On December 28th, 2015 the heavy metal world lost one of its biggest icons, Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead. Born on Christmas Eve, 1945, Lemmy was one of the most influential figures in both rock and metal history. He has been cited as an inspiration by numerous bands including Metallica, Nirvana, Slayer, Darkthrone, Melvins, the list goes on.
Lemmy’s initial entry into the music world began with smaller local level bands until finally joining The Rocking Vickers in 1966. This would be the first time Lemmy played in a touring band. He would leave a year later and move to London. Here he ended up sharing a flat with Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist, Noel Redding as well as their manager, Neville Chesters. He would later become a roadie for this band.
In 1972 Lemmy joined the prog rock band, Hawkwind. He became the band’s vocalist and bassist making this the first time he played bass. The band was a moderate success and Lemmy would have his first hit with the track “Silver Machine”. Three years later he was outed from the band.
As we all know this didn’t stop Lemmy as he then formed the band Bastard. The band soon changed their name to Motörhead and Lemmy’s iconic status Was Born!. Mixing the heavy metal sound with the energy of punk while maintaining elements of rock n roll along with blues, Motörhead had a sound like no other at the time. This sound would help in the creation of several genres of music including black metal, crust punk and thrash metal. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, Motörhead would release many legendary albums including Ace of Spades, Bomber, Overkill, Orgasmatron and Iron Fist.
Even after the 80’s, Lemmy still enjoyed his status of a legend. He wrote the hit song “Mama I’m Coming Home” for Ozzy Osbourne, in 1991. Films and books were written about Lemmy and even voiced Death in Regular Show, The Kill Master, in the game Brutal Legend as well as appearing in several films by the indie company Troma.
Even in their later days, Motörhead still had plenty of success. In 2010 a documentary on Lemmy simply titled Lemmy was released with much acclaim and featured many rock and metal titans discussing the man himself. The band’s 2013 album Aftershock was seen as one of the band’s best record in a while and one to rival their classics.
It feels weird to think that this is the last recording we will ever hear from Lemmy after the man brought us decades of legendary music. This last recording is a live album, Clean Your Clock. The record complied from two sold out shows in Munich, Germany during last year’s 40th anniversary tour.
On Clean Your Clock it is pretty audibly apparent that Lemmy was very sick and struggling as it was only about a month before his death. Though you can tell his heart is in the right place as he was trying his best and still had tons of energy.
Lemmy was a man who was the epitome of the heavy metal lifestyle. He would party, smoke, drink and have sex all the time and was able to live to 70 doing so. He made the music he always wanted and ignored the trends yet was able to be very successful. He was well liked by his peers and according to Phil Campbell’s son “He was a real gentlemen.” He will be truly missed by us all and he is probably jamming out with Ronnie James Dio.