Last updated

Lemmy performing in 2005
Background information
Birth nameIan Fraser Kilmister
Also known as
  • Lemmy Kilmister
  • Ian Fraser Willis
Born(1945-12-24)24 December 1945
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England
Died28 December 2015(2015-12-28) (aged 70)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • Bass guitar
  • vocals
Years active1965–2015
Associated acts
Website imotorhead.com

Ian Fraser Kilmister (24 December 1945 – 28 December 2015), better known as Lemmy, was an English singer, songwriter, and musician who founded and fronted the rock band Motörhead.

Motörhead English rock band

Motörhead were an English rock band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, who was the sole constant member, guitarist Larry Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox. The band are often considered a precursor to the new wave of British heavy metal, which re-energised heavy metal in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Though several guitarists and drummers have played in Motörhead, most of their best-selling albums and singles feature the work of the late Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor on drums and the late "Fast" Eddie Clarke on guitars.


Lemmy's music was one of the foundations of the heavy metal genre. [1] He was known for his appearance, including his friendly mutton chops; gravelly, raspy singing voice, which was declared "one of the most recognisable voices in rock"; and his way of singing, looking up towards "a towering microphone tilted down into his weather-beaten face". [2] He was also known for his bass playing style, using his Rickenbacker bass to create an "overpowered, distorted rhythmic rumble". [2] Another unique aspect of Lemmy's bass sound is that he often played power chords using growling overdriven Marshall tube bass stacks. Alongside his music career, he also had minor roles and cameos in film and television.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Sideburns patches of facial hair grown on the sides of the face

Sideburns, sideboards, or side whiskers are facial hair grown on the sides of the face, extending from the hairline to run parallel to or beyond the ears. The term sideburns is a 19th-century corruption of the original burnsides, named after American Civil War general Ambrose Burnside, a man known for his unusual facial hairstyle that connected thick sideburns by way of a moustache, but left the chin clean-shaven.

Rickenbacker Electric and bass guitar manufacturer

Rickenbacker International Corporation is an electric string instrument manufacturer based in Santa Ana, California. The company is credited as the first known maker of electric guitars—in 1932—and eventually produced a range of electric guitars and bass guitars. Known for their distinctive jangle and chime, Rickenbacker twelve string guitars were favored by the Beatles and Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers. Well known players of the six string include John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Lemmy was born in Stoke-on-Trent, growing up between there and later Anglesey. He was influenced by rock and roll and the early works of the Beatles, which led to him playing in several rock groups in the 1960s; including the Rockin' Vickers. He worked as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and the Nice, before joining the space rock band Hawkwind in 1971, singing lead vocals on their hit "Silver Machine". After being fired from Hawkwind for drug possession in 1975, he founded Motörhead during the same year as the lead singer, bassist, and songwriter. Motörhead's success peaked in 1980 and 1981 and included the hit single "Ace of Spades" and the chart-topping live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith .

Stoke-on-Trent City and unitary authority in England

Stoke-on-Trent is a city and unitary authority area in Staffordshire, England, with an area of 36 square miles (93 km2). Together with the neighbouring boroughs of Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands, it is part of North Staffordshire. In 2016, the city had a population of 261,302.

Anglesey Island

Anglesey is an island off the north coast of Wales with an area of 276 square miles (715 km2). Anglesey is by far the largest island in Wales and the seventh largest in the British Isles. Anglesey is also the largest island in the Irish Sea by area, and the second most populous island. The ferry port of Holyhead handles more than 2 million passengers each year. The Menai Suspension Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford in 1826, and the Britannia Bridge span the Menai Strait to connect Anglesey with the mainland.

Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s from musical styles such as gospel, jump blues, jazz, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues, along with country music. While elements of what was to become rock and roll can be heard in blues records from the 1920s and in country records of the 1930s, the genre did not acquire its name until 1954.

Lemmy continued to record and tour regularly with Motörhead until his death in December 2015 in Los Angeles, where he had lived since 1990. Aside from his musical activities, he was well known for his hard-living lifestyle, which included chain-smoking and regular consumption of alcohol (such as Jack Daniel's) and amphetamines.

