It’s with great sadness that I must share the news that the great Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead has passed away. The musician, who was born Ian Fraser Kilmister, was plagued by health issues over the last couple of years but seemed to be coming along from them with proper rest. He was 70 years old and had just celebrated this milestone of a birthday on Christmas Eve. Hard Rock music and Metal on the whole have lost one of their most iconic figures. The photos below are from a group of images taken during the Jones Beach Theater performance in September. It would be their last concert in NY and sadly now the last time that many of us would see them based on today’s news.
At the show that I caught back in September I discussed with many of my friends how tired Lemmy had looked and perhaps he needed to quietly say “hey gang its been great but this is too much for me at long last” but he didn’t stop pushing and instead did a score of more shows and then the Motorboat Cruise. This man was the living embodiment of the Rock and Roll spirit and nothing was doing to get in his way or stop him from doing this as he saw fit to do so. His famous nickname is alleged to have come from his habit of asking people to “lemme a quid (fiver) till Friday”.
Though I had never heard of any material by The Rockin Vickars or Sam Gopal, I did know some of the Hawkwind stuff and was amazed at how he recorded nineteen albums with them. This would of course be eclipsed by his body of work with Motorhead where Lemmy’s thunderous bass and gravely voice could be heard on no less than 100 works. This number includes studio and live albums, extended plays, compilations, singles and videos that came out across this storied forty year career.
I’ve been a fan of the Motorhead stuff since the late eighties and admit with sadness that I didn’t always get around to seeing them despite wanting to do so. I’m so very glad that that I not only got to see them perform on those occasions but also glad and feel very fortunate that I was able to use this media outlet of mine to speak about their shows and the music that they were releasing. Numerous review items can be found HERE and while its super hard to pick out a personal favorite amidst the sadness I will have to say that either “Ace Of Spades”, “Iron Fist” or “No Sleep Till Hammersmith” are on my top list of the mans body of work. If I remember correctly, it was that incredible live album “No Sleep Till Hammersmith” was the very first album that I listened to from them and then I got a copy of “No Remorse” (a hits compilation) that I played the hell out of. I was a drummer back during this time and had to learn a bunch of their songs to cover with the band BTW.
It’s an understatement to say that Lemmy will be sorely missed. Though he has left us, his loud and thunderous sound will resonate for many years to come. He was a make no bones about it personality that you felt was indestructible. Lemmy spoke to us all in songs that connected to a working class persons way of life for sure. If you felt that you were born to lose perhaps you had an ace of spades in your deck and would shine at the end of the day over the ones with no class. It was music that celebrated holding an iron fist proudly above the world or kicking that iron horse into gear as you headed towards Metropolis. Eventually we will all be killed by death and with Lemmy by our side we also felt indestructible. As the news circulated about Lemmy’s passing it was noted that he was taken from us by an aggressive cancer that acted very quickly and according to the statement that his representative had send, passed while enjoying his favorite video game. Celebrate Lemmy’s life from his humble beginnings until his passing care of the Wikipedia entry below. It will line out so many details about a life that was lived without boundaries and under ones own plan no matter the odds. Now it should be noted that Lemmy’s passing should not find you reflecting quietly and instead go to your music collection and dig out a favorite Motorhead or Hawkwind release or maybe even a few of them and crank that volume up louder than before. You know that Lemmy wouldn’t have it any other way and if you feel like tossing back a shot of Jack Daniels I don’t think anyone would mind that (provided you are of the legal age to do so). Rest In Peace Lemmy, there was no one like you sir. Fans that wish to offer up memorial thoughts are welcome to do so in the comments below.
PS: Lemmy’s passing comes a little over a month after the passing of Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor which I spoke of HERE; That rhythm section in the oft referenced Rock and Roll Heaven is sure going to be loud now that these two icons are signing on.