At the end of December the world lost rock legend, Lemmy Kilmister. Lemmy’s memorial service will be live streamed in just under 45 minutes over on Motorhead’s youtube channel. While these occasions are usually sad, this time around it’s hard to feel sorrowful. Afterall, Lemmy lived his life to the absolute full doing what he wanted while remaining genuine and – according to all who knew him – kind, making him an inspiration to many of the proceeding generations of rock stars. He was involved in tons of projects and collaborations during his 70 years on the planet and was a huge part of rock music as we know it today. So to celebrate the life of Lemmy I want to share a few of my favourite things about the granddad of rock.
Lemmy played in a band with Dave Grohl
I’m sure I’ve declared my love for the Foo Fighters more than once here. Well Lemmy was a huge influence on Dave Grohl in his youth and the pair became good friends. Back in 2000 Dave Grohl asked Lemmy – along with a bunch of other rock stars – to join him on a side project he called Probot. Lemmy sang and played bass on my favourite track from the album, Shake Your Blood.
In 2006 Lemmy joined the Foo Fighters on stage at Hyde Park to perform Shake Your Blood live and loud. In this footage a 60 year old Lemmy dressed head to toe in black embodies rock and roll.
Lemmy performed the Triple H WWE theme songs
So you already know I’m Foo-crazy, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned my teenage obsession with WWE (back then called WWF) wrestling. I’m not sure how many of my readers watch WWE, but in the show each wrestler has their own entrance music that’s played when they enter the ring. Motorhead was brought in to record his theme song ‘The Game’. Not their best moment musically imo, but the sound of Motorhead was made for this kind of thing! They went on to record Triple H’s future theme songs and became close friends.
Lemmy lived in Liverpool and loved The Beatles
Lemmy spent some of his teenage years in Liverpool and was jammy enough to see the Beatles perform at the infamous Cavern Club in their early days. In interviews he has said that The Beatles made him feel like he could change the world and spoke highly of the band in his autobiography ‘White line Fever’. As a scouse Beatle fan this warms my cockles.
“They were from Liverpool, which is like Hamburg or Norfolk, Virginia–a hard, sea-farin’ town, all these dockers and sailors around all the time who would beat the piss out of you if you so much as winked at them. Ringo’s from the Dingle, which is like the f***ing Bronx.
“The Rolling Stones were the mummy’s boys–they were all college students from the outskirts of London. They went to starve in London, but it was by choice, to give themselves some sort of aura of disrespectability. I did like the Stones, but they were never anywhere near the Beatles–not for humour, not for originality, not for songs, not for presentation.
“All they had was Mick Jagger dancing about. Fair enough, the Stones made great records, but they were always s**t on stage, whereas the Beatles were the gear.”
Lemmy rocked from the beginning to the end
He witnessed the birth of rock and roll, he was roadie to Jimi Hendrix, influenced hundreds of bands and even helped out with their careers, and he toured with Motorhead until the very end. In his final interview Lemmy talks about the Bataclan terrorist attacks – the venue Motorhead was scheduled to play 2 nights after – and having no fear of death.
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Title image by Goran Beg.