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Stop calling Lemmy a Nazi, says Motörhead’s Phil Campbell

Lemmy Kilmister and Phil Campbell of Motorehad
(Image credit: Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

The late, lamented Motörhead legend Lemmy Kilmister was known for his interest in war memorabilia, and particularly items from the German forces of World War II.

That meant the Motörhead leader was occasionally accused of being something of a Nazi sympathiser – and apparently, even some fans of the band remain under that impression, as a recent social media exchange proved.

A supporter in South America tweeted of Lemmy: “Although he had his Nazi tendency, he has always seemed to me the best rocker in history... of course after Hendrix, whose assistant he was at concerts.”

That earned a response from Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell, who said: “FYI, Lemmy DID NOT have any Nazi tendencies. He was a historian.” Another of Kilmister’s collaborators, Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats, added: “Phil Campbell is 100% correct and I will vouch for this true statement all day long.” Campbell responded: “Thanks Jim, we should know.”

Speaking in 2009, Lemmy explained: “I only collect the stuff, I didn’t collect the ideas. I’ve always liked a good uniform. Throughout history, it’s always been the bad guy who dressed the best. Napoleon, the Confederates, the Nazis… If [England] had a good uniform, I’d collect ours as well, but what does the British Army have? Khaki.”

In a separate interview he reflected on being regarded as racist because of his collection. “If I was a university professor teaching it as a degree I wouldn’t get that,” he argued, before explaining: “I dislike religion quite intensely, actually. It’s been the cause of all the grief in the world ever since they discovered the first stone to worship. … I mean Nazism and Communism are religions too, make no mistake, with Hitler and Stalin as God, right? It’s the same thing.”

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Freelance Online News Contributor

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.