I was hoping that we would be kicking off the new year on a much happier note but it is impossible for me to write the first piece of the year and not to dedicate it to my hero Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister who so recently passed away.
The undeniably huge impact that Lemmy’s music has had on Rock ‘n’ Roll both with Hawkwind and with Motӧrhead has been well documented and anything I would write here could only be an understatement. The only thing that I will say concerning that matter is that for me personally and as a member of Shinigami, Motӧrhead’s musical influence, as well as Lemmy’s songwriting, attitude and larger than life personality have been an unparalleled influence.
My desire to play this music and to be in a band was fueled since the beginning by what Lemmy stood for, and to this day there is no greater rush than to play one of his numbers live!
I will use the rest of the space I have here to share with you the story of when I met the great man himself as well as Phill Campbell and Mikkey Dee.
It was back in October of 2003 and Motӧrhead were to play the refectory of Leeds University. I was studying there, and on the day of the gig was having lunch in the refectory along with my brother and a mate of ours. The roadies had began setting up the stage and the three of us were hyped in anticipation of the show. Then, suddenly, we see a roadie walking by, carrying a box of stuff with a bottle of Jack Daniels sticking out. We looked at each other because it could only mean one thing: Lemmy was somewhere around!!
We got up and strolled to the exit keeping our eyes peeled for a sight of the Man in Black and sure enough as soon as we set foot on the street we saw him walking towards the building. Seeing us in our leather jackets and Motӧrhead t-shirts he tipped his hat like the true gentleman that he was and he stopped to have a chat with us. He happily signed my copy of his autobiography that had just been released, as well as the Stone Deaf Forever Box Set, and posed for photographs before we all walked back in the refectory.
There we met Phill and Mikkey who were as friendly and obliging as Lemmy, and then the real shock came: when my mate asked Phill if he would sign his guitars Phill said that he would be more than happy to do so. The only problem was that my friend was (as you would imagine) not carrying his guitars with him. “Not a problem” said Phill, as the band invited us to attend their sound check a couple of hours later giving my friend enough time to run home and get his axes.
That was MOTӦRHEAD inviting us – three kids that they had just met – to their sound check! It was insane! We were there a couple of hours later and boy were we in for a treat… We had our own little private Motӧrhead show, which to my surprise included my all-time favorite track Stay Clean. As you can imagine, we were starstruck to say the least but Lemmy, Phill and Mickey where once again nothing but friendly and nice! Needless to say their show that night kicked ass as always.
As the news of Lemmy’s passing hit me three weeks ago I reflected on that day. And later when I read what musical giants like Lars Ulrich of Metallica had written following the sad news, of how Motӧrhead had embraced them as teenagers in the late 70s and early 80s, inviting them to their tour busses and studio recordings, I could not help thinking that 20 years on, 13 studio albums later and with countless of miles of touring under his belt Lemmy was still a nice guy and a gentleman the day we met as I‘m sure he was up until the end.