Lemmy's friends share their favourite stories

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We asked some fellow legends to tell us their favourite Lemmy memories. They did not disappoint. Debauchery, cross-dressing and horse shit… it’s all here

Biff Byford, Saxon

“The first time we toured with Motörhead on the Bomber tour in 1979, we shared a bus. During the tour, they were invited to do [classic BBC music show] Top Of The Pops. We couldn’t go with them, so we went out for a meal, but later on when we returned to the bus, it was full of incredible-looking women – models, mostly, and all dressed as waitresses. Being newbies, we were absolutely in awe of that. You know, ‘Fuck… this is the life.’ Sadly, we weren’t allowed to do anything with them… they were Motörhead’s girls.”

Max Cavalera, Soulfly

“My first encounter with Lemmy was a classic. Sepultura were on tour in 1989 with Sodom, and we were in London, playing the Marquee. We went to this little downstairs pub, and on the other side of the bar there was Lemmy playing his fruit machine! We almost fucking dropped dead. I got my courage together and I went over, saying, ‘Hey Lemmy, I’m from Brazil, you’re my hero!’ He was trying to concentrate on his fruit machine, but I just kept talking until he took his glass of whisky and poured the whole thing over my head. I went back to the table and I said to Andreas [Kisser, Sepultura guitarist]: ‘I just got baptised! Lemmy just baptised me with whisky!’ I was so happy.”

Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath

“I remember on one occasion, Lemmy came into our dressing room with a birthday cake for me. But it wasn’t Lemmy as you would expect to see him: he had on a black dress, stockings and high heels, and he was wearing make-up! He looked a right sight! Did I fancy him? You’re joking! It’s still Lemmy…”

Triple H, WWE Legend

“I met Lemmy for the first time in Los Angeles, backstage after a show, and we hit it off! I ended up going to a couple of Motörhead shows and they came down to some WWE shows, and I ended up actually recording with Lem on a track on [2002’s] Hammered. It’s this spoken-word track, Serial Killer, and we did it over a couple of days in the studio. Eventually we could hang out and we could talk for hours and it wouldn’t even be about music or about my business, we would just talk. They played me to the ring at two different Wrestlemanias, and I was on this riser coming up to the stage, with the world title on me, and there’s lasers and pyro, and you look to your left and there’s Lemmy and he’s singing a song about you… I got in the ring, and I turn around and point to him, and he’s on the stage, and he points straight back at me, and there was just this moment, this connection. I’ll never forget that.”

Doro Pesch

“Los Angeles was the place where I recorded my first song with Lemmy. On the first night we met there, he said he had a song titled Alone Again, which he could never put on a Motörhead album, because it was just too soft and gentle. Lemmy took out an acoustic guitar and played Alone Again in one take, and my jaw just dropped. He added a flamenco part to it and it sounded great. Lemmy was an awesome player! He was a true innovator, a true individual and a true friend. I miss him so badly.”

Enid Williams, Girlschool

“In 1978, we released a single that got the attention of Motörhead’s manager, who thought we would be a good fit for supporting Motörhead. Phil Taylor and ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke were like, ‘We’re not touring with girls!’ But Lemmy came down to the rehearsal. We were a bit scared of him, actually! But he was really lovely. He went back to the guys and said, ‘Listen, they can really play! They can play bloody better than you can!’ And he just told them that we were going on the tour. And we went out and toured with them many times. It was just a great privilege.”

Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth, Overkill

“It was November 2007, Berlin, and the last night of the Motörhead and Overkill tour. I was high, and Lemmy comes over and says, ‘Bobby, I want you to join us for the last number – Overkill’. Of course I knew the tune, but I was a bit nervous, so I wrote the first word of each verse on my forearm so as to not fuck it up. When the moment came, I glanced down, then I looked Lemmy in the eye, and he was laughing, yelling, ‘Cheat notes! Ha ha ha!’ I panicked from embarrassment and dove head-on into the crowd. Looking back, I could see him standing on the edge of the stage with a toothy grin: ‘Cheat notes! Cheat notes! Cheat notes!’ We had a drink and a good laugh after. It was unforgettable.”

Chuck Billy, Testament

“We got to tour with Motörhead with Heaven & Hell and Judas Priest. That’s when we found out that Motörhead were big pranksters. On the last night of the tour, we were finishing the set, and Phil Campbell came onstage riding a horse, in a wig and wearing a dress that Ronnie Dio bought him. Mikkey Dee was in front wearing a pony outfit, and Lemmy had a turban on, walking behind the horse with a broom, sweeping up the shit that the horse left onstage. Every time I ran into Lemmy after that tour, he would always bring up the fact we had the best end-of-tour prank that nobody could ever top!”

Alexi Laiho, Children Of Bodom

“I’ve seen Lemmy about a million times, but only met him properly once, at the Rainbow in LA, about 12 years ago. He complimented me on my t-shirt that said derogatory things about Britney Spears, so we drank and chatted for a while. In retrospect, I wish I’d been more sober so I could remember and appreciate that chat more. But I’ll never forget it. It would be one of the over-the-top rock’n’roll highlights for anyone! Apart from that one time, I always left him alone, because I wanted to be respectful. I used to spend a lot of time at the Rainbow, but I would let him do his thing: play video poker, smoke cigs and sip on his Jack and Coke. To me, essentially it was Lemmy and Mötley Crüe that made Jack the ultimate rock’n’roll cocktail. He was friendly, sweet, down-to-earth, funny as fuckin’ hell and by far the coolest and one of the most inspiring men that ever walked the earth!”

Corey Taylor, Slipknot/Stone Sour

“The first time Lemmy and I hung out was in Germany, back when he smoked, and we were in a kitchen/smoking area. He told me one of the most brutal jokes I have ever heard in my life, and he told me it in that Lemmy voice, which made it even more fucking amazing. I laughed so hard smoke came out of my eyes. That was pretty fuckin’ righteous.”

Duff, Axl and Lemmy at Monsters of Rock in 1988

Duff, Axl and Lemmy at Monsters of Rock in 1988
(Image: © Iconipix)

Duff McKagan, Guns N’ Roses

“I got to meet Lemmy for the first time in London back in 1987. Guns N’ Roses were a new band, and we were playing some club shows in town, and somehow we got the invite over to a recording studio where Motörhead were recording. I’m sure I must’ve seemed nervous and tongue-tied, and I am quite sure he noticed it. He passed me a beer, and asked me how I liked the girls in England… putting me at ease from then on. He knew he was every bass player’s hero at that point, and singled me out first. It was completely awesome, and something I’ve never forgotten.”