Jack Daniels distiller of Tennessee whiskey

Jack Daniel's is a brand of Tennessee whiskey and the top-selling American whiskey in the world. It is produced in Lynchburg, Tennessee, by the Jack Daniel Distillery, which has been owned by the Brown–Forman Corporation since 1956. Jack Daniel's home county of Moore is a dry county, so the product is not available for purchase at stores or restaurants within the county.

Amphetamine stimulant drug

Amphetamine is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and obesity. Amphetamine was discovered in 1887 and exists as two enantiomers: levoamphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Amphetamine properly refers to a specific chemical, the racemic free base, which is equal parts of the two enantiomers, levoamphetamine and dextroamphetamine, in their pure amine forms. The term is frequently used informally to refer to any combination of the enantiomers, or to either of them alone. Historically, it has been used to treat nasal congestion and depression. Amphetamine is also used as an athletic performance enhancer and cognitive enhancer, and recreationally as an aphrodisiac and euphoriant. It is a prescription drug in many countries, and unauthorized possession and distribution of amphetamine are often tightly controlled due to the significant health risks associated with recreational use.

Early life

Lemmy was born on 24 December 1945 in the Burslem area of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. [3] [4] When he was three months old, his father, an ex-Royal Air Force chaplain and concert pianist, [5] separated from his mother. His mother and grandmother moved to nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme, then to Madeley. [6] When Lemmy was 10, his mother married former footballer George Willis, who already had two older children from a previous marriage, Patricia and Tony, with whom Lemmy did not get along.

Burslem town forming the city of Stoke-on-Trent, England

Burslem is a constitutional town that amalgamated to form the Federation of Stoke-on-Trent in 1910, along with Hanley, Tunstall, Fenton, Longton and Stoke-upon-Trent in 1925, following the granting of city status to become the City of Stoke-on-Trent.

Royal Air Force Aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain.

Newcastle-under-Lyme market town in Staffordshire, England

Newcastle-under-Lyme, is a market town in Staffordshire, England. It had a population of 128,264 in 2011.

The family moved to a farm in the Welsh town of Benllech, Anglesey, with Lemmy later commenting that "funnily enough, being the only English kid among 700 Welsh ones didn't make for the happiest time, but it was interesting from an anthropological point of view". [7] He attended Sir Thomas Jones' School in Amlwch, where he was nicknamed "Lemmy". It was later suggested by some that the name originated from the phrase "lemmy [lend me] a quid 'til Friday" because of his alleged habit of borrowing money from people to play slot machines, [6] [8] [9] [10] although Lemmy himself said that he did not know the origin of the name. [11] He soon started to show an interest in rock and roll music, girls, and horses.

Benllech town on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales

Benllech is large village on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales. It is in the community of Llanfair-Mathafarn-Eithaf, which has a population of 3,382, making it the 5th largest settlement by population on the island. The name of Benllech village had been removed by the time of the 2011 census with the community being listed under Llanfair-Mathafarn-Eithaf with the electoral ward being listed under Llanddyfnan.

Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones comprehensive school in Amlwch, Anglesey, Wales

Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones is a mixed bilingual community school for pupils between 11 and 18 years of age in the Pentrefelin area of Amlwch, Anglesey. The school serves the town and the rural catchment area.

Amlwch small town in the north of Anglesey in north-west Wales

Amlwch is the most northerly town in Wales and is a community. It is situated on the north coast of the Isle of Anglesey, on the A5025 which connects it to Holyhead and to Menai Bridge. As well as Amlwch town and Amlwch Port, other settlements within the community include Burwen, Porthllethog/Bull Bay and Pentrefelin. The town has a beach in Llaneilian, and it has significant coastal cliffs. Tourism is an important element of the local economy. At one time it was a booming mining town that became the centre of a vast global trade in copper ore. The harbour inlet became a busy port and significant shipbuilding and ship repair centre, as well as an embarkation point with boats sailing to the Isle of Man and to Liverpool. A number of the houses date from the 19th century and add to the atmosphere of the town.

