: Sir Paul McCartney (well, he's not really a 'rock' musician, but you know what I mean); Sting from the Police, Burke Shelley from Budgie (yes, Budgie, a great metal (ish) bad with some great albums under their belts, including Never Turn Your Back on a Friend, which carried the excellent track Parents – their Stairway to Heaven moment – alongside encore classics like Breadfan, which a friend of a friend of mine used to think was Bread Van, and the equally excellent In the Grip of the Tyrefitter's Hand.

And listen, before anybody says that you can't include Sting in any kind of tribute to Lemmy, while I know where you're coming from, I was simply pointing out that some of the great front men from various major bands are bass players.

Ace of Spades is Lemmy's 'signature' tune. If he was a chef it would have been his signature dish. What an amazing song – although the word 'song' seems too tame a description. Brilliant lyrics and totally in tune with the sort of man Lemmy was – unpretentious and straight-to-the-point, like Motorhead.  In fact, Lemmy was also quite happy to send himself up, as he did brilliantly in many advertisements on television for big brands such as Kronenbourg and KitKat. In one advertisement for an insurance company, viewers were treated to the hard man of rock going backstage to call his insurance company and discuss the terms and conditions of his policy – most out of character for a whisky rock 'n' roller like Lemmy, but great fun to watch.

When I opened my email this morning I found a message from a good pal in the New Forest, David Mascord. Dave has uncovered 18 phrases of wisdom from Lemmy, all of which can be found simply by clicking here.

That said, here's four quotes from the 18 that seem a fitting way to end this brief but sincere tribute. Whether Motorhead can continue with a new frontman, I don't know, but I'd imagine that Lemmy is irreplaceable and sorely missed.

"As you go through life's rich tapestry, you realize that most people you meet aren't fit to shine your shoes. It's a sad fact, but it's true. A good friend is someone who'd hide you if you were on the run for murder. How many of them do you know?" - via The Independent

"I don't understand people who believe that if you ignore something, it'll go away. That's completely wrong — if it's ignored it gathers strength. Europe ignored Hitler for 20 years. As a result he slaughtered a quarter of the world!"via White Line Fever

"I don't think it's fair to be waving your dick around when people are minding their own business and might not want to see it."via White Line Fever

"If you didn't do anything that wasn't good for you it would be a very dull life. What are you gonna do? Everything that is pleasant in life is dangerous." via The Independent

Further reading...
• There's a very good obituary in the Guardian newspaperclick here.
• Lemmy: a life in quotes, also from the Guardian newspaper – click here.
BBC obituaryclick here. 
Interesting article I found on Lemmyclick here. 
Scott Ian from Anthrax remembers Lemmy – click here.
• Essential tracks – from Rolling Stone magazine – click here. 
• Lemmy's last days – from Rolling Stone magazine – click here.
• Short film on Lemmy ending with a joke told by Lemmy – click here.
• Motorhead is finished, says Mikkey Dee in the Guardian newspaper – click here.
• Journalist Gary Lippman remembers a day spent with Lemmy – click here. 
• This could be Lemmy's last interview – click here. 
• Hollywood memorial service for Lemmy – click here.

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