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Lemmy: 10 interesting facts from the life of a musician

We have collected ten interesting stories about the leader of Motorhead for you...

10 Exciting Stories From Lemmy's Life!

This British bass player and vocalist has forever entered the history of world music as one of the most recognizable, mysterious and iconic rock personalities. In the minds of millions of listeners from all over the world, his vivid stage images, rough penetrating vocals and unusual, sometimes very entertaining cases that the legendary genius encountered in his career and life paths, were vividly imprinted with a bright stamp.

In December 2015, the indomitable rock and roll genius was gone. The reason for this was not only the considerable age of the musician (Lemmy died on his seventieth birthday), but also the consequences of all kinds of stress: physical, musical, chemical ... However, the immortal hero of the performer continues to live in those colorful stories that Lemmy shared in his countless interviews, and also in the highly entertaining and amusing autobiography White Line Fever. Today, we decided to recall the most interesting of these stories and share them with you.

"Coming into the World"

Lemmy Kilmister Bassist, vocalist, longtime leader of Motorhead.
Lemmy Kilmister Bassist, vocalist, longtime leader of Motorhead.

If you believe the words of the cult genius, then his appearance in this mortal world took place as follows:

“At birth, which fell on Christmas Eve 1945, my name was Ian Fraser Kilmister. I came into this world a month and a half ahead of schedule. I had wonderful golden curls that, to the delight of my crazy mother, fell off after five days. I was all scarlet, without any hint of eyebrows or nails. The very first memory that lodged in my mind was that I was torn from screaming. Why I was crying so wildly, I don't remember. Maybe it was a tantrum, or maybe I was just rehearsing.”

Nickname history

Lemmy Kilmister
Lemmy Kilmister

When the one we all know today as the legendary "Lemmy" was ten years old, the boy moved to North Wales with his family. It was there, within the walls of one of the local schools, that the nickname, famous all over the world today, was born. Where it came from - even Lemmy himself could not explain. However, the rock genius assumed that it became attached to him due to the fact that, as a schoolboy, he was not averse to “shooting” a trifle from everyone: “Lemme a quid!” ("Borrow a pound!").

Guitar - as a sure means in the fight for the lady's heart!

Lemmy Kilmister. Photo: Mike Hutcon
Lemmy Kilmister. Photo: Mike Hutcon

Lemmy first took up the guitar as a school student. Love for music, of course, played by no means the last role in this decision, however, as the guitarist himself later admitted, beautiful girls largely contributed to this! Once one of Lemmy's classmates brought a guitar to class. In truth, the guitarist from him was the same. However, he was immediately surrounded by all the girls in the class, and not only! “And this is a cool topic!” - decided the young icon of rock. Soon Lemmy came to class, as they say, not empty-handed. The guy brought with him an old ukulele that hung on the wall at his house as a kind of decoration. His playing at that time was also far from ideal (well, or at least from the classical norm), but the instrument worked! Lemmy immediately became an enviable gentleman for any girl! Here is how the musician later commented on this: “The guitar is the only thing in my life that has ever worked so effectively and instantly. This is the most effective weapon in the fight for the heart of any beauty!

Meet the wonderful…

Rocking Vickers with Lemmy (right). Photo: BBC
Rocking Vickers with Lemmy (right). Photo: BBC

Lemmy earned his first musical experience as a member of the rhythm and blues band Rocking Vickers. The producer of the guys was the famous Shel Talmi, the same one who worked with The Who and The Kinks. The Rocking Vickers didn't have a single hit in their treasury, but listeners in northern England perceived the band with vehement delight. This was especially true for the beautiful half of the public. Sometimes fans dragged their adored idols right off the stage, and in the literal sense of the word! It was at one of these performances that Lemmy first experienced what it felt like to have your jeans ripped off… Lemmy:

“Have you ever had your jeans ripped off? Just so hard that you feel the seams cracking against the inside of your leg? It's not the most pleasant feeling, trust me."

But tearing off jeans can be tolerated. But the vocalist of the band - Harry - had a chance to experience something much more unpleasant ... Once, before the start of the performance, he joyfully "fluttered" onto the stage to greet the audience. At that very moment, the fans pulled on the cord lying on the floor ... It is clear that poor Harry, flying at full speed towards the microphone, did not have time to notice this and caught on. The flight was beautiful ... As the vocalist later recalled, falling off the stage into a huge crowd of screaming beauties, he felt pleasant joy from the approaching meeting with numerous young fans ... However, according to Lemmy's recollections, when they saw the vocalist diving at them, the fans parted culturally to the sides, “like Red the sea before Moses," thus giving Harry a good view of the approaching parquet floors. As a result, the vocalist received a serious nose fracture in several places, as well as a finger that was presented to him by crazy female fans who were trying to remove his ring ...

Favorite rock idols

Lemmy Kilmister, 1982.
Lemmy Kilmister, 1982.

In the mid-sixties, Lemmy often attended concerts of his favorite bands in London. The guitarist's favorite rock band was the early Beatles. Lemmy was even once lucky enough to watch a concert of his idols in Liverpool with his own eyes. Later, he recounted:

“The Beatles were pretty tough guys. Yes, Brian Epstein certainly trained them well for mass consumption, in any case they did not look like typical jerks. They were from Liverpool and that says it all. It's like people from Hamburg or Norfolk who will kick the hell out of you if you blink in their direction the wrong way.