At school, Lemmy noticed a pupil who had brought a guitar to school and had been "surrounded by chicks". His mother had a guitar, which he then took to school, even though he could not play, and was himself surrounded by girls. By the time he left school, his family had moved to Conwy. Whilst there, he worked at menial jobs, including one at the local Hotpoint electric appliance factory, while also playing guitar for local bands such as the Sundowners and spending time at a horse-riding school. [6] Lemmy saw the Beatles perform at the Cavern Club when he was sixteen, and then learned to play along on guitar to their first album Please Please Me . He also admired the sarcastic attitude of the group, particularly that of John Lennon. [12]

Recording and performing career

Lemmy playing bass and singing, with his trademark high microphone position Lemmy K.jpg
Lemmy playing bass and singing, with his trademark high microphone position

1960–1970: Early years

In Stockport, Lemmy joined local bands the Rainmakers and then the Motown Sect who played northern clubs for three years. In 1965, he joined the Rockin' Vickers [13] who signed a deal with CBS, released three singles and toured Europe, reportedly being the first British band to visit the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Rockin' Vickers moved to Manchester, where they shared a flat together. There, Lemmy got involved with a woman named Tracy who bore a son, Paul Inder. Lemmy did not have any involvement in his life until the boy was six. [6]

Leaving the Rockin' Vickers, Lemmy moved to London in 1967. He shared a flat with Noel Redding, bassist of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and with Neville Chesters, their road manager. He got a job as a roadie for the band. [1] In 1968, he joined the psychedelic rock band Sam Gopal under the name Ian Willis and recorded the album Escalator which was released in 1969. [14] After meeting Simon King at a shopping centre in Chelsea in 1969, he joined the band Opal Butterfly; but the group soon disbanded, having failed to raise enough interest with their singles. [6]

1971–1975: Hawkwind

Lemmy during Motörhead's 2011 The Wörld Is Yours Tour Lemmy Kilmister Motorhead in NYC by John Gullo.jpg
Lemmy during Motörhead's 2011 The Wörld Is Yours Tour
See also Hawkwind (1970–75: United Artists era)

In August 1971, Lemmy joined the space rock band Hawkwind, who were based in Ladbroke Grove, London, as a bassist and vocalist. He had no previous experience as a bass guitarist, and was cajoled into joining immediately before a benefit gig in Notting Hill by bandmate Michael "Dik Mik" Davies, to have two members who enjoyed amphetamines. [15] He quickly developed a distinctive style that was strongly shaped by his early experience as a rhythm guitarist, often using double stops and chords rather than the single note lines preferred by most bassists. His bass work was a fundamental part of the Hawkwind sound during his tenure, perhaps best documented on Space Ritual . He also provided the lead vocals on several songs, including the band's biggest UK chart single, "Silver Machine", which reached #3 in 1972.

In 1975, Lemmy was arrested at the Canada/United States border in Windsor, Ontario, on drug possession charges; he spent five days in jail but was released without charge. Nonetheless, he was fired from Hawkwind. [16]

He once said of Hawkwind: ""I did like being in Hawkwind, and I believe I’d still be playing with them today if I hadn’t been kicked out. It was fun onstage, not so much offstage. They didn’t want to mesh with me. Musically, I loved the drummer, the guitar player. It was a great band.” [17]

1975–2015: Motörhead

After Hawkwind, Lemmy formed a new band called "Bastard" with guitarist Larry Wallis (former member of the Pink Fairies, Steve Took's Shagrat and UFO) and drummer Lucas Fox. Lemmy and Took were friends, and Took was the stepfather to Lemmy's son Paul. When his manager informed him that a band by the name of "Bastard" would never get a slot on Top of the Pops , Lemmy changed the band's name to "Motörhead" – the title of the last song he had written for Hawkwind. [18]

Soon after, both Wallis and Fox were replaced with guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke and drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor and with this line-up, the band began to achieve success. Lemmy's guttural vocals were unique in rock at that time, and were copied during the time when punk rock became popular. The band's sound appealed to Lemmy's original fans and, eventually, to fans of punk. Lemmy asserted that he generally felt more kinship with punks than with metalheads; he even played with the Damned for a handful of gigs when they had no regular bassist. [19] The band's success peaked in 1980 and 1981 with several UK chart hits, including the single "Ace of Spades", which remained a crowd favourite throughout the band's career, and the UK #1 live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith . Motörhead became one of the most influential bands in the heavy metal genre. Their – and Lemmy's – final live performance was in Berlin, Germany on 11 December 2015. [20]

