Fish remembers Lemmy as ‘huge romantic’

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Fish has paid tribute to Lemmy, describing the Motorhead and Hawkwind icon as “a huge romantic with a passionate lyrical bent.”

The 70-year-old died on December 28, two days after being told he had an aggressive form of cancer.

Recalling long nights of conversation in London clubs during the 1980s, ex-Marillion vocalist Fish says: “We’d rattle off on our favourite subject of history, and especially World War 2.

“He was a highly knowledgeable and intelligent guy with strong opinions as well as being a huge romantic with a passionate lyrical bent. I really enjoyed his company back then.

“He came up to North Berwick in 1987 to attend my first wedding – much to the surprise and amusement of fellow guests, who he totally charmed and captivated with stories. He was a charming and sensitive man totally outwith his rough desperado image.”

The pair lost contact in later years, and Fish admits to being disappointed when they last met in the 1990s. “I saw him was in the Rainbow Rooms in LA, where he was, as always, totally locked into a gaming machine. We exchanged few words as it was obvious he was somewhere else and not open to conversation with anybody.

“I heard later that he was dealing with a lot of dark issues around that time. A man in need of space and who, despite his huge popularity, always came across to me as someone who preferred his own company. I always sensed a sadness behind those laughing eyes and the wide wicked smiles.”

Henry Rollins writes in his LA Weekly column: “Lemmy once told that he remembered before there was rock’n’roll. The statement blew my mind.

“He said there was a time when it was just your parents’ Rosemary Clooney records. Then he heard Elvis, Chuck Berry and other originals, and never came back. In the next breath, he talked about seeing The Beatles play in the Cavern Club.

“I realised that the man was there when they were building the foundation. Oh, and then there’s the part where he used to be on Hendrix’s road crew.”

Rollins continues: “There was really nothing you could tell Lemmy about how it’s done. In fact, you can’t tell the story of rock’n’roll without him.

“This is not grief-fuelled hyperbole because I’m not grieving. The man lived his life his way and had a great time doing it. I’m willing to bet he wouldn’t have changed a thing.”

Scott Ian has shared his memory of a journey with Lemmy when Anthrax and Motorhead were both playing the Sweden Rock Festival. He tells Rolling Stone: “We pull over at a convenience store and Lemmy goes in, and comes out with a bottle of Jim Beam, a litre of Coke and three Hustler mags.

“He pours three-quarters of the Coke out onto the street and fills it with Jim Beam, and we get in the van and go. He goes to hand me the bottle and I go, ‘No, Lem, I’m good right now.’ He goes, ‘Are you hung over?’ ‘No, it’s like 11.30 in the morning – it’s just too early for me.’ ‘Okay, more for me.’

“Over the next 30 minutes, he finished that litre of Jim Beam and Coke, then finished the rest of the Jim Beam and read his Hustler mags. He stepped out of the van at the Sweden Rock Festival – and the guy was straight as an arrow. It didn’t make a dent.

“I’ve spent many moments like that with him over the years, but sitting in the van for 90 minutes bullshitting with him about whatever. All of a sudden he was just a dude looking at Hustler, laughing at the cartoons.”

Meanwhile, organisers behind the Motorhead For No.1 campaign – who aim to push Ace Of Spades to the top of the UK singles chart – have issued details on the best way to buy downloads or stream the track, so that they count towards the final position on January 8.