Too soon. Way too fucking soon. I was supposed to go and see Lemmy tomorrow to say goodbye, but instead I’m staring at a screen I can barely see through the tears, knowing that no matter what I say I can never do him justice. And Lemmy would have hated tears, so let’s not, eh? Even though this is the greatest loss of all and the world just got a lot less special, let’s not.
Crank some Motörhead up. Overkill, Bomber, Ace Of Fucking Spades, Rock Out, Thunder And Lightning… Remember that man, that fucking legend. He’s the reason you have a permanent ringing sound in your ears, and if ever there was a time to be thankful for that, it is now. All those mornings after, with the worst hangovers, thinking you might have gone completely deaf this time. Remember that. Never forget that.
Besides, the best way to get rid of the ringing sound is to crank some Motörhead up.
Apparently they ran out of Jack Daniels at the Rainbow last night, and the bar manager could be heard desperately yelling, “He drank vodka as well, you know!” Lem would have liked that, especially if it was delivered like Basil Fawlty. We were going to watch some Fawlty Towers tomorrow, have a few last vodkas, but he died in front of his beloved games machine, transported down the road from his spot at the Rainbow, and that is beautiful. Perfect Lemmy. He didn’t wanna live forever.
Sorry, there are tears again now. Let’s try not to. Lemmy would have wanted a laugh. Orange Goblin are in the Crobar in London knocking back shots, and the jukebox won’t play anything but Motörhead and Hawkwind. Seriously, don’t try to put anything else on, you’ll get killed! And none of those bands would have existed without Motörhead anyway, none of them. Remember that, too. Lemmy owed us nothing, we owed him everything, including that one last hangover.
It’s okay if you’re not ready for that yet. It’s going to be a bitch waking up fully clothed with one of those headaches, knowing that Lemmy has gone. He’d find it amusing to be trending on Twitter, finally trendy at last, but the fact is that Lemmy touched thousands of lives, and made every single one of them better, often quite profoundly. Motörhead wasn’t just a band, it was a way of life, a righteous way of life, a family with brothers and sisters around the world. Several generations. And, man, it hurts to have lost him. You might want to steer clear of Till The End. That one stings.
And it’s going to sting for a while yet, probably slap you around the face a few times, but with that comes all those brilliant stories, all those brilliant memories. Christ, that man lived a hell of a life. Born to lose, live to win! Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister 1945-2015. Every time you hit refresh there’s another picture, another song, another crazy tale, another set of scars to boast… We’re talking one of a kind, serious legend. There is no one even close, nor will there ever be again. And still the stories keep coming…
Lemmy was a giant of a man.
Sorry, that’s not much a sentence, but it’s true, and it’s all there is. It’s too soon. Lemmy was a giant. Don’t ever forget that. He was a true gentleman to his very core, a giant and yet so down to earth, and so magnificently honest. Forgive me if I’m rambling. Like I said, it’s too soon. My head hurts. This isn’t some album review or press release, my dear friend and yours has gone, and so has Motörhead, and it’s hard not to think for a moment that rock ‘n’ roll is pointless now. Trust me, Lemmy would really hate that, so let’s not. It was less than a month ago that Motörhead played their final gig, Bomber and all, at the end of another European tour. Lemmy was the embodiment of rock ‘n’ roll and he played it right until the end. He waited until after his 70th birthday party to go, didn’t want to miss Billy Idol and Slash and Steve Jones and everyone. Seventy’s a good number. It was us who thought he was immortal.
I first met Lemmy on 28th July 1981, a horrible little seventeen-year-old punk rocker, drunk and wired on speed. He gave me a drink that tasted of blackcurrant and made me a lot more drunk. I didn’t have a pen, so he went and got one so he could sign my Ace Of Spades shirt. He was already a legend, this mythical badass in wrap around shades, surrounded by Hells Angels. I wore that shirt until it died. I got a motorbike and started following Motörhead tours in 1984. And Lemmy always did have a soft spot for punk rockers with speed.
It’s taken all day, but that’s raised a smile. Those were good times, hanging out with Lemmy in some strange den of inequity, the Embassy or the St Moritz, as he ruthlessly fed coins into the fruit machine, chain smoking Marlboro reds, always with a Jack and Coke in hand. He was always at the Marquee, too, and Dingwalls. That was where he saved my life.
News just in, a local newspaper has gone with the headline, ‘Doubt over Motörhead’s gig next month following death of frontman Lemmy Kilmister’. Bless them for that; Lemmy would’ve howled with laughter, that glorious, unrepentant nicotine cackle. And there’s a cool cartoon of Lemmy showing up at the gates of heaven demanding to know what time the bar opens. He’d have liked that, too, although he never liked religion. People would tell Lemmy he was God, and he’d laugh, “No, God’s taller, she’s much taller.”
So, here we are. Sunrise wrong side of another day. Today we’ll smile because that’s what Lemmy would have wanted. The Burgundy Room in Hollywood played Ace Of Spades and set the bar on fire, and still the tributes and the stories come pouring in. [Stone Sour drummer] Roy Mayorga has this great tale of Lemmy sunbathing between two tour buses that were belching out fumes, just sitting there in his Speedoes with a drink and a smoke. Another of Lemmy’s great friends, Steffan Chirazi, tells of a ten hour bus ride where Lem was holed up in the back lounge with this gorgeous stripper telling her in great detail about the sinking of the Titanic. Now is the time to share those tales and never forget.
That time we went to Crazy Girls in Hollywood and the doorman asked to see Lemmy’s ID. “I’m 64!” he protested, before spending a small fortune on lap dances. That time he turned up at my 40th birthday party and people kept going, “Dude, Lemmy’s in the kitchen!” That time doing speed and Jack Daniels on the tour bus at the House Of Blues in Disneyland with Lemmy growling about how much he hated Mickey Mouse! That time going to see Motörhead in Cambridge and waking up in Guildford! Those many, many times we were foolish enough to try and match him drink for drink…
Never forget that Lemmy loved his life. He lived utterly without compromise until the last, proud and unrepentant, everything louder than everything else, no remorse, no regrets. Even that bastard cancer had to sneak up on him, afraid to look him in the eye. It is an honour to have been his friend.
And now it’s probably time for that drink. Enough tears. We’ll go to a grotty dive bar somewhere, any place that has Motörhead on the jukebox, get hammered and jump around like idiots, raise some hell. Live life to the full. Most of all we’ll be thankful, blessed to have shared this man’s fantastic life for even a second. Thank you, Lemmy. For everything.