Personal life

Lemmy in May 2005, at Reds, Edmonton Lemmy-04.jpg
Lemmy in May 2005, at Reds, Edmonton
Lemmy in May 2015, at Rock am Ring, Germany Motörhead - Rock am Ring 2015-0343.jpg
Lemmy in May 2015, at Rock am Ring, Germany

At the age of 17, Lemmy met a holidaying girl named Cathy. He followed her to Stockport, Greater Manchester, where she gave birth to his son Sean, who was put up for adoption. [6] In the 2010 documentary film Lemmy , he mentioned having a son whose mother has only recently "found him" and "hadn't got the heart to tell him who his father was", indicating that the boy – perhaps Sean – was given up for adoption.

In the Channel 4 documentary Motörhead: Live Fast, Die Old, broadcast on 22 August 2005, it was claimed that Lemmy had "bedded" in excess of 2,000 women. Lemmy stated: "I said more than a thousand, the magazine made two thousand of it." Maxim had Lemmy at #8 on its top ten "Living Sex Legends" list, as they claimed that he had slept with around 1,200 women. [21] Lemmy is one of the characters in the book Sex Tips from Rock Stars by Paul Miles. [22]

Dave Grohl, on his Probot website, describes musicians with whom he has worked. In his entry for Lemmy, he wrote:

We recorded his track in Los Angeles in maybe two takes about a year and a half ago. Until then I'd never met what I'd call a real rock 'n' roll hero before. Fuck Elvis and Keith Richards, Lemmy's the king of rock 'n' roll – he told me he never considered Motörhead a metal band, he was quite adamant. Lemmy's a living, breathing, drinking and snorting fucking legend. No one else comes close. [23]

Lemmy was well known for his alcohol abuse. The documentary Live Fast Die Old stated that he drank a bottle of Jack Daniel's every day and had done so since he was 30 years old. [24] In 2013, Lemmy stopped drinking Jack Daniel's for health reasons. [25] During his time with Hawkwind he developed an appetite for amphetamines and LSD, particularly the former. Before joining Hawkwind, he recalled Dik Mik, a former Hawkwind sound technician, visiting his squat in the middle of the night and taking speed with him. They became interested in how long "you could make the human body jump about without stopping", which they did for a few months until Mik ran out of money and wanted to return to Hawkwind, taking Lemmy with him. [9]

I first got into speed because it was a utilitarian drug and kept you awake when you needed to be awake when otherwise you'd just be flat out on your back. If you drive to Glasgow for nine hours in the back of a sweaty truck you don't really feel like going onstage feeling all bright and breezy ... It's the only drug I've found that I can get on with, and I've tried them all – except smack [heroin] and morphine: I've never "fixed" [i.e., injected] anything. [9]

In November 2005, he was invited to the National Assembly for Wales as a guest speaker by Conservative member William Graham. He was asked to express his views on the detrimental effects of drugs and called for the legalization of heroin. He stated that legalization would eradicate the drug dealer from society and generate money from its taxation, however hard this would be to accept. [26]

Lemmy collected German military regalia; he had an Iron Cross encrusted on his bass, which led to accusations of Nazi sympathies. He stated that he collected the memorabilia because he liked the way it looked, and considered himself an anarchist or libertarian. [27] [28] Lemmy said he was against religion, government, and established authority. [29] [30] In 2011, he identified as agnostic, saying, "I can find out when I die. I can wait. I'm not in a hurry." [31] Jeff Hanneman, the founder of the thrash metal band Slayer, befriended Lemmy due to their shared fondness for collecting Nazi memorabilia. [32] According to Keith Emerson's autobiography, Lemmy gave him two of his Hitler Youth knives during his time as a roadie for the Nice. Emerson used these knives many times as keyholders when playing the Hammond organ during concerts with the Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer before destroying them. Lemmy defended his collection by saying that if his black girlfriend had no problem with it, nobody else should. [30]

