My Encounter with Lemmy
Few are as worthy of the title “Living Legend” as Motörhead’s Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister. Since making his recording debut during the mid-‘60s as a member of the Rocking Vicars, Lemmy has had an impact on most extreme forms of rock and roll. During the ‘80s, Motörhead classics Overkill and Ace of Spades helped breathe new life into heavy metal. Today, Lemmy is an edgy, elder statesman of hard rock and metal, and the perfect documentary subject.
Currently in limited release, Lemmy: 49% Motherfucker, 51% Son of A Bitch, has been playing to unanimous critical acclaimed. For those unable to see it in theaters, the documentary will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download on February 15th. Visit LemmyMovie.com for more information.
In 2005, while a VH1 Classic writer/producer, I had the pleasure to interview Lemmy. Although I’d idolized Lemmy since the late ‘70s, no one on the VH1 Classic staff was expecting this icon to be so entertaining, humorous, and charming. He ended his episode of “Hanging With” sipping Jack Daniels and offering these words of wisdom: “Don’t drink water, fish shit in it!”
The following are a few of Lemmy’s colorful comments from our March 14, 2005 VH1 Classic interview:
On Forming Motorhead:
“Every band I was ever in fired me. I [thought] if I could form my own band, they couldn’t fire me. And [30 years later,] it seems to have worked out very well for me.”
On Becoming a Bassist:
“I was a good rhythm guitarist, but that went out of fashion. If you saw somebody like Jimi Hendrix and you’re a guitarist, you just wanted to chop your left hand off. So I went straight onto the bass and, surprisingly, it was an easy for me.”
On How People Perceive Him:
“I can’t help the way people perceive me. Life’s too short. I’ve had a lot of fun stuff to do in my life and none of it involved doing what people think I was going to do. If you do that, you become a character. If you did everything people thought you were going to do, it’d be a very dull life indeed. My advice: just go get out and do something weird that your friends don’t expect, because then you’ll go either up or down in their estimations, and either one’s just fine with me.
On How He Earned The Nickname “Lemmy”:
I got it when I was at school in Wales. I was the only English kid in a school of 700 Welsh for two years. That’s where I learned to fight. I also learned that fighting is bullshit, because if you win a fistfight, it’s just because you were luckier than the other geezer. It doesn’t mean that you were better, or that you’ve convinced them of anything. Certain people won’t let you do anything else but fight them, but I’ve learned to argue. That’s much better.—Vinny Cecolini