by David Necro
Photos by: RC and Robert John.
Once every generation, there comes an artistic force that can't be ignored. What would you say about such a force has been around for almost 2 generations? Yes, that's right the band in question is Motörhead, led by guiding light Lemmy Kilmister, has been around for 35 years now. From slugging in out in the most depraved night clubs to headlining mega-festivals, this band has lived (and continues to do so) the rock n' roll dream. If you don't know what the rock n' roll dream is, I'm not gonna tell ya. You have to know what it is inside yourselves. Anyway, there is no end in sight to their chemistry, debauchery, and loud and proud sound. The band harnesses loudness and feedback and shapes it into brutal yet melodic tunes for the ages. With a lyrical bent that makes you think and wonder at the same time. I can gush all day about this band. It's true. But, I'll stop there. All you need to do is listen to one of the most consistent catalogs of rock music and hear for yourself. And what about Lemmy, the subject of this interview? He is simply the living, breathing embodiment of rock n' roll in many an opinion. More fact than anything else. To get this chance to interview him was an honor to say the least. I your humble servant, did so and here are the results. Read, and rock, on...
David Necro: Ok, Motörhead is now 35 years old, correct?
Lemmy Kilmister: Nah, 36.
DN: I thought you started in '75?
Lemmy: Oh yeah, that's right.
DN: How do you keep that going for so long?
Lemmy: Well, you don't give up. That's the easiest way. Why would you give up a job like this?
DN: I dunno. What are the perks?
Lemmy: Well, you get to travel all over the world to places people only dream of. Fuck women of all shapes, sizes, colors, and religious creeds. And make people happier than they ever knew. I can't think of a better gig than that.
DN: So, how are you gonna keep it goin'?
Lemmy: Well, you know how to do it now. So, you just do it, you know? I've never imagined giving it up. Until I can't physically do it.
DN: Do you have anything planned for your 35th anniversary?
Lemmy: Oh no. Fuck no. I hate that shit. Anniversarys are a real pain in the neck. The last one we did was at the Cafe Royale in London I think. It was fucking awful. And then the band that was playing there wouldn't let us use their instruments, so we couldn't play a couple of songs. It's great, isn't it?
DN: But you'll do an anniversary concert, correct?
Lemmy: Yeah, yeah.
DN: There in London, maybe?
Lemmy: I dunno, no plans.
DN: Are you doing a new studio album?
Lemmy: Yeah, we're going in at the end of March.
DN: Ok, and that will be out later this year, correct?
DN: In your songwriting, how do you continually come up with ideas?
Lemmy: I mostly write about injustice, war, and sex. There's no shortage of that, you know?
DN: This is true.
Lemmy: There's always a song here (points to his head.) You can't sing about the same thing forever, you know because people don't wanna hear about that, right? Sex and death,basically.
DN: That's what I'm into!
Lemmy: Sex is desirable, and death is unavoidable, right?
DN: Yeah, what the Hell. When you play festivals, how do you like that as opposed to a small club?
Lemmy: I like festivals because you get access to all people, but I also like small places because it's more close to the crowd. But, either one's good.
DN: What is the state of the world, in your opinion? Is history repeating itself?
Lemmy: Yeah, it always does. Because nobody reads history. So they don't recognize it when it happens again, you know.
DN: What do you think of Obama?
Lemmy: I think Obama is in a very difficult place. Because he's getting stooped every fucking time he turns around, right? Because you kept Republicans in the government; that was a mistake obviously.He should have had Dick Cheney as his running mate; I'm sure that would have been more popular than Joe Biden. Sarah Palin, she's the one that impresses me. Jesus Christ, cookoo. What's the point of even talking to the woman, she's like nuts.
DN: She's a "damage case?"
Lemmy: The fucking woman's a flake.
DN: You are a very well-known patron of the Rainbow Bar & Grill in Hollywood. What about that place appeals to you, and why do you frequent there so often?
Lemmy: It's the only place that's pure rock n' roll, you know. It was built on rock n' roll, it serves rock n' roll. There's a lot of history in that place, you know. I mean Lennon hung out there for a year while he was on that separation from Yoko Ono. Jimmy Page and Bonham and all them were in there, raising Hell. It's a great place. Fuckin' some of the things you wouldn't believe, the shit that went down in there.