Later years, illness and death

Lemmy lived in Los Angeles from 1990 until his death, his last residence being a two-room apartment two blocks away from his favourite hangout, the Rainbow Bar and Grill. [33]

In December 2000, his tour was cancelled when he was hospitalised in Italy with flu, exhaustion and a lung infection. [34] He was hospitalised with extreme dehydration and exhaustion in Germany in July 2005. [35] As he grew older, he used less alcohol and drugs as he suffered from diabetes and hypertension. In June 2013, it was reported that he had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator fitted. [1] His tour was cancelled in July 2013 due to a severe haematoma. [36] He referred to his continuing drug use as "dogged insolence in the face of mounting opposition to the contrary". [30] Towards the end of his life he had to use a walking stick. [37] He had started smoking at the age of 11. [38] In August 2015, he said he had cut down his smoking habit from two packs a day to one pack a week. [39] He was hospitalised with a lung infection in September 2015, after having breathing problems when performing onstage. [40]

Lemmy's grave at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Lemmy's Grave.jpg
Lemmy's grave at Forest Lawn, Hollywood

On 28 December 2015, four days after his 70th birthday, Lemmy died at his apartment in Los Angeles from prostate cancer, cardiac arrhythmia and congestive heart failure. [41] [42] [43] Motörhead announced his death on their official Facebook page later that day. According to the band, his cancer had only been diagnosed two days prior to his death. [44]

Lemmy's manager, Todd Singerman, later revealed:

He [Lemmy] gets home [from tour], we have a big birthday party for him at the Whisky A Go Go. His friends came down and played. Two days later I could tell he wasn't feeling good. So we took him to the hospital. They release him. Then after the brain scan, they found the cancer in his brain and his neck. The doctor comes with the result a couple of days later and says "It's terminal." [45]

Lemmy's doctor had given him between two and six months to live. Following the terminal diagnosis, Rainbow Bar owner Mikael Maglieri brought a video game machine that Lemmy was fond of playing at the establishment over to his apartment so he could continue playing it from his bedside. [46] Although his manager had planned to keep the news private until his eventual death, Lemmy strongly encouraged him to make the diagnosis public in early 2016, but he died before a press release could be drafted. [46]


Lemmy's memorial service took place at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, on 9 January 2016. [1] The service was streamed live over YouTube with more than 230,000 people logging on to watch, [47] while others gathered at the Rainbow. His body was cremated following the funeral. His remains were placed in a 3D-printed mantelpiece shaped like his trademark cavalry hat and emblazoned with the slogan "born to lose, lived to win". [48] The piece was on display during his funeral and was later interred at Forest Lawn. [48]


In various media, additional tributes appeared from fellow rock stars such as Ozzy Osbourne, [49] Alice Cooper, Metallica, [50] Scott Ian of Anthrax, [51] and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi. [52]

Reviewing his career after his death, The Daily Telegraph said:

Over the years as guitarists and drummers passed through Motörhead's lineup, Lemmy remained the grizzled heart of the machine. His bronchial rasp—directed into a towering microphone tilted down into his weather-beaten face, was one of the most recognizable voices in rock, while his Rickenbacker guitar recast the bass as an overpowered, distorted rhythmic rumble. [2]

In 2005, the UK magazine Classic Rock presented Lemmy with its first "Living Legend" award. [53] In a 2013 interview with the magazine, Lemmy said he had never expected to make it to 30, but he spoke very pointedly about the future, indicating neither he nor the band was obsessing about the end:

Death is an inevitability, isn't it? You become more aware of that when you get to my age. I don't worry about it. I'm ready for it. When I go, I want to go doing what I do best. If I died tomorrow, I couldn't complain. It's been good. [54]

In February 2016, the Hollywood Vampires performed at the Grammy Award ceremony as a tribute to Lemmy. [55] On 11 June, Download Festival paid tribute to Lemmy by renaming the main stage the "Lemmy Stage", and in the slot where Motorhead were due to play, there was a video tribute to Lemmy in which they played his music and his peers talked about him. [56] On 17 November, Metallica released a tribute song titled "Murder One", named after Lemmy's frequently used amp. The song, from their album Hardwired... to Self-Destruct , depicts Lemmy's rise to fame. On 18 January 2017, Lemmy was inducted into the Hall of Heavy Metal History for being the creator of thrash metal. [57] In 2017, the extinct crocodile relative Lemmysuchus [58] was named after Lemmy. [59] On 14 November 2016, asteroid 243002 was officially named 243002 Lemmy, [60] complimenting asteroid 250840 Motorhead, named after the band in 2014. [61]

