There’s not a lot of good things that’s come out of Stoke. Nice crockery, Frank Bough and the A52 out of the city but by far the best thing to ever come out of Stoke was Lemmy from Motorhead. I know Lemmy had a real, and indeed, full name, but to a generation (several in fact) he’s going to be forever ”Lemmy from Motorhead”. Even the normally staid BBC call him that. That’s how much Lemmy and his band were intertwined.
Sadly Lemmy died from cancer today. He’d been diagnosed with an exceptionally aggressive form of cancer on Boxing Day and it took him quickly,and that’s probably the only good thing about this that Lemmy didn’t linger on for months and months. Of course the joke has always been that Lemmy will never die and that’s built upon the decades of abuse he gave his body.
Of course like any young lad as soon as I had the chance (and money) to go see Motorhead live I did. That was in the late 80’s in London at the old Hammersmith Odeon on a pretty dank night where I emerged from a few hours of having all my senses assaulted, because Motorhead were out to make it so loud and hard that you’d vibrate out of whatever sticky-floored venue you’d just been in.
In fact the reason I have hearing problems in one ear is because I foolishly stood near the speaker stack at a Motorhead gig in Leicester in the early 90’s. And there’s another thing; you missed seeing Motorhead this tour? Fine, they’ll be back in six months or a year and just as fucking loud, just as good as last time they played?
Last time I saw Motorhead was around a decade ago.on a trip to That London to see them play the Forum and they were a bit older, a bit wrinklier and bit croakier but fuck me, did they make the place shake that night.
Of course that Motorhead appearance on The Young Ones is going to be played over and over, but Lemmy made ventures into film with his roles in Richard Stanley’s Hardware, and The Comic Strip’s Eat the Rich standing out.
The last time I saw Lemmy on TV was at this year’s Glastonbury Festival where he looked unwell, but reading today’s obituaries it seems that he’s been ill for some time, but he never seemed he’d actually die. The joke used to be that after a nuclear war the only things left alive would be cockroaches and Lemmy, but sadly that’s not to be. Lemmy has passed on and we’ll really seriously never see his likes again as the man was unique.
He leaves a legacy of music but one song stands out among all the songs he did. It’s a song that’s become shorthand for rock and roll, heavy metal, punk or if a film director wants an easy bit of shorthand to invoke something rebellious, loud, energetic or just plain fucking messy. It’s a song that starts with what other songs would be considered a great climax, but this one starts from there and builds up. It’s a song that will never be matched and it’s Lemmy’s headstone that’ll live on for generations who’ll hear that opening bass and think ‘fucking hell‘!
Bye Lemmy, thanks for all the fun.