View attachment 53185 When rock icon Lemmy was fired from the psychedelic UK band Hawkwind in 1975 for a series of troubling incidents — including almost missing a gig to hook up with a groupie in Chicago because she had crystal meth, and getting arrested at the Canadian border for possessing speed — he was so upset and angry, he wanted payback.
So he decided to seduce his bandmates’ wives and girlfriends.
“I got my revenge,” Lemmy, who died in 2015 at age 70, told rock interviewer Wall in this raucous tale of his life of excess. I came home and f—ed all their old ladies. I made sure of [bandmates] Simon King and Alan Powell’s first. Alan Powell has still never forgiven me. And I hope he never will, cos there was a lot of malice involved, and I really meant every f—ing minute of it.”
For the uninitiated, Lemmy — born Ian Fraser Kilmister in the UK on Christmas Eve in 1945 — led the legendary hard-rock band Motorhead, best known for the 1980 classic “Ace of Spades.” But like fellow heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy built a legend larger than his music. Known for his skull & crossbones cavalry hat and the ever-present Jack and Cokes that caused Food & Beverage Magazine to rebrand the drink “The Lemmy” upon his death, Lemmy lived for music, sex and speed (his drug of choice) — and all else fell by the wayside.
Much of the book is based on extensive conversations Wall had with Lemmy over the years, a smart approach, as the rocker’s personality shines through in every quote. Wall refers to him as “a Great British eccentric,” noting that he was “beloved of strangers and yet a stranger to” many of his real friends.
Lemmy, who wore one pair of black pants for 25 years, was an unabashed speed freak until his final days. In the 1970s, when (false) rumors spread that Keith Richards had had his blood drained and replaced with newer, healthier blood, Lemmy’s manager reportedly considered the same procedure for his client. According to Lemmy, they took him to a doctor, who found his blood so awash in drugs, he was told not to mess with it.
“He took a blood test,” Lemmy said. “We went back a week later for the results and he said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t give him whole blood, it will probably kill him!’ My blood at the time had evolved into some sort of organic soup — all kinds of trace elements in it.” (For the record, while Lemmy told this story many times over the years, his manager denied it.)
Lemmy’s parents split shortly after his birth for reasons he never learned. He only met his father once, when he was 25 and already a speed-sniffing rocker.
“They met at a pizza parlor around the corner from Lemmy’s squat,” Wall writes, saying that Lemmy asked his father for money to buy an amplifier, and the man offered to pay for driving lessons instead.
“He offered to pay for a course for me to become a [traveling salesman],” Lemmy said. “I said, ‘It’s a good thing the pizza hasn’t arrived yet, it’d be your new f—ing hat,’ and I walked out. I never saw him again.”
Lemmy shunned relationships almost completely. Claiming to have slept with between 1,000-2,000 women, one in the late ’60s, named Tracey, angered Lemmy by informing him she was pregnant, causing him to storm off. He next saw her six years later, when they coincidentally showed up at the same coke dealer’s apartment. She later brought her son, Paul Inder, to see Lemmy play, and while Paul sat on stage, beyond excited watching his dad, the rockstar wouldn’t acknowledge him.
“Have you ever changed a diaper,” Lemmy once said. “It’s rotten. As a lifestyle, it sucks. I could never imagine looking at the same face over the cornflakes for the rest of my life. I don’t know how people do it.”
Starting out in the mid-1960s, Lemmy found some early success with a goofy band called the Rockin’ Vicars, in which he routinely hit his bandmates in the face with custard pies on stage. The Rockin’ Vicars had a No. 1 hit in Finland with a cover of Neil Sedaka’s “I Go Ape.” Otherwise, the band was not going to make Lemmy a rock star. But it was during this period that he saw Jimi Hendrix play for the first time, on a tour that, strangely, also included Cat Stevens and Engelbert Humperdinck. He left the Rockin’ Vicars soon after, and was hired as a roadie for Hendrix, carrying his gear and procuring his drugs.
Lemmy spent a few years as a drug dealer, selling downers on the streets of London. In 1971, he joined the performance collective Hawkwind. Thought of by many at the time as a “poor man’s Pink Floyd,” the band had a minor hit in 1972, reaching No. 3 on the UK charts with the song “Silver Machine.”
Lemmy’s 1975 firing from the band left him in tears, devastated (before enacting his sexual revenge). His managers urged him to form a new group, but he just moped around for weeks. Prior business arrangements meant the band was still paying Lemmy weekly, so his management put out a press release saying he had formed a new group. He had wanted to call his new band Bastard, but his managers, thinking the name would kill opportunities, ignored him, announcing instead that it would be called Motorhead, after the last song Lemmy had written for Hawkwind. Lemmy accepted the name and cycled through a few band members before meeting a drummer, the fellow speed freak and “former skinhead and Leeds United football hooligan” Phil Taylor.
“Phil had become acquainted with Lemmy via the Hells Angels, who they both enjoyed the hospitality of, living in various squats around West London, [as well as through] dealing and scoring,” writes Wall.
The two stayed up for several days straight, high on speed, just before Christmas 1975. One morning Taylor “ran outside into the garden, completely naked, and began bouncing around bashing at things, making a terrible row. When [people in nearby houses looked on], he looked up at them and screamed, ‘It’s all right! I’m on drugs!’ ” Later that day, Lemmy asked Taylor to take a turn on the drums, and a band was born. His antics aside, Taylor — who Lemmy would christen “Philthy Animal” — was an accomplished musician whose double-bass technique would come to influence metal bands from Metallica on down. Fast Eddie Clarke joined on guitar soon after, and Motorhead’s classic lineup was born.
Over the next four years, the band would have three Top 10 singles and six Top 30 albums, including two Top 10s and a No. 1, and their 1980 hit “Ace of Spades” became one of the genre’s defining anthems. He also relocated from London to LA in 1990, living there for the rest of his life. By the mid-’80s, Motorhead had peaked. Lemmy would lead the band for the rest of his life — the last album, “Bad Magic,” was released four months before his death — but less as an artist than as an icon.
Running the band with various lineups, Lemmy never stopped drinking, drugging and being Lemmy to the fullest, even in the face of type 2 diabetes toward the end. A friend of his named Murat told of a conversation he had with the icon about his speed use in his final days.
“I asked him about it towards the end,” Morat said. “I said, ‘I’m glad you stopped doing that,’ and he said, ‘No, no! I haven’t stopped doing that. I just do less of it.’ I said, ‘Why are you still doing it?’ and he said, ‘Because it makes me happy.’ ”
By Larry Gettlin - The NY Post/Nov. 27, 2016
Photos: 1-2Fast2Die; 2- Getty