In 2018, Hawkwind recorded a new acoustic version of Lemmy's "The Watcher" (originally recorded on Doremi Fasol Latido, 1972) on the album The Road to Utopia with production, arrangement and additional orchestrations by Mike Batt and a guest appearance from Eric Clapton. [62]

Collaborations and songwriting

Lemmy worked with several musicians, apart from his Motörhead bandmates, over the course of his career. He wrote the song "R.A.M.O.N.E.S" for the Ramones, which he played in his live sets as a tribute to the band. He also produced a Ramones E.P and an album for Warfare entitled Metal Anarchy in which Wurzel guested on guitar, He was brought in as a songwriter for Ozzy Osbourne's 1991 No More Tears album, providing lyrics for the tracks "Hellraiser," (which Motörhead later recorded themselves and released as a single), "Desire," "I Don't Want to Change the World" and the single "Mama I'm Coming Home". Lemmy noted in several magazine and television interviews that he made more money from the royalties of that one song that he had in his entire time with Motörhead. After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2000, for which he was hospitalized briefly, Lemmy again appeared with Motörhead at WrestleMania X-Seven. Lemmy published his autobiography, White Line Fever, in November 2002. In 2005 Motörhead won their first Grammy in the Best Metal Performance category with their cover of Metallica's "Whiplash". In the same year he began recording an unreleased solo album titled Lemmy & Friends, which was intended to include a collaboration with Janet Jackson. [63]

In 2014, he established his own recording label, Motorhead Music, to promote and develop new talent. Acts he signed to the label and helped develop include Barb Wire Dolls, Budderside, Others, and Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. [64]

Film and television

Cameo appearances

Lemmy made appearances in film and television, including 1990 science fiction film Hardware and the 1987 comedy Eat the Rich , for which Motörhead also recorded the soundtracks including the title song. He appeared as himself in the 1986 The Comic Strip Presents... episode More Bad News, along with fellow heavy metal musicians Ozzy Osbourne, the Scorpions and Def Leppard. In 1984, Motörhead were the musical guests on the TV show The Young Ones , in the episode "Bambi". He appears in the 1994 comedy Airheads (in which he is credited as "Lemmy von Motörhead"). [65] [66] Lemmy has a cameo in Ron Jeremy's 1994 pornographic film John Wayne Bobbitt Uncut as the discoverer of Bobbitt's severed penis. The appendage is thrown from the window of a moving car and lands at Lemmy's feet who exclaims: "Looks like a dick! Fucking hell! Ah well, it's not mine at least." The film's soundtrack also features the Motörhead song "Under the Knife". [67]

He has also appeared in several movies from Troma Entertainment, including the narrator in 1996's Tromeo and Juliet and as himself in both Terror Firmer and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV . His last role was portraying the President of the United States in Return to Nuke 'Em High . He has a cameo role in the film Down and Out with the Dolls (Kurt Voss, 2001). He appears as a lodger who lives in a closet. [68] He appeared[ when? ] on Down and Dirty with Jim Norton as the series DJ, and also wrote the theme music. [69] He appeared in a 2001 advertisement for Kit Kat, playing violin as part of a string quartet in a genteel tearoom. [70] In 2015 Lemmy appeared as a central figure in the Björn Tagemose-directed silent film Gutterdämmerung opposite Grace Jones, Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop, Tom Araya of Slayer and Eagles of Death Metal's Jesse Hughes. [71]

