Fourth installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.
Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it. I know today is Thursday, but tomorrow is Good Friday, therefore I won’t be writing.
Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.
As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.
In the wild world of Rock And Roll, very few people can claim they epitomized the triad “Sex, Drugs and Rock And Roll” so well like Lemmy Kilmister.
From working as a roadie and sharing acids with Jimi Hendrix to being busted in the Canadian border for possession of Speed while touring with Hawkwind and sharing women with his son (!!!), you don’t get much more Rock And Roll than Mr.Kilmister.
He formed Motörhead when he was already 30 in 1975 and from then on, influenced almost all Thrash Metal bands (Metallica, Overkill, Megadeth, Slayer, Sepultura, you name it) and released seminal albums like Overkill, Bomber, Ace Of Spades, Iron Fist, Orgasmatron, 1916 and countless others.
However, for all this brutality, Lemmy has a softer side. He has a great ear for a melody (“Mama I’m Coming Home” one of Ozzy’s greatest hits is a Lemmy composition) and is a huge Beatles fan. He even likes to listen to them in Mono, “because that’s the way it was in the sixties”, he says. He had the unique opportunity of seeing them in the Cavern Club when he was still a teenager traveling from his native Stoke-On –Trent to Liverpool in search of Rock and Roll. About seeing The Beatles for the first time in the early sixties he said: “I knew I was seeing a revolution. There was nothing like them.” Yep, it seems to me that the guy knows his stuff.
Lemmy is also a specialist and a collector of WWII memorabilia and has a deep knowledge of 50’s Rock And Roll. Both his solo album and his HeadCat project (alongside drummer Slim Jim Phantom from Stray Cats) that delve into this kind of music are wonderful.
And for all his womanizing, every woman that you see talking about him is unanimous: “He’s a perfect gentleman and extremely respectful.”
I honestly lost count of how many times I had the opportunity of seeing Motörhead live, but I can clearly remember that they delivered every single one of them. Lemmy’s voice was powerful and raucous and the all the other instruments were louder than everything else.
Today, Lemmy’s health seems to be worsening everyday (Motörhead has canceled their current European tour twice by now), which is no surprise. Years of abuse are taking its toll. Me and some journalist friends of mine were covering Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany in 2002 (which Motörhead was not playing) and we met Rogério, the Brazilian Motörhead roadie. He was friends with some of my friends and he told us this: “Lemmy’s breakfast consists in Rufles and Jack Daniels”. Remember, Lemmy was already 57 by this time. It’s probably Rock And Roll, but it’s hardly healthy.
When asked in what way Lemmy inspired him, Metallica’s James Hetfield answered: “Vocal melodies, vocal phrasing, visual, posturing, basically everything”. I guess that’s sums up everything.
Gambling is for fools, but the Hall Of Fame is not. Welcome, Mr.Kilmister.
Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal”.
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