Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The King is Dead, Long Live the King!

Virtually anyone on social media today has seen at least one post about the death of Lemmy Kilmister. And, the World being what it is, there are quite a few people pissing and moaning about it, telling people to "get over it" and asking "who?". As a lifelong fan of the heavier side of the musical spectrum, Lemmy's death touched me on visceral level.

I remember clearly, my senior year in High School, going to see the mighty Motorhead with some older friends (courtesy of a really terrible fake I.D.) and being blown away. If Rock-n-Roll is a religion, then going to a Motorhead show is like going to church, and Lemmy was the de-facto Pope. To this day, whenever I hear that distorted bass and that croaking, raspy voice (the product of too many cigarettes and Jack Daniels) I can almost smell the liquor, leather, and greasy denim...

And that's how it is, and was, Motorhead was a HUGE part of my musical world, as a kid and as an adult. Everything about them was purely and simply ROCK. For every song with heavy subject matter you had a song that reminded you how fun Rock n Roll was. For every "Iron Fist" you had a "Love Me Like a Reptile", for every "Killed By Death" you had a "Doctor Rock" and then they'd mix everything up with a pseudo-psychedelic gem like "Capricorn". Motorhead definitely had something for everyone. That's why they had such cross over appeal, the "metal" guys loved them, the "thrash" guys respected them, and even the most hardcore punk would bob his head and smile a little when he heard "Ace of Spades" or "Bomber". And anyone who doesn't agree that "No Sleep 'til Hammersmith" is one of the finest live albums ever committed to tape needs socked in the dick!
Motorhead, as a band, is over now. Much like the Ramones, something that I thought would be there forever (and seemed like it already HAD been there forever) is gone now. With the death of Philthy Animal Taylor back in November, when the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame selection committee finally pulls their collective heads out of their asses, Fast Eddie Clarke will be the only member of the "classic" line up left to attend the induction ceremony. Which brings me to another sad fact, Motorhead sales will probably peak now with Lemmy's death! They were always a band on the fringe, who were outright copied by plenty of successful bands, that never fully "made it", and, as a testimony of his inherent "awesome", Lemmy never seemed bitter about it in interviews (even though he had every right to be). And now, after this loss, people will finally appreciate what was one of the greatest bands in history.
John Lennon (and Lemmy was a noted Beatle fan) once famously said “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry'". I'd like to amend that, and substitute "Lemmy" for "Chuck Berry" because nobody who ever drew breath was more rock-n-roll than Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister. The man played it, he lived it, he breathed it, and probably drank it with a whiskey chaser. There will never be another one like him. EVER.
He changed my life. If you're reading this, he probably changed yours.
Not bad for the front man of a band that was almost called "The Bastards"
Rest in Peace, sir.

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