DN: And you were there with Hawkwind, correct?
Lemmy: Yeah. That would be '73, the first time. That was a year after it (The Rainbow) opened.
DN: Was it the first time you came to America?
DN: What did you think of America when you first arrived?
Lemmy: I thought it was very big. Because I come from England, which is very small.
DN: Just that simple?
Lemmy: To start with, you are overwhelmed with the size of the place. You drive across Texas; you can fit England in it 4 times. So, that's one of the impressions. You can get laid a lot. That was a good eye opener. You didn't have to beg for 14 days. You could get laid immediately, it's great. And the weather of sourse, you know. Especially in the western (states.) That's why I moved to L.A. I've been there 20 years...
DN: And you like Las Vegas as well, true?
Lemmy: Yeah, I come here quite a bit...
DN: What about L.A. do you like? Just the weather, girls, everything?
Lemmy: I'm a shallow entertainment-level person. I don't look at the deep meaning of life anymore either. I know the deep meaning of life. I've seen it.
DN: Who do you think is the best British rock band besides Motörhead? Iron Maiden?
Lemmy: The Beatles were the best band to ever come out of England. And the Stones, maybe. I mean it's impossible. There's so many good bands that came out of England.
DN: Yeah, you were lumped in with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. But, you're not Heavy Metal.
Lemmy: Well, we were too late for the first one, and too early for the next one. We were too late for the Deep Purple one, and too early for the Iron Maiden one.
DN: Why do people think your early albums are better than your more current ones?
Lemmy: Because they were 16 when they came out. That's what they think of, you know?
DN: So, nostalgia factor?
Lemmy: It stays with you forever when you're 15, 16. That's the best music you ever heard in your life. You always come back to it, you always say "that's how it should be."
DN: Yeah, but the later ones, the new ones are just as good.
Lemmy: I know that, and you know that. Kids haven't heard about the new ones because they're not publicized very well. It's very difficult to get off the ground in America these days. I wouldn't be in anew band here.
DN: You always had a problem with record labels. You've been bouncing from one to another for 35 years.
Lemmy: Well, we've been with the same one for 15 years now. But, they just went bankrupt!
DN: Is that the way the music business is?
Lemmy: Well, you know, they keep talkin' about this recession. It's bullshit. There is no recession. But, they're just talking about it to frighten Americans again. That's basically what it is. If there's a recession, how come ticket sales went up?
DN: That's right. People call you a living legend. Is that something you like or dislike?
Lemmy: I just think it's funny. I mean the trouble with legends is they're dead. To call somebody a legend, you need to listen to their new stuff, you know. I'm not interested in being a fucking legend. I want to be around to be competitive, you know. I don't want to get stuck with this legend bullshit.
DN: You're on an elevated popularity...
Lemmy: Social platform shoes, but it doesn't mean anything.
DN: You're more regarded than a garage band down the street. But, maybe they can become your level of success, if possible.
Lemmy: Sure they can. Because we were them. If we can do it, they can do it, obviously.
DN: Who's the worst band you ever toured with?
Lemmy: I don't put my opinion into that. I used to, but I don't do it anymore. It's not worth it. Anyway, there's 2 sides to every story. I don't kiss and tell either. I think if you fuck somebody, it should be fairly private.
DN: How's the movie going?
Lemmy: It's done. Finally. We have the premiere on the 15th of March in Austin, Texas.
DN: Are you playing there as well?
DN: How would you describe the Head Cat as?
Lemmy: Well, we're like a really, really hard version of Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two. But with Marshalls, which makes it sound like the Tennessee Ten, you know.
DN: Is it a Blues band, Rock N' Roll band?
DN: Oh, you would call it Rockabilly...
Lemmy: We're a cover band, you know...
DN: Have you recorded another album?
Lemmy: Yeah, we just finished it. 10 songs in 4 days.
DN: Oh, so that'll be great for the fans; both a Motörhead and a Head Cat album later this year. A double dose, so to speak.
