Interview with Lemmy of Motörhead

Motörhead hits the House of Blues at Showboat on Friday, March 4, with an 'Ace Up Their Sleeve'

By Ed Condran
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 2 | Posted Feb. 23, 2011

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There are only a handful of recording artists who are simply known by their first name.

There’s Cher, Madonna and Lemmy.

Lemmy Kilmister doesn’t have much else in common with the aforementioned performers. Kilmister, whose given name is Ian, happens to be a headbanging icon, who depending on who you chat with
is the Godfather of punk or metal.

Each camp would love to have Lemmy on their side.

A number of such prominent musicians wax extensively about Kilmister in the brand-new documentary Lemmy.

The documentary features a who’s who of rock’s hoi polloi, who tip their cap to Kilmister. Such disparate figures as Ozzy Osbourne, Peter Hook of New Order, James Hetfield, Jarvis Cocker, Dave Grohl and Slash each sing the praises of Motörhead’s intense vocalist-bassist.

Grohl calls Lemmy "the baddest motherfucker in the world." He goes on to note that "when you see and hear him, there’s such a human connection. This is what rock n’ roll should be, otherwise you should be playing a video game.”

Kilmister, 65, isn’t choked up by the myriad of props tossed his way.

“You can’t believe all of that,” Kilmister tells Atlantic City Weekly while calling from Chicago earlier this week. “If you buy all of that shit, you’ll go fucking nuts. I’m not super-human.”

Well, according to Maxim magazine, the British icon comes close.

Maxim has Lemmy at number eight on its "Living Sex Legends" list, since the word is that Kilmister has bedded more than 1,200 women.

“I just try to have fun,” Kilmister says. “It’s about having a good time.”

Several years ago, Kilmister was a guest on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect show. At one point he disappeared from the set.

“Someone on the panel asked me a stupid question,” Kilmister says. “Then I remember being bored and going out and smoking a joint.”

Kilmister can do what other rockers can’t. Obnoxious arbiters of taste Beavis and Butthead are even impressed with Kilmister.

After Lemmy made a cameo appearance in a Ramones video, Butthead, on the MTV show, says, "He’s Lemmy. He can walk into any video he wants."

Beavis responds enthusiastically with a "Lemmy rules."

“It’s good to be held in that kind of regard, but it’s all about the music,” Kilmister says. “I’m a musician, not a personality.”


For Motörhead, which will perform Friday, March 4, at the House of Blues at Showboat in Atlantic City, two words sum up the sonic experience: loud and fast.

There’s never been much subtlety with the act, which formed in 1975 after Kilmister was kicked out of British prog-rockers Hawkwind.

Motörhead combined the muscularity of metal with the speed of punk rock.

“It just felt natural for me to do so,” Kilmister says. “It was different from Hawkwind. It was a much better fit and that’s the way it’s stayed all of these years.”

However, it’s not as if Motörhead, which also includes guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee, is a British version of America’s Ramones. There is some variety in the vulgar display of
power offered by Kilmister and company.

Another Perfect Day, which dropped in 1983, is perhaps the most menacing Motörhead album to date. 1916, which was released in 1991, possesses the band’s most witty set of lyrics and then there is 1993’s Bastards, which is filled with unrelenting thrash-rock.

“There is a certain style of Motörhead,” Kilmister explains. “But there are differences from album to album. Each song stands on its own. But the thing is that we go all out with each song. We give as
much energy as we can.”

That’s not just in the studio or onstage. The magnetic Kilmister gives maximum effort whether performing or partying. It’s not surprising that he’s bored during this politically correct era in rock.

“It kills me how bland this period is,” Kilmister says bluntly. “You go backstage these days and you see 20 bottles of Perrier and a bag of nuts. What’s wrong with this fucking picture? Everything is so healthy today and it’s terrible. I don’t get it.”

Nor does Kilmister, who claims that he has done every drug except heroin and morphine, get today’s rock and pop stars.

“What the fuck is it about John Mayer?” Kilmister asks. “Someone should explain him to me. And the same goes for Justin Bieber. They’re all such boring people. They’re so fucking serious. I’m not interested in people as boring as that. It’s a shame these people are popular entertainers.”

Don’t ask the inveterate rocker to indulge in the virtues of hip-hop.

“Why should I do that when it’s not music?” Kilmister asks. “There’s nothing creative about doing that [rapping] over music someone else created. They go out and take John Bonham’s drumming. I don’t call that music. You think they [rappers] could come up with sounds of their own, even some basic sounds and they can’t do it. Sad.”

Kilmister and his maverick band are still making their own sounds. World Is Yours, their latest disc, which dropped in December 2010, is packed with manic, menacing metal.

“Making music is still a good time for us,” Kilmister says. “As long we continue to have fun and people come out there’s no reason to stop what we’re doing.”

When: Friday, March 4, doors open 7pm
Where: House of Blues at Showboat, Atlantic City
How Much: Tickets $39.50 and $49.75.

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Comments 1 - 2 of 2
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1. TastyGreens said... on Feb 23, 2011 at 05:33PM

“That was a pretty shoddy article, with tons of factual mistakes (the albums are called BastardS and THE World is Yours) and the writer seems to only have a tenuous grasp on the history and musical significance of Motorhead.

Nevertheless -- you have got to love those Lemmy witticisms. The new album completely smokes, it is one of their all-time best when you really give it a close listen. "Get Back In Line" should be regarded as one of Motorhead's career high points. Brilliant song!”

Report Violation

2. Anonymous said... on Feb 27, 2011 at 04:42AM

“I'm with Lemmy. When Bill Maher starts boring me, I too go smoke a joint.”


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