When Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister was kicked out of Hawkwind in 1975, he set about forming a new band, one that took inspiration from the punk scene and played ‘fast and vicious’. Little did anybody realise what the time, but this would set in motion the birth of a band whose sound would directly inspire the speed and thrash metal movements, as well as help birthing the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Motörhead’s influence didn’t end there, of course, and trying to quantify what they did for hard rock and heavy metal over the last 45 years is a near-impossible task.
Motörhead’s modus operandi was not only speed, but volume. Their motto was ‘everything louder than everyone else’ and they meant exactly that. There is an infamous tale of a performance in Cleveland reaching a deafening 130 decibels and cracking the ceiling of the venue.
But of course, while many very talented guitarists and drummers served time in Motörhead over the years, the driving force was the man on the bass with a downward pointing microphone.
Lemmy is without question one of the most revered figures in the history or hard rock and heavy metal. A larger than life character with a gravelly voice, an affable demeanour, and cheeky grin behind a handlebar moustache. Lemmy was the person who could walk into a room and turn Metallica into wide-eyes schoolboys.
Oh and, with all apologies to Ozzy, his version of Hellraiser is better…
The death of Lemmy was, and remains, one of the most painful losses in rock music. Even at 70 years of age, we all just assumed he’d be hear long after us, rattling the walls with that bass. By that point, Lemmy’s icon status had reached such heights that he was a near mythical figure walking the earth. So, when he left us, it was only fitting that reverence increased tenfold. He became the figure they built a statue off, festival stages were named after, an icon.
But to Lemmy, he was just a simple man with a loud band…
“We are Motörhead, and we play rock and roll.”