In the wake of Lemmy Kilmister’s sudden passing, Jack King discusses the rock legend’s incredible influence and the collective heartbreak of his devoted following.
Today is a day we all knew was coming, but at the same time, the idea of Lemmy Kilmister dying was inconceivable.
This morning Motörhead announced that their legendary gravel-voiced frontman Lemmy Kilmister has died. Posting via Facebook the band said: “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 it’s way down the street, with his family.” He had just celebrated his 70th birthday on Christmas eve.
Where the fuck do you even begin with Lemmy? The singer and bassist was relentless in his life as he was in his music, often leading to humorous remarks that he was made of Jack Daniel’s and cigarettes and claims that he was immortal. Every single Motörhead record is absolutely ferocious, with basslines that go hard enough to brown any underwear within a mile of the speaker. Even their 2015 album Black Magik was just as ridiculously heavy as the rest of their output; if you put that record on, you will think to yourself: “fucking hell, they just don’t stop” – but as the death of ex-drummer Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor showed us in November, they do stop eventually.
It’s almost impossible to sum up Lemmy’s influence on music with mere words, let alone his influence in rock culture, attitude, and identity. Any misfit who felt like they didn’t look good enough to be a rockstar was welcomed into Motörhead’s camp, they accepted everyone alternative warts ‘n’ all. He changed the world for any out of place music fan forever.
From all accounts he was absolutely lovely to be around too, many unsurprising stories of how much of a pleasure he was to know have surfaced today, even featuring people like Stephen Fry describing him as ‘delightful’. The 2010 documentary on his life (simply titled Lemmy) shows a side of him that is charming, funny, and so caring. It’s such a shame that in this fucked up world we have lost yet another one of the good guys.
When writing about Lemmy it’s certain that something is going to be left out, his span was simply too great to fit on any page or post. If you’re for some reason unfamiliar with Lemmy’s work, listen to the songs that are being posted today, read what people are saying about him and you’ll quickly understand why he holds such a special place is the hearts of so many.
Lemmy will live on though; he’ll live in those goosebumps and that adrenaline rush that you get when ‘Ace Of Spades’ or ‘Overkill’ kicks in; he’ll live in the good times a group of friends are having listening to rock and roll in a bar. In that sense, despite his famous lyrics: “I don’t want to live forever,” Lemmy really is immortal.
Jack King @