In addition to the Beatles, Lemmy admired the Rolling Stones, although he often called them mama's sons: “They were basically snotty art college students from the London suburbs. Yes, I really liked the Stones, but they and the Beatles are like heaven and earth. They didn’t even stand next to these Liverpool guys, and neither in creativity, nor in their manner on stage, nor in their sense of humor. Their only feature was the dancing Jagger, and in general, that's it. Yes, they recorded amazing things, but as soon as they went on stage, it was complete ... But the Beatles were always exactly what was needed. Always on the top".

Blatant lie!

Lemmy Kilmister
Lemmy Kilmister

In the early seventies, Lemmy joined the band Hawkwind as a bassist, however, the musician had never dealt with bass before. It's interesting, but he gave birth to his unique style thanks to the successful fusion of the bass with the old tricks of the rhythm guitarist ... And what's even more interesting, the band released its main hit “Silver Machine” thanks to Lemmy. It was a live recording that happened in a very, very strange way: on that significant evening for Hawkwind, Lemmy was in a terrible state. The musician could hardly stand on his feet, and he even had to be almost forcibly leaned against the amplifiers. As the guitarist himself later commented: “All this is a blatant lie!” If you believe his words, he simply experienced some difficulties with movement and did not see the action taking place around him. This forced the technician to independently raise the unfortunate bass player to his feet and put the bass on him. Lemmy only asked which way the audience was and what was the distance to the edge of the stage. Having received all the necessary information, the musician played the show with dignity, carefully measuring each of his steps.

But who really was out of shape that evening was Bob Calvert. The sound of the vocalist was so terrible that later they had to re-record the vocal parts, only in the studio. All members of Hawkwind contributed to the live recording, but only one of them, Lemmy, came out brilliantly!

crazy inspiration

Lenny in 1977. Photo: Fin Costello
Lemmy in 1977. Photo: Fin Costello

It just so happened, but the last song written by Lemmy for Hawkwind was called "Motorhead" ("Biker"), which is very symbolic for the author himself. The musician composed it while staying at the Hyatt, a Los Angeles hotel on Sunset Boulevard. Just along with Hawkwind, Wizzard, a fairly popular glam rock band at that time, stayed at the same hotel. And then one morning, to be precise - at 7:30, a wave of incredible inspiration washed over Lemmy ... Then, the leader of Wizzard - Roy Wood - kindly lent his rock colleague his acoustic instrument, moving with which to the balcony of the hotel, Lemmy began to yell what was the power of the song that had just been born in his head!

The guitarist later recalled how the police on the street watched him with particular suspicion:

“...They stopped their cars, got out of them and watched me intently, or rather, my inspired solo. Then they shook their heads, something like “Well, well…” jumped back into their cars and drove away. It seemed to me that they thought it was a hallucination ... ".

Lemmy was soon expelled from Hawkwind for attempting to bring illegal substances across the Canadian border, which became a serious set-up for the entire band. When the bassist decided to form his own band, he didn't have to think about a name...

Master and apprentice

Lemmy. Photo: Heath Davis.
Lemmy. Photo: Heath Davis.

Yes, Lemmy did teach Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols how to play bass. Although, taught - it's loudly said. Rather, he tried to do it. However, a few days later he said to his untrained student:

"Sid, you and the bass are two things that can't be compared to each other." “I know,” Vicious replied.

Travel in Russia

In 1997, Lemmy and his Motorhead gang visited Russia for the first time. As the leader himself later said, he was unusually impressed by the warm reception of the public, but the organization of the performances left much to be desired... One late evening, the band, together with technicians and concert equipment, had to fly from the capital to Rostov-on-Don. They drove for a long time along a deserted dark road, when suddenly guard boxes, a tall blank fence began to be seen ... The musicians immediately realized that they had been brought to a military airfield. the flight had to be canceled before the arrival of the general, who, having arrived in a company car, took (as it seemed to Lemmy) his fee and left on his own. Finally the team was allowed to fly.

Drummer Phil Taylor was the first to inspect the plane. After spending about twenty minutes carefully examining the aircraft, Taylor returned to his comrades and declared: “I won’t fly on this!” To this, Lemmy said to him with a sneer, “Don’t drift!” and left the car to conduct his own inspection. Soon the guitarist returned and said, as if cutting off: “I won’t fly on this!” According to him, the plane waiting for them was a prehistoric twin-engine trough, completely gutted from the inside, completely leaky and open to all the elements to meet. The passenger compartment was located at the rear of the cargo compartment and was equipped with a garden set. Without thinking twice, the Motorhead members abandoned the "tempting" flight, sending a team of technicians instead. Later, Lemmy commented on this:

“Well, we decided that they would have something to talk about. They can't go a day without whining about their troubles!"

Rock and roll blood

Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead Toronto 1987 (Smoking is bad for your health!)
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead Toronto 1987 (Smoking is bad for your health!)

It's no secret that Lemmy has never been a supporter of a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, he was always not averse to some interesting chemistry or good alcohol. But in the eighties, the guitarist thought about it and decided that it would be nice to have a blood replacement operation - the same one that Keith Richards once did (curiously, the British guitarist himself stubbornly denied this fact). According to the rock musician, as soon as pure fresh blood fills his veins, he will no longer need to go through the hellish torment that abounds in a drug clinic.

Lemmy passed all the necessary tests and went to the doctor, but faced disappointment:

“Unfortunately, there is no human fluid left in your veins. Pure blood will kill you in vain, ”the doctor concluded, also adding that Lemmy would definitely not be able to become a donor, because his blood would kill an ordinary person.

But all this did not upset Lemmy at all! Later he said:

“It's very interesting: what is perfect for me is deadly for other people, and what is perfect for others is deadly for me. This fact suits me well. Perhaps I have already entered into some medical dissertation. I'll leave my body for all sorts of experiments! I think it's really funny."

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