One of Rock’s mightiest Gods has returned home.
Motörhead’s brash frontman Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister died unexpectedly Monday, just two days after being diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer.
“We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words,” surviving band members (Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee) said in their official Facebook post that confirmed the news.
Born on Christmas Day 1945, the legendary growler began his music career playing in local bands like “The Rockin’ Vicars” and doing odd jobs as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix, a gig Lemmy spoke fondly of in many interviews.
Soon after, Lemmy would join Hawkwind, a psychadelic rock outfit that dabbled in space, time and frequent drug use. Lemmy would record four albums (“Doremi Fasol Latido,” “Space Ritual,” “Hall of the Mountain Grill” and “Warrior on the Edge of Time”) with Hawkwind until being fired upon being arrested for drug possession crossing the Canadian boarder.
The firing would turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Lemmy.
Taking the name from a Hawkwind song, our hero would forge a legacy in 1975 with Motörhead. While the band was originally called “Bastard,” no major marketing or promotion would touch a band with that name at the time. The original name would take a back seat until 1993 when Motörhead would release “Bastards,” their 11th studio album.
22 Studio albums later, Motörhead would become a household name, leaving a trail of lineup changes, debauchery and bleeding eardrums in their wake. They would rise to superstardom with 1980’s “Ace of Spades” and ride off into the sunset with 2015’s “Bad Magic.”
During his long music career, Lemmy would lend his voice and talents to a number of artists, most famously writing the Ozzy Osbourne hit “Mama I’m Coming Home” off of 1991’s “No More Tears.” Later he would lend his voice to game developer Double Fine’s heavy metal video game “Brutal Legend” as “The Killmaster,” a sorcerer who aids you in your quest. He would also exclusively use Marshall amplifiers and Rickenbacker basses to not only compliment his playing but to generate his pick-heavy, aggressive sound.
Lemmy was infamously known (and often criticized by the media) for collecting World War II Nazi memorabilia. In his 2004 autobiography “White Line Fever” (and a plethora of interviews) he said, “I’ve had three black girlfriends, so I’m the worst racist you ever saw.”
Brash, bold and always on, Lemmy was beloved by all. Whether you were a fan of his or not, you respected him and supported his ultimate quest for the riff. The 2010 documentary “Lemmy” gives us an intimate look as his life on and off the road.
A great number of Lemmy’s peers in the industry as well as saddened fans gave their condolences via social media.
Living by the mantra “born to lose, live to win,” Lemmy was the embodiment of rebellion and he carried it with him for his entire life, sticking to his guns until the end. His dedicated fanbase hanging on his every word, adorning their bodies with tattoos of Motörhead artwork, lyrics, and of the man himself. The man built a reputation on being as bad-ass as his music and his legacy will live on.