Lemmy film

The 2010 rockumentary film Lemmy was directed and produced by Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski. It consists of a combination of 16 mm film and HD video footage, produced over three years. [72] It features interviews with friends, peers, and admirers such as Dave Grohl, Slash, Ozzy Osbourne, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo of Metallica, David Ellefson of Megadeth, Scott Ian of Anthrax, Alice Cooper, Peter Hook of Joy Division/New Order, Dee Snider, Nikki Sixx, Mick Jones of the Clash, Ice-T, Kat Von D, Henry Rollins, Lars Frederiksen of Rancid, Jim Heath of The Reverend Horton Heat, Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats, Mike Inez, Joan Jett, pro skateboarder Geoff Rowley, pro wrestler Triple H, "Fast" Eddie Clarke, Jarvis Cocker, Marky Ramone, former Hawkwind bandmates Dave Brock and Stacia, and Steve Vai. [73]

In video games

He was the main character in the 16-bit video game Motörhead, released for the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST in 1992. [74] Lemmy provided his voice as the Arms Dealer in the 2006 game Scarface: The World Is Yours . [75] Lemmy also appeared as an unlockable character in the 2009 game Guitar Hero: Metallica . [76] He also provided his voice for the 2009 video game Brütal Legend , voicing the Kill Master, a character designed and based on his surname and likeness. [77] Lemmy was also the inspiration for the Mario game character Lemmy Koopa, who made his first appearance in Super Mario Bros. 3 . [78] In the Victor Vran Downloadable content "Motorhead Through The Ages", there is a new "Lemmy's Outfit" armour. The other Motörhead bandmates' armour is also available.


Lemmy in his usual singing stance, May 2005 Lemmy-03.jpg
Lemmy in his usual singing stance, May 2005

Lemmy positioned his microphone in an uncommonly high position, angled so that he appeared to be looking up at the sky rather than at the audience. He said that it was for "personal comfort, that's all. It's also one way of avoiding seeing the audience. In the days when we only had ten people and a dog, it was a way of avoiding seeing that we only had ten people and a dog." [79]

Lemmy's first bass was a Hopf model that he bought soon after joining Hawkwind. [80] For the majority of his career, he used Rickenbacker basses. [81] In September 1996, his Rickenbacker bass was featured in the Bang Your Head exhibition at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, US. [82] Rickenbacker has introduced a signature 4004LK "Lemmy Kilmister" bass. [83]

He used a bass stack made by Marshall Amplification, with three JMP Super Bass amplifier heads each driving a cabinet with four 15-inch speakers; the three heads were labeled "Killer," "No Remorse," and "Murder One." [84] After he blew up "Murder One" he replaced it with a Marshall he named "Marsha."[ citation needed ] Early on he used perhaps his best-known amp named "Hammer."[ citation needed ]


For releases with Motörhead see the Motörhead discography

Member of the Rockin' Vickers

Member of Sam Gopal

Member of Hawkwind

Member of Robert Calvert's band

Side projects and career-spanning groups

Band collaborations

Charity collaborations

Guest appearances

Film soundtracks, tribute, wrestling and various artists albums


Video tape/laser disc


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Ace of Spades is the fourth studio album by the band Motörhead, released 8 November 1980, on Bronze Records. It peaked at No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart and reached Gold status by March 1981. It was preceded by the release of the title track as a single on 27 October, which peaked in the UK Singles Chart at No. 15 in early November.

<i>Bomber</i> (album) album by Motörhead

Bomber is the third studio album by the band Motörhead, released on 27 October 1979, on Bronze Records, their second with the label. The album reached #12 on the UK charts at the time.

<i>Another Perfect Day</i> album

Another Perfect Day is the sixth studio album by the band Motörhead, released 4 June 1983, on Bronze Records; which would also be their last full length original album with the label. It reached number 20 in the UK Albums Chart. It is the band's only studio album to feature lead guitarist Brian "Robbo" Robertson, best known for his work with Thin Lizzy.

<i>1916</i> (album) album

1916 is the ninth studio album by Motörhead, released 26 February 1991. It was their first on WTG Records. 1916 reached number 24 in the UK and 142 in the US. The single "The One to Sing the Blues" peaked at #45.

Phil Taylor (musician) English drummer

Philip John Taylor, better known as Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, was an English drummer for the rock band Motörhead from 1975–1984 and 1987–1992, recording eleven studio albums and four live albums. The Motörhead line-up consisting of Taylor, Lemmy, and "Fast" Eddie Clarke is generally regarded as the 'classic' line-up of the band.

