1.26.2014

Let's Talk About Lemmy Kilmister and Motorhead Some More

I love "Aftershock," the new record by Motorhead. I've been talking about it for days. Today, I decided to expand my knowledge of this great rock-n-roll band and it's legendary front man, song writer, and rock god, Lemmy Kilmister. Because I had the time...

I have loved Motorhead's rock-n-roll - simple, brutal, and pure - for a long time, even though it took a while to grow on me (I was more of a Black Sabbath fan growing up). I actually became a fan of one of Lemmy's earlier bands, Hawkwind, before immersing myself in the Motorhead repertoire. The music is quite simply perfect. That is, it is genuine. What you hear, in eardrum splitting volume, is what you get (incidentally, Motorhead made the Guiness Book of World Records as the world's loudest band). Nothing deep, just amazingly heavy.

What impresses me most about this new record is that it rocks just as hard as any record before it, if not harder. Lemmy is 67 years old and has been partying hard since the sixties, only recently slowing down due to health concerns. Considering the hard partying lifestyle he is legendary for, that is amazing.

Lemmy is one of the most creative rock-n-roll songwriters I have heard when it comes to doing a lot with a little. He does amazing things with simple pentatonic riffs. There are some great sounds created on his recordings, perhaps in part due to his time with Hawkwind, a band that worked a lot with electronics and recording technology. But a lot of it also has to do with the harmonic movement of the guitar lines over the driving bass riffs. He plays his bass with the mid-range cranked up and the lows and highs cut back, which makes the bass cut through like a guitar, and the amplifiers distort as a result of the high mid-range volumes. I might try that on my bass rig some time.

Lemmy wrote an autobiography called, "White Line Fever," published in 2002.

No one is sure how Lemmy got his name, not even Lemmy. He was born Ian Fraser Kilmister. Legend has it he got the name Lemmy as a derivative of the phrase "lend me," while in school, because he used to ask his class mates, "Lend me a quid till Friday." Sounds plausible. He is also a notorious gambler and lives in a simple 2-bedroom apartment in L.A.

I found out there is a movie about Lemmy, called "Lemmy," and I want to see it. I read this blog post about the film by a fiction writer, Jon Konrath, who did see it: http://rumored.com/2011/06/10/10-things-i-learned-from-the-lemmy-documentary/

The post made me realize that although Lemmy is a legend, he is also a man. Off stage he is actually a pretty average man. I can relate to that. I am a pretty average man myself, who adopts a rock star persona for live music performances. It is kind of like two different lives, completely partitioned from one another. My stage persona is a theatrical extrovert, while my real life persona, in which I actually spend 99% of my time, is a quiet introvert.

There is something else I admire about Lemmy. He is a remarkably singular man, traveling this world very much alone, and that is something I can relate to both literally and figuratively as a devoted rock-n-roller myself, who often puts my art above my friendships and relationships. I don't have many strong friendships and many romantic relationships have failed because I pursue my art too selfishly, causing me to seem insensitive sometimes. On the other hand, I have never been happy in a relationship that did not foster my art and creativity. I can't go more than a weak with some sort of musical indulgence.

On the other hand, I have far fewer indulgences than Lemmy himself. I am not going to go into that topic too much for two reasons. One, I prefer to view Lemmy as more than a mortal man, as something of an unimpeachable demi-god. But also because I don't judge people for their behavior in life. If he can handle that hard partying lifestyle and not hurt people, who am I to make a big deal out of it? Best leave that alone. He's succeeded.

Lemmy has at least one son, Paul Inder, that he is close with, and possibly another son, named Sean, who he has no contact with.

Here are a couple of videos you may find interesting if you are exploring the rock-n-roll and legend that is Lemmy and Motorhead.

MOVIE TRAILER FOR "LEMMY"


DOCUMENTARY: "MOTORHEAD - LIVE FAST DIE OLD"

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