I woke up this morning to the same alarm tone that I have had for a while: the first minute of ‘Over The Top’ at full blast that I borrowed from the Stagefright DVD soundtrack. It always sets you up for the day.
But not today.
A lady who is very important to my life is struggling with extremely aggressive cancer at the moment so I always check my phone to see if I’ve heard from her, but didn’t expect to discover other messages telling me that Lemmy had passed away in Los Angeles.
I don’t pretend to have known Lemmy at all, though I was fortunate enough to meet him quite a few times over the years, starting at the Town and Country Club in London where Ozzy was playing in 1989 (I think). Lemmy was always very cool. Through another excellent man – Dan (Halen) Hawcroft – from the Motörhead crew, I got to hang out backstage at shows a bit more in later years, all of the band (past and present) and crew an absolute pleasure to spend time around. It’s hard not to be starstruck when you meet your heroes but it was a great privilege for me and everybody in the Motörhead touring machine was always very friendly.
One of my publishers once talked to Lemmy on the phone about his militaria collection and I was blown away to learn that he owned one of my books. So I started giving Lemmy copies of the latest book I’d written and remember sitting and talking with him about Kriegsmarine and Kaiserliche Marine U-boats for about half an hour at one show. It was nice to know that the reputation was true – he DID know his stuff on the subject.
Musically Motörhead have been part of my landscape since I can’t remember when. Over the decades their importance to me increased as they never once let me down…they were always who they were and made the greatest music to my ears; truly one of the hardest working bands in history. It pissed me off no end the way many abandoned them after Lemmy became ill and shows started to be cancelled. Yes, they played slower than before, yes he sometimes lost his way in songs like he never used to, but this was Motörhead: the band had got me through some very difficult times in my life and they deserved respect. As long as they were willing to climb on stage I’d be there front and centre.
But now Lemmy has gone. Of course, he leaves behind the kind of legacy that means he will never really die; he’s just alongside Philthy and Würzel now.
But I’m really sad. It’s like another part of my life has disappeared, which I know is a selfish and stupid thing to say, but that’s how I feel.
Can’t quite figure out how best to pay my respects to such a great man. Can’t quite figure out how to sum him up either. I guess that, to me, Lemmy was honest. He was the real thing. He told things like he saw them and whether you agreed or not, you can’t argue with honesty. It’s one of the greatest traits any human being can ever have.