Lemmy: My legendary status can grow infinitely.
DN: Speaking of which, you will be receiving a "lifetime achievement award" from Revolver magazine. How do you view these things?
Lemmy: It's great. But, it doesn't affect who we are.
DN: So, it's nice, but it's not the be all end all.
Lemmy: No, it's not the ultimate pinnacle of my career.
DN: Everyone knows you're a driven person. What drives you, motivates you?
Lemmy: I believe robots are stealing our luggage. I dunno, everybody's driven by something, survival mostly. It's just I love what I do. It's a great gig. So, why not do it?
DN: What is your opinion of the fans?
Lemmy: Fans are great. Our fans are really loyal. They stick with us for years. You got 16 year olds and 15 year olds at our concerts. We get a lot of kids. And that's really good, because it proves we're doing it right.
DN: Can you relate to them?
Lemmy: Well, yeah. What you're looking at is a severe case of arrested development. I'm about 18 inside here (points at his head.) The body's giving up, right?
DN: You're the eternal teenager.
Lemmy: If you like. That's why I'm not married. I'm not mature enough.
DN: With women rockers, you've always championed them. Like Girlschool, L7, Joan Jett...
Lemmy: Chelsea Girls. They go through a lot of shit, just 'cause they're chicks. It ain't right. Girlschool, when they started out, guys would say about Kelly Johnson (original lead guitarist) "she's really good for a girl." I'd say, "she's better than you motherfucker!" Because she was a great guitar player. She's dead now, you know that.
DN: Yes, of course. Unfortunately.
Lemmy: She took a long time to die too. It was really bad, cancer of the spine. But, all of these (female) bands, people treat them like second-class citizens, because they're chicks. There's all this "show us your tits, and we'll give you a gig." And all of that shit. It's really like, poor.
DN: What is the meaning of the music that you play?
Lemmy: Have a good time, you know. That's it. I wirte a lot of lyrics that make you think, I hope, you know. It's only one guys opinion, you know?
DN: What is the main idea behind your lyrics?
Lemmy: Main idea is Rock N' Roll. Or rebellion. People can't do it in their real lives.
DN: Have you pinned down what the essence of Rock N' Roll is?
Lemmy: Personally, it's about having fun. That's exactly why it started for. People couldn't wait to play it, and they couldn't resist playing it. You got a huge audience, and people saw that there was money to be made, so these assholes creep in now. All big tours look like they were put on for the security firm. Just have certain people backstage, you know. We don't tour like that. It's bullshit. You go backstage and it's empty. It's just security guys looming and watching for your pass. That's all there is.
DN: Well, it's kind of a drag, the music business?
Lemmy: No, the touring. Everything's gotta be safe. I'll tell you sometihng; life's not safe, you're not safe, you can't be safe. Everytime you leave the house you're not safe. Everytime you go into the store, you're not safe. Everytime you look out the window...who knows, a sniper. Plenty of people with guns out here. Reach you from 2 miles away. Telescopic sight, bingo. Scratch one more.
DN: What can you say to somebody that is starting out (in music?)
Lemmy: Pick up a guitar. Guitars cause a lot less fear. For starters, because they're very expensive. You don't wanna break it, and hit someone over the head, would you? Guns are the problem in this country...
DN: Oh really.
Lemmy: There's nowhere in the world you can get a gun as easy as you can here. Nowhere. It's impossible.
DN: Are you for gun control?
Lemmy: Yeah, I'm for taking guns off of people. Be cause you know they got 25 of them buried further than what they stick on the rack. There's a lot of fucking people out there supplying guns with no license at all. When we were first over here with the 4 piece band, Wurzel was in the army, you know. And we was in the pawn shop, and we were looking at the gun display. This guy said, "are you interested in anything?" Wurzel said, "I'm a British citizen, I can't buy them." The guy said, "come 'round to the store at 7 o'clock after we close."
DN: My brother is a gun enthusiast...
Lemmy: So he thinks you need guns to defend yourself against the government?
Lemmy: Let me tell you something; every government has the army. Defend yourself against that when they come rolling...