Ace of Spades (song) song by Motörhead

"Ace of Spades" is a song by English heavy metal band Motörhead, released in 1980 as a single and the title track to the album Ace of Spades.

Motorhead (song) song by Hawkwind

"Motorhead" is a song written by Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister while he was a member of the English space rock band Hawkwind. It was later recorded by Motörhead, as he called it this instead of Bastard on his then manager's advice.

Overkill (Motörhead song) song by Motörhead

"Overkill" is a song by the British hard rock band Motörhead. It was released in 7" and 12" vinyl pressings in 1979. It is backed with B-side "Too Late Too Late" which appears on the CD re-issues of the Overkill album. Early copies came with a free "Overkill" badge. The single reached number 39 on the UK Singles Chart.

No Class 1979 single by Motörhead

"No Class" is a song by the British heavy metal band Motörhead. It was released in 1979 in 7" vinyl pressings. The song first appeared on the 1979 album Overkill, and became one of the "cornerstones" of the classic 1981 live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith. It is one of the band's "anthems".

Iron Fist (song) song

"Iron Fist" is a song by the British heavy metal band Motörhead. It was released as a single in 1982, in 7" pressings in blue, black and translucent red vinyl.

Phil Campbell (musician) British musician

Philip Anthony Campbell is a Welsh rock musician, best known as the lead guitarist in Motörhead from 1984 to 2015. The band disbanded upon the death of founder and frontman Lemmy. He currently tours with his own band Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, featuring his three sons; Todd, Dane and Tyla.

Born to Raise Hell (Motörhead song) Single by Motörhead featuring Ice-T and Whitfield Crane

"Born to Raise Hell" is a song by the British heavy metal band Motörhead. Originally written by Lemmy for the German band Skew Siskin, it plays over the opening credits of the 1994 film Airheads in which Lemmy makes a cameo appearance.

<i>Doremi Fasol Latido</i> album

Doremi Fasol Latido is the third studio album by English space rock band Hawkwind. It was produced by Rockfield Studios and released in 1972. It reached No. 14 on the UK album charts.

Motorhead (Motörhead song) single by Motörhead

"Motorhead" is the eponymous song of the British heavy metal band of the same name. It was originally recorded by the space rock band Hawkwind, of whom the song's author, Motörhead frontman Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, had been a member from 1971 to 1975. It was the last song that he had written for them, but it had only been released as the B-side of the single "Kings of Speed", in March 1975. In May of that year, Lemmy was fired from Hawkwind and formed a new band, naming it after the song. It indicated the direction in which he planned to go: hard rock, not space rock. Motörhead recorded two new versions of the song later that year, one as part of a demo session with producer Dave Edmunds and then another as part of the sessions for what was meant to have been Motörhead's debut album. However, their record label, United Artists Records, decided to shelve the project and dropped the band without releasing any of the material. Over a year later, the song was recorded yet again for Chiswick Records, during the session for their actual debut album and was released ahead of it, in June 1977, as their second 7" single.

The Rickenbacker 4001 is a bass guitar that was manufactured by Rickenbacker as a two-pickup "deluxe" version of their first production bass, the single-pickup model 4000. This famed design was manufactured between 1961 and 1981, when it was replaced by an updated version dubbed the Rickenbacker 4003. Variant models of the 4001 include the 4001S, 4001LH, 1999, 4001V63 (reissue), 4001CS and the 4001C64S C Series, a recreation of Paul McCartney's left-handed 4001S with a reversed headstock. There is also a Lemmy Kilmister signature version (4004LK) of the instrument.

<i>Lemmy</i> (film) 2010 film directed by Wes Orshoski Greg Olliver

Lemmy is a 2010 rockumentary film profile of the English rock musician Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, founder, bassist, and lead vocalist of the British heavy metal band Motörhead.

<i>Bastards</i> (Motörhead album) album by Motörhead

Bastards is the 11th studio album by the band Motörhead, released 29 November 1993, on ZYX Music, the first and last for this label.



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  • Kilmister, Lemmy; Garza, Janiss (2012), White Line Fever: The Autobiography, Simon and Schuster, ISBN   978-1-471-11271-3

Further reading