The "Motorhead" front man speaks about life, and what he knows best. "Ian Frasier (Lemmy) Kilmister", known for his hard punchy bass, and epic mutton shops, has been an original and longtime member of his band since 1975. Now 66, Lemmy shares some of his life experience with us.
When starting out with the band "Hawkwind" sometime in 1972, he was hired as a guitar player. Yet when he got to the gig, the bassist was absent but left his gear in the van. So Lemmy snatched up the bass, and learned how to play it right on stage. He said of the experience, "I'd never picked a bass up in my life before. It's probably much easier than it is to sit around torturing yourself to death trying to learn it note-by-note in front of a little booklet. It's much better if you can make a few mistakes. And the volume's loud so nobody really notices that much."
Unbeknownst to most people, Lemmy considered quitting music at an early stage of his life; but I'm not sure that he was serious. While working as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix, he was completely blown away. Lemmy didn't feel that anyone could touch the performance that Jimi gave onstage, and I have to say that I don't disagree with him. Lemmy described it as an "indescribable feeling". "The sounds that Jimi could pull out of that guitar was amazing." After watching him, he said that everyone should just quit playing guitar, because there was no way that they would ever achieve what Jimi had.
His personal hobby is collecting Nazi memorabilia. Does this mean that Lemmy is a Nazi? No. He just started collecting when a friend of his gave him a flag, and then another gave him a dagger. From there he just started collecting; not only because it was cool, but because there was still a lot of it to be had, and it was fairly easy to get. So remember this, if you want to collect a controversial item, don't let people get the wrong impression about you because of it.
On his 50th birthday, Lemmy learned that "there are still gentlemen in the world." Metallica had made a special trip to perform for that special party. They interrupted recording their album, 'Load,' all dressed up as Lemmy with the "Born to Lose" tattoo in Magic Marker on the wrong arm, with wigs and black gloves and bullet belts. They all came to play at the "Whisky Lounge" [in Los Angeles] for 45 minutes."
Lemmy had a very short incarceration for drug possession; he was sprung within 24 hours. He hated every minute of his incarceration. But his band "Hawkwind" bailed him out, he played their gig with them, and was then promptly fired. It seems that they were unable to find a replacement for the show, so he got to play one last show with them. He soon learned that he needed to form his own band because as Lemmy put it, "I got fired from every other fucking band I was in."
When the subject of marriage is brought up, Lemmy doesn't regret being a bachelor. He said, "I don't know any happily married couples, not even my parents. My father was a stranger to me, and I learned that my stepfather was fighting a losing battle with my mother. Almost everyone is unhappy with themselves when they realize what they've done."
So remember, if you need to learn bass on the fly, do it onstage. If you want to collect things others may not approve, screw it, and do it anyway. When you've lost all faith that there are no living gentlemen, they are there, you just need to look and listen for them. Lastly, if you think you should get married to save your relationship, don't. Because as Lemmy so eloquently put it, "Nothing kills a relationship like commitment."