Still, at least Lemmy told Nigel that being in a band called The Queerboys wasn’t such a good idea…
The first bass that I ever bought was a black Rickenbacker, chosen because Lemmy had one. He was such an influence on me, it was an honour that he became a friend.
I first met him at the St Moritz Club in Wardour Street, opposite the old Marquee club. He’d stand there at the fruit machine and the head would tilt whenever someone walked down the stairs. If he knew you, there’d be a nod. I started to get that nod, which led to a “Hello, mate” and from there to “Do you want a drink?” When I told him I had joined this band The Queerboys, who became The Quireboys, Lemmy’s reply was, “You’ve got to change that name, mate.” And of course the pressure made us do just that, so he was quite right.
On one of those St Moritz nights I told him that The Queerboys were going out on tour for the first time, but I was worried because I only had one bass. He said to meet him back there the following day. Sure enough, there he stood at the fruit machine holding a Telecaster bass copy in shocking pink. “Here – take that, and make sure you bring it back.” Spike and Guy Bailey couldn’t believe it… “Lemmy lent you that?” I’m still not sure if he was taking the piss because we were called The Queerboys.
After The Quireboys dissolved, I moved to Los Angeles. Walking into the Rainbow, there he was at the trivia machine – it was like a parallel universe. We exchanged numbers for the first time and I loved that he would always pick up or call me back, from wherever he was in the world. When we got together, either of two things would happen. He’d suggest going to the Rainbow or I would go over to his place. Usually he’d have a new song or a demo to play or we’d sit and watch the History Channel because I’m also into World War Two. Sometimes we’d drink or he’d stand there and cook chips – just normal shit.
I’m also a collector of WWII stuff and there was a time when I was broke, The Quireboys had reunited and I was flying back and forth, which is ultimately why I left. I decided to sell a Nazi dagger and offered Lemmy first refusal. When I called he said, “So you’re broke, then?” “No, no, no, I just need the space.” The fucking thing was only nine inches long!
I took it over. His own daggers were pristine and displayed on the wall; mine was a bit rusty. “It’s not very good, is it? I’ll give you three hundred dollars.” I was very happy with the price. Lemmy said, “The money’s over there” and gestured to the corner of the room where it was crumpled up, having fallen out of his pants the night before.
I cobbled together the notes, and at the end of the night, as I was leaving, he said, “You’ve forgotten something” – the dagger. I left it on the mantelpiece and said I’d collect it another time, but he knew what I was going through and he wanted to help.
When I broke up with my wife and for some strange reason ended up in jail, somehow Lemmy found out and suggested meeting at the Rainbow. He wanted to buy me drinks after what I’d been through.
Bereavements are always difficult, but this one is tougher to take than most. Even though we knew Lemmy was ill everyone thought he’d be around for ever. I was thrilled when Matt Sorum, the musical director, invited me to play at his 70th birthday party. At such a Who’s Who of rock’n’roll, I was probably the least famous person onstage but – as Matt pointed out – I knew Lemmy for longer than most of those that performed.
There was a big rehearsal; it was well organised. I played one song, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, with Matt, Matt’s wife Ace Harper, and Gilby Clarke. Afterwards I went to the Rainbow and Lemmy was in there playing the trivia machine. I noticed he was talking less than usual but with so many people buzzing around him didn’t pay too much notice. The game finished and, like so many times before, I suggested we play another.
At the gig, he sat and watched from a throne, which I thought was hilarious. Right at the end, Headcat played Happy Birthday to him and he was meant to get up and do Ace Of Spades with them but that didn’t happen. Things were so manic inside the Whisky that our final conversation was there at the trivia machine. I’m really glad that we had that final personal moment together. I’m really gonna miss him.
Remembering Lemmy: The Funny Guy – Ade Edmondson
Lemmy was Peter Richardson’s [founder of the Comic Strip comedy group] mate so I’d meet him at Pete’s house, at parties. When Motörhead played on our show The Young Ones [in 1984] it was one of the most exciting things I’d ever seen. It’s a niche sound and a brilliant sound, made even more brilliant live. It’s a bit like what Rik [Mayall] and I had been doing on stage. Our comedy went at 100 miles an hour.
Lemmy was one of the Comic Strip crowd and appeared in a few of the TV shows. Bad News was the major meeting – we played at Donington and Motörhead were on. We did some filming with him and I interviewed him for about an hour. Thirty seconds was in the film, but he was very witty and his brain was in good order.
When we were recording the Bad News album, he came down with Phil [Taylor] to the studio. He got out an enormous bag of speed, sort of half a dustbin bag full with a shoehorn in it, which he offered around. He just shoehorned speed into his mouth. I’d never seen anything like it. It stuck in my mind and I met him at another of Pete’s parties soon after that. I said to him, “I’m still thinking about that shoehorn full of speed, how many drugs do you take?” And he told me. So I said, “How are you still alive?” He said, “I think if I stopped I’d probably die, this is what my body expects.”
Lemmy had an aura of being a hard-nosed rock god but he could talk very cogently about anything in the news in a very thoughtful and un-rock-like way. He could see things from a different perspective and it made the world much more interesting.
Remembering Lemmy: The Minder – Nik Moore
One time I went round Lemmy’s flat in LA, I guess about eight years ago, and he did his usual: got me a pint glass, filled it half-full with Jack Daniel’s and said, “Coke’s in the fridge!” So I went to the fridge and there were 12 bottles of Mateus Rosé in there. I said, “What the fuck is this?” And he said, “Well, I’ve been diagnosed recently with mild diabetes, so I drink that stuff during the day and Jack Daniel’s at night.” That was the Lemmy logic…
Around the same year I was on tour with him in Melbourne, in Australia. I was chatting to Lemmy backstage when suddenly security guards walked towards us. One shouted, “Get in the side room!” I was like, “Who’s coming, the Queen?” I looked over and it was Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe. It wasn’t as if he was going onstage; it was the afternoon! Ridiculous! I started arguing with the security guard, and Lemmy pulled me aside and said, “He’s not worth it, Nik” – with a smile on his face. He always looked out for other people.
Remembering Lemmy: The Fan (No.2) – Robert Kiewik
I guess you would call me a Motörhead superfan. Over 20 years I saw well over 200 Motörhead shows on four continents. In the end, Lemmy and me became good friends; I would visit him whenever I was in LA and he always made time for me.
I remember him coming home early from rehearsals with Dave Grohl for his Probot project, as I was leaving LA the next morning. “I’ll be home at six,” he said – and he was. He texted me to buy four packets of blueberries at the supermarket before I popped round. He loved those. He put on a CD by 60s rock’n’roll band The Escorts and, I kid you not, he sung along to every song on the album.
He loved getting Kinder Eggs, opening them up while enjoying the taste of milk chocolate and then putting the toys together. Always an eventful sight. He loved showing me his daggers, and was proud whenever he got an addition to his collection. His knowledge was incredible. I just used to sit there next to him in admiration.