Scott Albanesius met Lemmy in 1998, and quickly formed a bond that developed into a best friendship. With the great man’s passing in 2015 Scott was keen to share some of his stories of their time together with us here at Hammer.
The First Meeting
The first time I met him was when Alice Cooper was playing three nights at the House Of Blues in August of ’98. I was Alice’s snake handler, and I was there all three nights. I lived in Orange County, so I just rode my bike down to the show each night. I was in the bar as the show was starting and it was empty, because everyone was in there ready to see Alice, except for this one guy. He was instantly recognisable, even though he was clean shaven I just knew, because he has those big coco-puffs on his cheek, it had to be Lemmy! So I walked up to him and said ‘Hey man, you’re Lemmy right?’ and he said ‘Yeah’, and I said ‘Look I don’t want to bug you or anything I just want to thank you for your music.’ Because I had a 1916 cassette tape that someone had bought me that I played non-stop, back to back for nine months. Every time I was riding my motorcycle, that’s what I was listening to – until I dropped it on the freeway one day and it broke! So I told Lemmy that and he said ‘Oh yeah, have you heard any of my new music?’ and I was like ‘No, I didn’t even know you guys were still playing’ and, of course, he was all ‘Oh for fuck sake! Why does everyone always say this shit about us?’ He asked me if I was going to be there the next night, and I told him that I’d be here all three nights. So he said ‘Oh I’ll bring you some new CDs tomorrow’, then he asked if I smoked, and I only smoked weed at that time, so I said I’d go out with him and smoke a joint while he had his cigarette. And it’s just me and him. He says to me, ‘Snake handler eh? I wrote a song about snakes on our last album, Snake Bite Love.’ And he recited the lyrics to me, a cappella, it was pretty funny.
The next night I see Lemmy, and he’s on the fourth floor balcony chatting some chick up and not really paying attention to Alice. Anyway, it gets to Be My Lover, and that’s the song where the snake has to come out. I had the snake in the bath the whole day trying to get it to take a shit, she had eaten a rabbit two weeks before so I knew she had to take a shit, usually that would do it. But not her. The snake comes out onstage and as soon as I put it on Alice she shits right down his arm. The whole place went ‘WHOOOAAAAAHHHH!’ because snakes shit and piss out of the same hole and that smell went right to the back of the building. The look on Alice Cooper’s face was unreal, I was in such a panic that I ran past Lemmy and he said ‘What’s wrong?’ and I told him that the snake just shit on Alice and I think I’m gonna get fired. But actually Alice was pretty amused by it. He actually signed my copy of Billion Dollar Babies ‘To Scottie, ONCE IN THIRTY YEARS!’ it’s never happened since either!
So, after the show I see Lemmy and he’s got Overnight Sensation and Snake Bite Love on CD for me. And he signed and autographed them with ‘It’s toilet training time!’ He thought it was so funny! He said ‘Gimme a ride to The Rainbow because I think you need a drink!’ but I only had my motorcycle. He said ‘I don’t care!’ Okay man, I had him on the back of my bike and an eight foot python in my jacket riding this motorcycle He was wearing a police helmet! They let me park around the back, which they would never do usually, and we didn’t have to wait in line, we just walked straight in. We get in front of the fireplace, which is on in August, and the snake just jumps out of my jacket like a cobra! Girls are screaming, the managers come along saying ‘What the hell are you doing?! Get that thing out of here!’ And they get the security guard over and he says to me ‘Look, I know you’re Lemmy’s friend. So you just go put that snake on your bike and I’ll let you back in here.’ They always remembered me there from that night on as Lemmy’s friend, and I’d only just met the guy. We ended up drinking all night and actually closing the bar up ourselves, all the waitresses had gone, it was just us. So he invited me back over to his house, right across the road. And that was the first night we met. I hardly ever left from that night on.”
The Last Meeting
He got home on December 12, and usually when he left to go on tour I’d look after his apartment. I’d pack his bags for him the night before and we’d just sit on the couch and have a few drinks. He always showed me his lyrics, he’d pull out these crumpled pieces of paper and say ‘What do you think of this one mate?’ Then in the morning the limo would come and pick him up, and that was always the hardest time for me. Feeling like the girlfriend that got left behind, I’d think ‘One day I’ll be going with him’.
So the last time, when he got back on December 12, he told me to come over. I got there and sat down on the couch, he offered me a drink and then he put a DVD in. They’d just filmed the Munich show, so me and him watched that whole thing from beginning to end. And I was just blown away, what an awesome show. You Europeans are lucky that you got to see them so much, the Bomber and all of that stage show. We didn’t get a chance to see him in the US as much as the Germans and the Englishmen. So, we’re sat on the couch, and he’s throwing his arms up like he’s part of the crowd, you know. The cymbal would crash and he’d do the cymbal crash himself. We were just happy and content to sit there and watch the whole show. They were a really great crowd that night, what a great show it was.
And usually I’ll sit there and he’ll just pass out while we’re watching something, and I just head off. But this was actually one of the few times where he stayed awake and I was actually able to go ‘Well, hey man, I’m going to head over to The Rainbow now. I want to take off before you pass out on me.’ And that was cool, because I actually got to say goodbye to him.”