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Lemmy Kilmister: biography of the rock musician

"...I've never met such rock 'n' roll geniuses before! To hell with Elvis and Keith Richards! Lemmy is the true king of rock 'n' roll! He's a true legend..."

The full story of Motörhead's leader, Lemmy Kilmister....

Lemmy Kilmister, better known as simply Lemmy, is a British rock musician and legend of the heavy metal band Motörhead. He has achieved worldwide success with his personality, looks, easily recognisable image, and gruff, husky vocals! He was once declared "one of the most recognisable voices in rock"! And his unique style of performing... It has charmed more than one generation of listeners! Lemmy managed to develop his own style of bass playing, using a Rickenbacker bass, which allowed him to create a "suppressed, distorted rhythmic rumble"....

Kilmister continued to play music until his death... Prostate cancer was diagnosed just days before the tragedy... For many years, the heavy metal star was known for his hard, rebellious lifestyle: if one legend is to be believed, a doctor once told Lemmy that his "blood is so bad that a normal man would die after a transfusion...".

Early years

Lemmy Kilmister
Lemmy Kilmister

According to Lemmy himself, during his school years he listened to Beatles records, which actually inspired him to become a musician!

Before he became a heavy metal legend, Kilmister worked with several rock bands, as well as being a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and The Nice! He was a member of Hawkwind, and it is his vocals that are heard on the hit "Silver Machine"! After his dismissal Lemmy continued his ascent... So, in the mid 70's the world learnt about Motörhead, whose main works were the hit single "Ace of Spades" and the album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith - a live recording that became a top chart topper....

Ian Fraser Kilmister was born in 1945, in Stoke-on-Trent. His parents had divorced and little Lemmy grew up with his mother and grandmother. When he was 10 years old, his mother married George L. Willis: so, Lemmy had a half-brother and sister - Willis's children, whom Kilmister terribly disliked ... By the way: his nickname "Lemmy" (lend me) received for the fact that, as his school friends claimed, he constantly borrowed money from them to play slot machines ...

Eddie Clarke, Phil Taylor and Lemmy Kilmister.
Eddie Clarke, Phil Taylor and Lemmy Kilmister.

Already at school Lemmy began to feel passionate about music... Largely because of the girls who adored those who could play the guitar... His mother had a guitar which he carried with him to school: Lemmy could not play it, but there was really no shortage of girls! Later he learnt a six-string instrument, admiring the Beatles' work (in particular the album Please Please Me)... In his interviews Lemmy repeatedly referred to The Rolling Stones as "girls", while the Beatles were, in his opinion, a "machine"... He particularly admired John Lennon's character and outlook.

First steps towards fame and success with Motörhead!

motörhead
motörhead

For many, heavy metal was epitomised by just one man - the unforgettable Motörhead bassist and screamer Lemmy! Before that, however, Lemmy had worked with a couple of other bands... With the British invasion in the early 60s, young Kilmister became interested in music, playing in such long-forgotten blues rock bands as the Rainmakers, Rockin' Vickers and Opal Butterfly. After the legendary American guitarist acted as Jimi Hendrix's own guitar roadie on an early British tour, Kilmister joined the rock band Hawkwind in 1971, where he played bass guitar and occasionally sang (Kilmister's best-known track is the hit "Silver Machine"). But in early 1975, Kilmister had to leave the band after he was arrested at the Canadian border for possession of illegal substances...

Fortunately, Lemmy was not the kind of person who was used to being discouraged. He immediately set about forming his next band, which became much louder, heavier and more aggressive than his previous bands... Named Motörhead (British slang for speed fanatic), the band changed several members before settling on a classic trio: Lemmy on bass/vocals, Phil Taylor on drums and Eddie Clarke on guitar.

While the band's look was classic heavy metal (long unwashed hair, denim, leather, etc.), their energetic music was more in line with the fleeting sounds of punk rock. 1977 saw the release of the trio's eponymous debut, and with such classic releases as "Overkill", "Bomber", "Ace of Spades", and the album "No Sleep 'til Hammersmith". So, over the next few years, Motörhead became one of the most famous and influential metal bands in the world!

Although Motörhead's commercial success had many peaks as well as dips since their "golden era" of the late 70s and early 80s, as well as the coming and going of many members (with Lemmy being the only constant figure), their fan base remained intact... Listeners were particularly impressed by Lemmy's throaty vocals, which were truly unique to rock of those years....

By the way: it was actively copied during the heyday of punk rock. As a result, Motörhead became idols for punk listeners too. As Kilmister himself said, he always felt much more similarity with punks than with metal bands....

Personal Life...

Lemmy Kilmister
Lemmy Kilmister

Kilmister had been with many, many women in his life... According to him, at least a thousand! However, he never had a serious relationship - a long and responsible one - with anyone. At the age of 17 he started dating a girl Kathy, who gave birth to his son Sean, who was put up for adoption... The musician told about it in the film "Lemmy", adding that "he didn't have the guts to tell him who his father was...".

Lemmy Kilmister, his son Paul.
Lemmy Kilmister, his son Paul.

Lemmy later had an affair with a Tracy, who gave birth to his son Paul. Paul followed in his father's footsteps and became a guitarist: sometimes he joined Lemmy on stage.

It's no secret that Lemmy led a truly rebellious, rock'n'roll lifestyle! According to rumours, since he was 30 years old he discovered a new tradition: to drink a bottle of Jack Daniel's every day! However, in 2013 he had to give up this drink... Also, Lemmy was known for his addiction, which did not subside for many, many years... Kilmister became addicted to illegal drugs during the Hawkwind era. They were also the reason he was fired from the band...

"Why is this so important to me? It keeps me awake when I need to be awake! For example - during a 9-hour journey in the back of a sweaty lorry, after which I have to go on stage and be fresh, bright..."

https://youtu.be/jc5rAoR1xRs

Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, who worked with Lemmy, recalled:

"...I've never met such rock 'n' roll geniuses before! To hell with Elvis and Keith Richards! Lemmy is the true king of rock 'n' roll! He's a true legend..."

Lemmy Kilmister
Lemmy Kilmister

As the new century dawned, Lemmy began to have health problems... Over the years, he cut back on alcohol and other habits, he developed diabetes and hypertension... In the twilight of his years, Lemmy often used a cane... At the end of 2015, a few days after his 70th birthday, Lemmy passed away... The great musician passed away due to prostate cancer, which he was diagnosed with just two days before his birthday... Was his death a shock to fans? Yes and no. Yes - of course it came as a big, very big blow... But was it really unpredictable? Hardly... After all, health problems had haunted Kilmister for years. Lemmy himself always said:

"Death is inevitable, isn't it? You start to realise it when you turn 50... But I'm not afraid of it. Do we have the power to change anything? Then why whine? You have to go on living your life in your own pleasure and doing what you love..."

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