"I'm not going to thank anybody. None of you f**kers have ever given us a hand. You didn't do anything": Why Motorhead's Lemmy always hated the Grammy Awards

Motorhead at the 2015 Grammys
(Image credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

On February 15, 2016, Alice Cooper's Hollywood Vampires paid tribute to Lemmy by performing Ace Of Spades as a posthumous tribute to Motörhead's legendary leader, who passed away just 6 weeks earlier, on December 28, 2015, aged 70.

The night also featured tribute to other iconic musicians who had passed away in 2015, including David Bowie and Glenn Frey. After the event, however, the show's producer, Ken Ehrlich, admitted that he hadn't actually planned the tribute to Motörhead's frontman, but had been pushed into it by one of Lemmy's closest friends.

"I will confess I didn’t have a lot of Motörhead on my iPad," he told Billboard. "The metalheads have Dave Grohl to thank for that, because when I asked Dave if he would introduce that segment, he said, 'I’ll do it – if you do something for Lemmy'."

That Lemmy would otherwise been overlooked at the music industry's most high-profile annual event would have come as no surprise whatsoever to the great man.

Few bands were less interested in playing the corporate game than Motörhead. In 1992, when the band were nominated for the first time at the Grammys, with 1916 included in the Best Metal Performance category, it was a rare gesture of acknowledgement from an industry which had largely sought to keep a safe, respectable distance from the band. Given that his band have been ripped off, dismissed and patronized within the industry for decades, Lemmy viewed the accolade - and the ceremony itself - with a certain amount of wry detachment, witheringly observing "everyone was dressed in hired penguin tuxedos, trying to look as much as possible like the motherfuckers who were stealing their money."

"We don't play the game," Lemmy snorted. "I had a great speech ready in the event we had won. I was going to say, I'm not going to thank anybody. None of you fuckers have ever given us a hand. You didn't do anything."

Sadly, the assembled suits never got to hear this wry tribute, as Motörhead lost out on the night to Metallica's self-titled 'Black' album. Ironically when they did finally win a Grammy, in 2005, they did so with a cover of Metallica's Whiplash, the second time they were nominated for covering a track by a band who took so much influence from them, having also been nominated in 1999 for their version of Enter Sandman.

"They got the knife in even then," sniffed an unimpressed Lemmy after being informed of Motörhead's triumph. "It was like, 'We still don't think you're any good, but we gotta give you an award cos you've been going for 30 fucking years'."

Lemmy: the most honest man in the music business until the day he died.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.