If it’s sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll you’re after – and frankly we wouldn’t blame you at a time like this – then the Lemmy biopic that’s currently in the works (focusing on his early years before Motörhead) will likely be a one-stop shop for all three. Born Ian Fraser Kilmister on Christmas Eve 1945, the founder of Motörhead lived a life of excess and excellence, a heavy metal hero defined as much by his hellraising as his musical output. Here are just a few of the legendary Lemmy stories that we hope make it into the movie – one or two are from after he left Hawkwind, and may be inadmissible, but we’ll leave the scriptwriters to ‘rearrange’ the timeline accordingly…
The time he stayed awake for two weeks
It takes a certain kind of constitution to pull an all-nighter, but pulling a two-weeker takes some seriously next level skill. “That was the old days, when you could get the good stuff,” said Lemmy of his speed-assisted fortnight. “I’ll always prefer speed to cocaine; cocaine makes you think you’re gonna throw up, wears off too quick and you go to sleep on it. What’s the point of that?”
Blagging the bass to join Hawkwind
He’d never played bass guitar in his life, but after psychedelic space-rockers Hawkwind’s bassist failed to show up for a gig in Notting Hill, Lemmy decided to jump up onstage and give it a bash. Either everyone else was so high they didn’t notice – or Lemmy was a natural, because he stayed in the band for the next four years.
Getting fired from Hawkwind
Strangely, for a band whose music is basically drugs in 4/4 time, Hawkwind fired Lemmy after he was arrested for possession of speed at the Canadian border. Lemmy later said that he believed that the arrest was an excuse for getting rid of him; he had allegedly pissed off the band’s original vocalist after ‘Silver Machine’ – a track on which Lemmy sang – became one of their biggest hits. Lemmy took revenge by going back to the UK and attempting to sleep with the wives of every member of the band. “I came home from America and fucked all their old ladies,” he told The Guardian. “Except for [Hawkwind frontman Dave] Brock’s. I couldn’t get his. I had a good time with all them chicks – they were really eager.” He then founded Motörhead, named after the last song he had written for Hawkwind.
The time he hallucinated for two weeks
Rather than over-doing it on the LSD, the source of Lemmy’s two week trip was a teaspoon of atropine sulfate, which his girlfriend had nicked from the pharmacy she worked at, mistaking it for amphetamine sulfate aka, Lemmy’s fave; speed. Accidentally ingesting 200 times the amount needed to overdose, he started talking to the TV and woke up in hospital, with the doctor’s telling him he’d have been dead within the hour if they hadn’t got to him. The next two weeks were littered with hallucinations, when he’d be “sitting, reading a book, and I’d turn to page 42 – but there was no book.”
Going on the road with Jimi Hendrix
One of Lemmy’s first ever jobs in the music industry was as a roadie for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. What did Lemmy learn from one of the greatest guitar players to ever grace the face of the earth? Well, it wasn’t nailing the riff from ‘Foxy Lady’. “Jimi taught me how to find drugs in the most unlikely places because that was part of my job for him,” Lemmy once said. “That’s how I learned to function on five hits of acid.” Lemmy even had an audition for the band booked, but it just so happened to be set for the day that Hendrix died.
This onstage scandal
To be honest, we’re not sure if we actually want to see this one in the film, but when it comes to rock ’n’ roll excess, the time that a female crowd member went up onstage and orally pleasured Lemmy mid-gig in the 1970s certainly warrants a mention. It’s rumoured – a rumour started by Lemmy quite possibly – that he slept with over 2,000 women and he once blamed a backstage collapse on the fact that he had just received three blow-jobs and was “exhausted”.
The time he didn’t have a full blood transfusion
In 1980 Lemmy decided to get all the blood in his body swapped with some fresh stuff to give him a new lease of life, after hearing that the equally hardy Keith Richards had done the same. He went to a posh doctor on Harley Street and let them look at the batch he currently had swimming through his veins. “He told me I didn’t have human blood in my system anymore,” Lemmy explained. “Apparently, I had become so toxic, mostly from all the speed and alcohol, that fresh blood would have killed me.”