“It’s all just great rock and roll, that’s the only way to describe it.” There’s a Lemmy Kilmister solo album featuring Dave Grohl out there somewhere, and we desperately need to hear it

Lemmy in 2010
(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns)

A Lemmy Kilmister solo career might sound a bit silly on paper. From 1977 up until his 2015 death, he was the sole figurehead and creative leader of Motörhead, so wasn’t he already following his own muse? But, while Stoke-On-Trent’s rowdiest child may have fuelled one of hard rock’s ferocious forces through 22 albums, he did have a desire to make music under his own name. That desire was so strong, in fact, that he spent the final 11 years of his life trying to make it happen.

The plans for a potential Lemmy solo album were first revealed by the mutton-chopped man himself in a 2004 Metal Maniacs interview. He told the magazine that recording was already underway, and that he was amassing an array of guest stars to appear across the record.

“I’ve got two [songs recorded] with [German hard rock band] Skew Siskin,” he said, with Metal Maniacs reporting that they were entitled Stand Upon The Mountain and Don’t Matter To Me. He added that he’d recorded another pair of tracks with Texan rockabilly star The Reverend Horton Heat (“some psycho-metal-billy,” Lemmy called them), plus two more featuring The Damned, including a cover of the band’s own 1977 single Neat Neat Neat

Most excitingly, though, was Lemmy’s admittance that Dave Grohl – former Nirvana drummer, current Foo Fighters man and eternally the nicest guy in rock – would appear on a song that he was “still sorting out”. 

No release date was given, and any expectations of the album materialising soon were dashed when Lemmy returned to the prolific Motörhead machine, releasing Inferno in June 2004 and Kiss Of Death shortly after, in August 2006. The next update didn’t come until 2011, in an interview with Billboard.

Lemmy and Dave Grohl in 2003

Lemmy and Dave Grohl in 2003 (Image credit: Annamaria DiSanto/WireImage)

During that discussion, Lemmy confirmed not only that his solo album was still happening, but that progress had been made. Joan Jett was impressively added to the roster of titans who’d recorded material for it, while Grohl’s contributions were implied to be complete. A working title was even given: False Teeth For The Deaf.

When Billboard asked what False Teeth For The Deaf would sound like, Lemmy responded: “It’s good. It goes in all kinds of directions. It’s either very inconsistent or very eclectic, depending how you look at it.”

A tentative release date was set for 2012, but the year sadly came and went without anything official. The next discussion of the album was in the December 2013 issue of Revolver, following the release of Motörhead’s penultimate album, Aftershock, that summer. Lemmy declared that False Teeth For The Deaf would be the next thing he’d put out, and that he was gunning for one more, seriously impressive guest performer: Skin, lead singer of Skunk Anansie.

“It’s all just great rock and roll, that's the only way to describe it,” Lemmy stated of what to expect. “Some of it is bluesy and some isn’t. It’s not Motörhead, but obviously there are elements in common.”

Heartbreakingly, this would be the last major update we’d get on False Teeth For The Deaf during its lynchpin’s lifetime. Motörhead called its gruff-voiced autocrat back for one last album, Bad Magic, in 2015. Then, on December 28, Lemmy died of prostate cancer, just four days following his 70th birthday. The decade-spanning hope of hearing rock and roll’s loudest voice do its own thing was seemingly silenced.

It was a surprise, then, when further news broke in 2017. Jim Voxx – the guitarist of Skew Siskin, who collaborated with Lemmy more than a decade beforehand – declared that he had long been the producer for the False Teeth For The Deaf project and that the finishing touches on making its recordings fit for public consumption were underway.

“[Lemmy] wanted to take his time,” Voxx told Metal Talk. “It was the total opposite of working with Motörhead because he had to do it in his free time between the Motörhead work. I gave him the possibility to come here and work in the studio whenever he needed, and step-by-step we got the songs together.

“We have 10 songs, and we thought it would have been released a long time ago, but when Lemmy got ill, we stopped working on it, but the recordings were all done.”

Voxx added that the fate of False Teeth For The Deaf was ultimately in the hands of Motörhead’s management. However, he optimistically concluded by saying that he was picturing an end-of-2017 release date for the album.

That was seven years ago, though. It’s 2024 now, and we still haven’t heard a note from this long-rumoured, long-anticipated piece of hard rock history. If what Voxx said is to be believed, then it seems that the team monitoring Motörhead’s legacy currently has a completed Lemmy album sitting under their desk, gathering dust. Considering the amount of household-famous names attached to it, we can’t fathom why these recordings have stayed private for so long.

That is, unless they’re crap. But, let’s be honest: Lemmy never, ever dealt in crap.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.