Tonight we say goodbye to Lemmy Kilmister.
Born Christmas Eve 1945, the English bassist (and occasional singer) was a member of the space-rock band Hawkwind before being caught in Windsor, Ontario with drugs. The band fired him, but the Canadian border guards mistook speed for cocaine and so he was let free on a technicality. He went on to form a band called Bastard before being told that no one would slot a band called Bastard into BBC’s Top Of The Pops. Lemmy renamed the band Motorhead, and…
The man seemed immortal. He was, up until his death, recording high-octane rock ‘n’ roll, pounding back liquor, and touring the hell out of his singular battering-ram vision of music. Listen to that link – the man just turned 70 two days before he would learn that he had a particularly aggressive and incurable form of cancer. Two days after that – today – he is dead. Victory or die, indeed.
There is something incomprehensibly pure about Motorhead’s music. There’s no subtlety in it, whatsoever. It has no finesse, no delicate turn of phrase or hint of pretension. It is straight-ahead, damn the torpedoes, punch you square in the face rock and fucking roll. It is the juggernaut in musical form, bearing down on your with no hope of escape. It was the purest distillation of living exactly as you wanted, with no strings beyond the next city, no regrets beyond not rocking out hard enough.
Tonight, for Lemmy, we listen to No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith, a document of the live show that Motorhead was famous for.