RIP Lemmy Kilmister
Today we attended Lemmy Kilmister’s Memorial Event…To celebrate the man, and the legend.
Attending in honor of Lemmy were: Sharon, Ozzy and Geezer. Dave Grohl, who testified to what Motorhead meant to him. And Lars Ulrich, who told the story of the time he first met Lem, as an 18 year old kid with big dreams, went to visit Lem at the Sunset Marquis and in short order threw up on himself. And Triple H, who waxed poetic about the love he had for the man. And Rob Halford, Slash, Duff, Scott Ian, Eric Singer. And many more.
My own story involved meeting Lem in 1974, or perhaps it was in early 1975, when his band HAWKWIND (named after sci-fi/fantasy writer’s Michael Moorcock’s book of the same name, which I read and loved as a teenager) opened for KISS somewhere in Middle America. Hawkwind was a psychedelic rock band, eclectic, with a wonderful 6’2” belly dancer: Stacia.
Lem and I didn’t meet up again until a few years later. And continued to run into each other backstage at shows, or at big festivals, when Motorhead would be on the bill…always with a big “How are you.” And a welcoming hug.
A few years ago, I was filming a TV show called ROCK SCHOOL. It was filmed in England (1st season at Christ Church Hospital). I was teaching young 14 year olds to put down the booze and the hooch, and pick up an instrument and learn to care about something else in life, like putting together a rock band, and writing your own song for the first time. And they did.
And the transformation of these young people into committed rockers, who cared, was inspiring. But, how do I end the 1st season on an up?...After these young people did all the work, what’s the payoff? So, I called Lem and his management, who happened to be playing London at the time and they kindly agreed to let this new band, who had never played or recorded anywhere, open up for MOTORHEAD at the sold out Hammersmith Odeon, in London England.
Backstage before the show, the kids were nervous as hell, as you can imagine. I walked into Lemmy’s room and thanked him for giving them a chance. And he responded quite naturally, that someone had once given him a chance. I said thank you again, and said I had to go into the young band’s room to bolster their confidence level before they went on stage.
Lemmy immediately stood up and despite my objections, walked into the new band’s room, and what I saw, were young, wide eyed kids getting the schooling of their life, from someone who’d been there and done that. And more importantly, he reminded the kids that once upon a time, he was them. And that anything is possible.
And that night, these young rockers went out there with fire in their veins, and rocked the house.
That was Lemmy.
Unassuming. Non judgemental. With a heart of gold.
I never heard anyone, fan or other bands ever say anything bad about Lem.
I’ve certainly heard “Asshole” thrown my way, once or twice. But never at Lemmy.
A great man.
Lemmy was mostly, comfortable in his own skin. And perhaps that’s something we can all learn from.
- Gene Simmons