It’s been almost a year since the sad death of Motorhead frontman and all-round Jack Daniels-guzzling, axe-wielding icon Lemmy (December 28), tributes poured in from the rock community, universally eulogising. “He was a warrior and a legend,” Ozzy Osbourne tweeted, while Butch Walker added: “Nobody came close being the Rock God that you are”.
For 70 unrelenting years Lemmy epitomised what it means to be rock n roll. In his honour, fans (including porn veteran Ron Jeremy) embarked on a pilgrimage to LA’s Rainbow Bar, one of the star’s favourite hangouts on the city’s infamous Sunset Strip, to drink the bar dry. It’s what Lemmy would have wanted, the fans concurred.
As Dave Grohl once said: “Fuck Elvis and Keith Richards, Lemmy’s the king of rock ‘n’ roll… no one else comes close”. So let’s look back upon Lemmy’s great career as indulgence, excess and fast-living personified. Here are his best – and most rock n roll – moments.
Originally naming his band ‘Bastard’ – and then using it as an album title
After being fired from space-rock outfit Hawkwind following an arrest at the Canadian/US border in 1975 for drug possession, Lemmy formed the band Bastard, which would later be renamed Motörhead, a title of one of the last songs he recorded for Hawkwind. The group’s manager argued that they would never get on Top Of The Pop which such an expletive as a name, so they duly changed it. But Lemmy and co got the last laugh after calling their eleventh album ‘Bastards’ in 1993, meaning they managed to experience success while also stick it to the man.
Giving his amps names that sound like horror movies
Most professional musicians spend more time with their equipment than they do with their own family, so it makes sense for some to give their gear nicknames. Aptly, Lemmy’s amps were giving very rock n roll names: ‘Murder One’, ‘No Remorse’ and ‘Killer’. However, after one blew up he renamed its replacement ‘Marsha’, proving that he wasn’t always the tough guy he seemed…
Releasing his own brand of sex toys
Earlier in 2015, Motörhead teamed up with sex toy company Lovehoney for a series of torpedo-shaped vibrators adorned with the band’s logo. Dubbed ‘The Official Pleasure Collection’, Lemmy later claimed not to have had prior knowledge of the product. “The sex toy thing was a surprise, but it seems to be working out,” he told Uproxx, before adding that he expected to hear feedback about the intimate products from fans shortly. Well, we hope they fulfilled his wish.
Waking a fan from a coma with his music
Lemmy once claimed that his band’s music had the power to wake people up from comas, saying of an incident in the early 80s: “We made tapes and they played them to him in the hospital and he came out of his coma. That is worth my whole career.” He later explained: “It became kind of a fad in the late ’70s to try to help people wake up out of comas by hearing things that they liked. I remember we sent out about six tapes. We heard that we were this one kid’s favorite band so we sent a tape that said, ‘Hey this is Motörhead. It’s time to wake up.’ We sent out tapes to the others but they didn’t wake up. It was worth it just to have one kid wake up. I got to meet him after he woke up.”
Firing a producer for suggesting they play the tambourine
Motörhead once sacked a producer called Ed Stasium because he tried to sneak wooden percussion and tambourines on to one of their songs. When recording ‘Going to Brazil’ from their 1991 album ‘1916’, Lemmy heard the strange additions to one of the mixes before asking Stasium to turn up the backing track. He immediately fired him on the spot.
Losing consciousness after receiving three consecutive blowjobs
Apparently this actually happened, at least according to biographer Oscar Palmer, who told Noisey: “That was the day they gave out silver records for ‘Bomber’. Lemmy lost consciousness backstage the moment after they played and they had to wake him up so he could go back out and play the encore. According to his own memory, he doesn’t remember the reason. But he told the journalists that he’d gone unconscious because that afternoon he’d gotten three blowjobs”. It’s a hard life, eh.
Taking a whole bag of drugs so the police wouldn’t confiscate them
According to Lemmy’s 2003 memoir, he once ingested an entire bag of amphetamines and tranquilizers so that police couldn’t find them. It’s hard to prove this to be true, and logic probably suggests otherwise, but we’ve learned to suspect the unexpected when it comes to Lemmy.
Switching from JD and coke to vodka and orange for health reasons
Just a few months before his death, with his health waning, Lemmy set out his new diet regime in typically rock n roll fashion, revealing that he had given up whiskey and coke in place of vodka and orange juice in a fight against diabetes. “I like orange juice better,” he told The Guardian. “So, Coca-Cola can fuck off.”
Never retiring and performing live right up to the end
Despite his ailing health, Lemmy still managed to board the Motörboat heavy metal cruise/festival last year, travelling from Miami to the Bahamas in September and October, to play two live shows, what would some of the singer’s final performances. You see, Lemmy was hell-bent on continuing until the very end: “As long as I can walk the few yards from the back to the front of the stage without a stick,” he said in an interview prior to the shows. “Or even if I do have to use a stick.”