Motörhead was never my favourite band. It was just one of those bands we all listened to from the very beginning, and have listened to ever since. I got into metal when I was just a kid in the mid-80s, and Lemmy was there. My taste got heavier during the 90s, and he was still there, right next to Sepultura, Metallica, Slayer and even Deicide. In the mid-90s I got more into punk. Lemmy was there, too. For me, there has always been Motörhead.
Lemmy was a true embodiment of rock and roll. This has to do with so much more than just the music. Rock and roll is about being true to yourself and sticking to your beliefs, even when they’re not trendy. Real rock and roll has substance, and is never out of fashion. It can be ugly, smelly, loud, drunk, even crappy, but it is always cool as long as it comes from the heart. And that is the key: You can’t fake rock and roll.
Seeing Motörhead in concert changed me, and I don’t say that lightly. By now, I’ve seen all of my favourite bands live, but this was just something else; three dudes playing the easiest and most straightforward music, with no gimmicks to hide behind. It was just loud, rude, and done with such disregard to everything else that you just couldn’t help but shake your head and try to grasp the whole thing. And the fucker just stood there.
For some reason, I’ve kept on checking out new Motörhead releases to this day. For a long, long time, Metallica was my favourite band, but after the black album I simply lost interest. The same goes for almost every band I’ve enjoyed through the years. Somehow, though, I’ve always wanted to know what Lemmy had to say. I’ve liked some of their releases better than others, but it didn’t really matter, because it was always all true, and the guy yelling into the microphone meant every word, always. He was ugly, smelly, loud, drunk, even crappy at times, but he was always true to himself.
It is funny to think of someone that didn’t ever know you, but had so much of an influence on your life. It is clear as day that had Lemmy not taken his path, I would have developed into a totally different person than I did. Heavy metal is my life, and without Lemmy, the culture and my band would just not be the same. I know these are big words, but they are true.
And how do you talk about such person? There is this joke in the 1994 movie ‘Airheads’ that goes something like this: “Who would win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?” Someone answers: “Lemmy. No, God.” But neither is true: “Wrong, dickhead, trick question. Lemmy IS God!” And it’s kind of true. I don’t like to idolize people, but when you put it all together, how can you not when it comes to Lemmy?
Lemmy, you were never my favourite. That’s just absurd. Here’s to rock and roll’s finest!
Rock ‘n’ roll politician
To me, Lemmy has always been a great role model. He was a genius at making the most out of his simple merits. He was a great bass player, and the first to cast his instrument into the lead role in a heavy metal band, in place of the more ubiquitous guitar. He also sang few words, and with a limited vocal range—but in a manner that made every single one count.
Generally speaking, Lemmy was just a good, no-nonsense guy. He lived by a slogan familiar to Icelandic metallers as the motto of the Eistnaflug festival: “Don’t be a dick.” A simple sentiment, but he took it all the way, and it’ll live on in his wake.
Rocker (Pink Street Boys)
My first memory of Lemmy is from hanging out in Japis, a record store, when I was ten or eleven, digging through the rock and heavy metal rack. I had already discovered Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’ by then, as well as Korn, Machine Head, and RATM. Anyway, I pull out some Motörhead Best Of album and ask the staff if they like it. They tell me it’s old as hell… and that got me excited.
I carefully examined the CD cover as I listened in-store, and on the back I found three of the dirtiest rockers I’d ever seen! The guy in the middle had such a cool beard and sunglasses, majestic long hair, and two huge warts on his cheek. I bought the album in a heartbeat.
It had all the hits: “Ace of Spades,” “Killed By Death,” and “Bomber”—the last of which became my favourite. Motörhead have remained with me since then, and unlike the other bands I listened to at that time, they’ve never stopped being cool. Lemmy was the coolest rock ‘n’ roller in the world for almost 50 years, and that’s inspirational.
Later on, when I got into psychedelic music, Lemmy showed up again. I was trying to start a new band, and got to know an older guy who was the biggest Lemmy fan ever. He had a Rickenbacker bass, and we were jamming a bit, but it was not working out so well. I told him I wanted to do a more psychedelic sound, and then he starts talking about Lemmy’s old band, Hawkwind. When I said I hadn’t heard of it, he took me to his car and blasted “Silver Machine.” Then there was no turning back.
Fuck, man, Lemmy was a true legend. I was recently digging into Hawkwind’s discography, and it turns out everything they made after firing Lemmy sucked. That’s when I understood he was more than just a whiskey’d-out speedhead who looked good on stage.
He was also a really good musician.
God bless you, Lemmy.
Underground King (Mínus, Esja, Döpur, LEGEND)
There was a time when I wanted to sound like Lemmy.
There was a time when I wanted to play like Lemmy.
There was a time when I wanted to dress like Lemmy.
There was a time when I wanted to think like Lemmy.
Now I’m just myself, thanks to Lemmy.
See you on the flipside.
Gyða Hrund Þorvaldsdóttir
Lemmy was larger than life, a legend. It is in fact very hard to write this piece, because… where do you start with such a force of nature?
I was fortunate enough to witness Motörhead in concert a few times. At every show, Lemmy kept the crowd enchanted throughout with his well-known wit, refreshingly honest pearls of wisdom and fierce stage presence.
Lemmy’s authenticity shines through in some of the numerous quotes he left behind. He had this amazing knack for putting difficult and controversial things into a very down-to-earth and relatable perspective.
He had no time for bullshit, and his charisma and music has influenced many of my favourite bands. In my opinion, it’s impossible to be a metalhead and not to be affected by Lemmy’s contribution to the music, whether you’re a Motörhead fan or not.
He was one of the good ones, one of the great ones.
So long Lemmy, and thanks for all the fish!
Óskar Logi Ágústsson
Vintage rocker (The Vintage Caravan)
Lemmy’s death was expected, yet somehow unexpected. I felt like he would keep going forever. Now, it feels weird, living in a world without Lemmy.
He was rock ‘n’ roll.
I think he was an underrated lyricist; he had a very cool style, witty but classy, sometimes even kind of sleazy, yet at the same time sophisticated—now that’s art!
Lemmy was and is a huge inspiration, reaching old age, still touring, still living the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, never giving up, continually doing what he loved. I think we can all learn something from him.
Let’s keep his memory alive, and play Motörhead loudly! I also highly recommend checking out his work with Hawkwind, it’s awesome.
International Art Superstar and former local Rock Star
I love him.
Lemmy was a ridiculously fun guy, at least from a distance, and a true pioneer in creating ironic tough guy noise. It was always interesting how much he loved The Beatles. He said that when he founded Motörhead, he wanted to be in a band that was as loud and brutal as The Beatles he witnessed at the Cavern Club.
One of my favourite Lemmy-lines is about love: “relationships destroy relationships.” He drowned his sorrows in speed, leather, Nazi outfits, Jack Daniels, casual sex, rock, and noise, and he lived surprisingly long nonetheless. I think it was his creativity that kept him alive. Over the past few days I’ve been blasting “Killed By Death” and of course “Ace Of Spades” in his honour.
You know I’m borne to lose
And gambling is for fools
That’s the way I like it baby, I don’t wanna live forever
Oh, yes indeed.