DN: Yeah, with a tank.
Lemmy: Forget it. You can't defend yourself against the government. The government will ice you, fucking ice you.
DN: Well, I dunno if you've heard of it but, there's a movie out called 'Innocents Betrayed.'
DN: And I dunno if you wanna call it propaganda, but they say that the...
DN: The movie says that many different genocides like the Armenian Genocide, The Holocaust, and the Rwandan Genocide could have been prevented or at least kept to a minimum if the citizens had guns to defend themselves. Like the Jews againsts the Nazis, the Armenians against the Young Turks, etc.
Lemmy: Guns were available in Europe at that time, in the 30s. Everybody brought guns home from the First World War. So, the Jews could have armed themselves. They didn't. Because they were hoping that things were going to improve. Most Jews who lived in Germany were Germans. I mean they were assimilated completely. A lot of them converted to Christianity.
DN: Right. They spoke German, lived as Germans.
Lemmy: Absolutely. 10th generation, 15th generation, and they fought in the First World War. Decorated in German medals, you know.
DN: Oh really.
Lemmy: Oh yeah, lots of them. In fact the guy that recommnded Hitler for his Iron Cross First Class was a Jewish officer.
DN: Oh...a lot of people wouldn't accept nor believe that.
Lemmy: Well, that's a tough one on them. They had the opportunity to leave Germany, but they thought of themselves as being Germans so much, that they said, "no we're not leaving, this is our home." So, they got banded up and slaughtered. A lot of them should have seen it coming, I think. I'm not blaming them obviosuly, but surely they would have seen it coming.
DN: So, what about Jewish people coming over here, and getting away from that. Even more would have gotten killed.
Lemmy: They didn't come over here because you wouldn't take 'em. England wouldn't take 'em either.
DN: Oh, so a lot of them got sent back.
Lemmy: Boatloads of them. That's another glorious page in our collective history, isn't it?
DN: What were the reasons the US and England didn't want the German Jews?
Lemmy: Because they were Jews. It was a very anti-semitic period then. Until about 5 years ago, you couldn't get into a country club if you were a Jew.
DN: Why is it then that you get called a Nazi sympathizer?
Lemmy: Because I collect Nazi stuff.
DN: How does that (Nazi stuff) appeal to you?
Lemmy: I dunno, maybe it's just like the fucking bright colors. I dunno what it is. It's like very striking stuff, it's very arresting to the eye. It was very influential because so many people followed it. I mean there was Nazi parties here in America. There were rallys in Madison Square Garden.
DN: The late Ron Asheton of the Stooges collected Nazi stuff.
Lemmy: He believed the thing, I don't believe it.
DN: And I think Jeff Hanneman from Slayer collects Nazi stuff as well.
Lemmy: Yeah, he does, and John Sykes too. A lot of people collect it, it isn't like skinheads are getting into this shit. I mean one of Hermann Georing's daggers went for auction a few years ago. The starting bidding price was 100 grand.
DN: And you go to these auctions and bid...
Lemmy: I do it by mail.
DN: You are not personally on the internet. Why would that be?
Lemmy: I don't like computers.
DN: Too mind-altering?
Lemmy: They're gonna be the death of humanity, believe me. The internet is gonna kill humanity because we can't use it, we don't know how to use it. I mean the greatest communication system ever known to man has been invented. What do you use it for? Child pornography. Isn't it fucking wonderful? They always go for the lowest common denominator and then spin it around.
DN: There's some real interesting characters on the internet. There's a lot of parasites sucking your money, your emotions, etc.
Lemmy: All kinds of fucking nut cases. And everybody can be equally heard which is not a good idea. Because some people, if they get heard all across the world, and it's gonna fucking reaqlly twist everything up. One in five people aren't fit to shine your fucking shoes.
DN: People are impersonating you on the internet!
Lemmy: Well, good luck to that.
DN: Yeah, there's my space pages with you, facebook, and then twitter. And people think it's really you on there. But, nobody wants to imitate me. They wanna imitate you, obviously.
Lemmy: You should get more famous.
DN: Oh, geez. I don't think so...
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