No. 30

January 01, 2016

On December 28th, 2015 the music world lost one of its greatest iconic figures when Lemmy Kilmister, founding member of the metal band Motorhead, died at the age of 70. Lemmy was born Ian Fraser Kilmister on December 24th, 1945 in in Stoke-on-Trent England and grew up in North Wales. He was influenced by rock and roll and the early Beatles, which led to him playing in several rock groups in the 1960s, most significantly the Rockin' Vickers. He worked as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and The Nice, before joining the space rock band Hawkwind in 1971, singing lead on their hit "Silver Machine". After being fired from Hawkwind, he founded Motorhead in 1975 as lead singer, bassist, songwriter and frontman. Motorhead's peaked in the early 1980's with the hit single "Ace of Spades". Lemmy continued to record 22 albums and tour regularly with Motorhead until his death in December 2015, just weeks after finishing their current tour. He was having medical problems earlier in the past year which led to several show cancellations.

Lemmy was known for his mutton chops, insightly moles, and gravel-like voice. He uniquely positioned his microphone pointing down on him from above as if he was singing into the sky. He was also known for his hard lifestyle of regularly consuming alcohol and drugs. In the documentary Live Fast Die Old Lemmy stated that he drank a bottle of Jack Daniel's every day and had done so since he was 30 years old. He also boosted of sleeping with over 1,000 women sticking true to a legacy of sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, stated "Lemmy's the king of rock 'n' roll he told me he never considered Motorhead a metal band, he was quite adamant. Lemmy's a living, breathing, drinking and snorting fucking legend. No one else comes close." Lemmy collected German military regalia and had an Iron Cross encrusted on his bass, which led to accusations of Nazi sympathies. He stated that he collected the memorabilia because he liked the way it looked, and considered himself an anarchist or libertarian. He shared this connection with Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman and the two were good friends.

Lemmy was a humble guy. He lived in a two room apartment in Los Angeles since the 1990's, near his favorite haunt the Rainbow Bar and Grill. He had suffered from diabetes and hypertension having a cardiac defibrillated implanted back in 2013. He was most recently diagnosed with aggressive cancer after finishing his latest tour. He returned home, was given a birthday party at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, then a few days later entered the hospital not feeling good. His speech was a little off so they conducted scans which revealed he had tumors in his brain and neck. Doctors gave him a terminal prognosis with two-six months to live. He died two days later at his home in Los Angeles on December 28th 2015.

The tributes have been circulating everywhere in the metal music world over the death of Lemmy Kilmister. Alice Cooper said "He was innovative, true to his art and continually relevant even though he never cared about being relevant. ... He was always creating and redefining hard rock and the role of bass within it. Offstage, he was a gem. I can't think of anyone who didn't adore Lemmy. He was such an original character in rock, and I will truly miss seeing him out on the road." Metallica posted a note on Facebook, saying, "Lemmy, you are one of the primary reasons this band exists. We are forever grateful for all of your inspiration. Rest In Peace." Ozzy Osbourne tweeted "Lost one of my best friends, Lemmy, today. He will be sadly missed. He was a warrior and a legend." Guitarist Brian May (Queen) wrote a touching tribute song to Lemmy as "our utterly unique friend".

Motorhead drummer Mikkey Dee (ex-King Diamond) who joined the band in 1992, said Lemmy took the news of his diagnosis in stride saying "I've had a good run, f*** it". Mikkey Dee confirmed that the band was over. He said "Lemmy was Motorhead. We won't be doing any more tours or anything. And there won't be any more records. But the brand survives, and Lemmy lives on in the hearts of everyone." Lemmy will be greatly missed. Rest in peace our friend.

Lemmy was an icon figure in the world of metal music.

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