Words By: Gerrod Harris
December 28th, 2015 marks a sad day as, a mere four days after his 70th birthday, Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, the frontman and bassist from Motörhead has passed away from a very “aggressive cancer”. Lemmy had suffered through multiple health scares in the past few years, which led to him having to cancel a number of shows, and forced him to cut back on his excessive, rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle he was known to sport. It was reported that he had drastically cut back on his drinking, and had kicked cigarettes, no simple feat when you factor in that he’s done enough for more than one lifetime. Sadly, just earlier this month he spoke in an interview saying he was alright, further stating, “I’m going out there and doing my best”.
The official statement from Motörhead reads: “There is no easy way to say this…our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer. He had learnt of the disease on December 26th, and was at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game from The Rainbow which had recently made its way down the street, with his family. We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words. We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please…play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy’s music LOUD. Have a drink or few. Share stories. Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself. HE WOULD WANT EXACTLY THAT. Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, 1945 -2015. Born to lose, lived to win. Please feel free to post your condolences, well wishes and memories on our official tribute page: https://www.facebook.com/lemmykilmisterforlife
The hard rock and metal pioneer certainly was not expecting such an early death, seeing has he had mapped out a much more extensive tour extending for Motörhead‘s excellent 2015 release, Bad Magic (read my review here)into 2016, and also planned on making his first ever solo album, and hopefully another, final Motörhead record. He was no quitter, and had no plans for retiring, and the fact that he would recently walk onto stage with the help of a cane proved just that!
Despite his future plans, the rock icon, while looking back on his life and his current circumstances, stated “Death is an inevitability, isn’t it? You become more aware of that when you get to my age. I don’t worry about it. I’m ready for it. When I go, I want to go doing what I do best. If I died tomorrow, I couldn’t complain. It’s been good.”
Forming Motörhead in 1975, Lemmy led the band through various lineup changes and against great odds, often due to extremely uncooperative record labels, delivered a number of fiery albums. Unlike many artists to emerge in the 70’s Lemmy and Motörhead did not have simply one excellent era, as the band had a number of excellent albums spanning their entire career, through the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s, and the 2010’s. Such records, to name a few, include Bomber (1979), Ace Of Spades (1980), Orgasmatron (1986), Bastards (1993), and their most recent records, Aftershock (2013) and Bad Magic (2015) stand out among their hard hitting discography of over twenty records. Not to mention their incredible live albums, such as the classic No Sleep ’til Hammersmith, which captured a performance from 1981. Lemmy also fronted the rockabilly super group, The Head Cat, and penned an excellently blunt, and quite humorous memoir, White Line Fever: The Autobiography.
Lemmy was the embodiment of the principles of sex, drugs, and rock & roll, and whether you agree with his lifestyle choices or not, certainly the fact that he was always, under every circumstance, unapologetically true to himself is something to be admired by people of all walks of life. May you rest easy Lemmy Kilmister; the rock world has lost one of their greats, a true titan among men, with a legacy built to last.
Watch Motörhead perform at Glastonbury earlier this year: