RIP Lemmy - The Ace Of Heavy Metal Spades! 30/12/15


Lemmy, who has died aged 70 after being diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of cancer last week, was the front man and only constant member of Motorhead, one of the loudest bands in rock music. He was also something of a rock legend, his mutton-chop whiskers, facial wart and high microphone position making him one of the most recognisable figures in the business. There was also his obsession with slot machines, and his collection of Nazi memorabilia, which endeared him to diehards and casual fans alike. He is credited with introducing punk sounds into the heavy metal mix, paving the way for a generation of thrash metal and speed metal followers. In 1972 he was recruited as bassist for the space-rock band Hawkwind, despite having played only rhythm guitar before. He also sang lead vocals on the band's biggest hit, ‘Silver Machine’ (Vid Of The Day), which reached No. 3 in the UK charts, after a previous effort by the band's usual vocalist was deemed too weak. Lemmy's tenure with Hawkwind ended abruptly when he was busted for drug possession on a tour of Canada.

In 1975, Lemmy decided to form his own band, "so that no-one can fire me again", and adopted the name Bastard, until it was gently pointed out that he would be unlikely to get a gig on Top of the Pops. Instead he changed it to Motorhead, US slang for someone who takes speed and also the title of the last song he had penned for Hawkwind. Lemmy's guttural vocals appealed to the fans and the punk influences in their blistering music tapped into the fast-changing music scene in the UK. Indeed Motorhead collaborated with punk outfit The Damned on a few occasions. It marked the start of the band's most successful period, which peaked with the release of their fourth album, ‘Ace of Spades’, in 1980. The thunderous title track became the band's definitive anthem and appearances on Top of the Pops helped it stay in the UK charts for 12 weeks!! During the following three decades the band released no fewer than 17 further albums, the last one being ‘Bad Magic’ in August 2015.

One of the band's last performances was a storming set at Glastonbury earlier this year. The WRC were fortunate to see them at British Summer Time in Hyde Park (pictured) last year... So glad we did now. Lemmy's appetite for drugs and alcohol remained a constant throughout most of his career. He famously once claimed he had drunken a bottle of Jack Daniel’s every day since turning 30, slept with over 1,000 women and he was also a proponent of amphetamines. Recently, he joked that he had switched from drinking whiskey and coke to vodka and orange for “health reasons” to combat his diabetes!! But even though he once thought he was indestructible, sadly that hasn't proved to be the case as death has proved to be the only thing keeping him from playing music...

So in summary, for me, Lemmy's voice and the sound of the bass guitar was exactly the same. It was a fantastic bluff gruffness which is so attractive, so hypnotic that it's a really great sound... It's a mistake to say it's just a noise because he wrote really good songs. Rest In Noise Lemmy. You truly deserve your place in Rock and Roll's Hall of Fame.. And now everyone please play Motorhead loud and have a drink or few ..........

It's farewell to one of the greats.

Wrinkly the Silver