INTERVIEW WITH LEMMY KILMISTER
INTERVIEW BY COREY PARKS
INTRODUCTION BY COREY PARKS
INTERVIEW PART TWO BY STEVE OLSON
I drove up to Lemmy’s place late one Friday afternoon to try and attempt to get as much of an interview as I could get. Dan told me that if I get more than five questions answered, I’d have done better than Olson. I couldn’t believe he sent Olson. bad idea. I mean, Olson, who I’m sure would have been quite toasty before he even got there, had to be coherent. If you’re hanging with Lemmy, he’s pounding Jack and Cokes and offers you one every time as well. Of course, you’re going to say, “Sure. Thanks, man.” I mean, it’s Lemmy! When are you ever going to be just hanging out with Lemmy, shooting the shit and having a drink. I’m surprised Olson even got the five questions in, because Olson was probably three sheets to the wind before he even remembered he had a tape recorder. Lucky, for me, I don’t drink anymore, and mine and Lem’s paths had crossed many years ago when my band did a U.S. tour supporting Motorhead. Lemmy has had a huge influence on my life, as well as any living soul who loves hard rock. He’s a dear friend who’s never changed who he is or what he does. He commands respect, at almost 60, still blows everyone out of the water. Just go to the next Motorhead show and you’ll see what I mean. He’s the hardest working man in rock n’ roll. Lemmy is the real deal. Bow to the one and only, Mr. Lemmy Ian Kilmister.
I want to start off by talking about “Inferno”. I think it’s one of the greatest Motorhead records to come out in the modern Motorhead era. How long did it take to record and write the material?
We never plan it. We always write under the gun. It took about three or four weeks in the studio writing and about six weeks to record it. We’re pretty quick.
Do you have any plans for any live show DVDs?
There’s actually one coming out now. It’s from a show in Dusseldorf, Germany. We recorded it with this guy that does the lights for Rammstein. He did all these amazing lighting effects on it. It should be good. It’s a good show, too.
What about a compilation with a collection of all the old videos?
There are no plans for that, but it’s something we should do. It’s about time someone gathered them all together. There’s tons of shit from years ago.
My friend raves about your book, “White Line Fever”. He says you talk about hating The Clash.
I never liked The Clash. I didn’t hate them. I just didn’t listen to them. I didn’t think they were doing anything new.
Did you ever hear any of Joe’s music that he made right before he died? It’s great.
I have to get a copy of that. I thought The Clash were posers. In ‘78, they went over to Northern Ireland, to Belfast. I’ll never forget it. They were in their overalls with Sandinistas written down the side. It was “solidarity with the socialist workers” and all this bullshit. Then there were pictures of them hiding behind the Royal Constabulary – the arch-conservatives. They were cowering behind the police station on Falls Road in Belfast, where all the shit happens. They’re all carrying these big coffins with Sandinistas written on the side of them. I thought, “There you go. Scared to death.” They’re not walking around going, “Hey, brother. Solidarity.” There was none of that going on. It was more like, “Policeman, protect me.”
How’s the book doing?
It’s doing well. It’s in five languages now. It’s in English, Italian, French, German and Finnish.
Yeah, go figure.
You have some big fans out in Helsinki, man.
Tell me about the writer of the book, Janiss Garza?
She used to write for “Rip” magazine. She writes freelance articles for magazines in New York and California. She’s been around a long time.
How long did it take to nail down the book?
In real time, it was about three months, but it took two years to do all the interviews because it was in between touring and everything else. That’s why it’s taking so long to get my solo album finished.
Tell me about your solo album?
It has two tracks of The Damned.
Which Damned songs did you do?
We did “Neat Neat Neat” and a new one that we wrote together. There are two Reverend Horton Heat tracks and one Dave Grohl track. There are also two Skew Siskin tracks.
How was it working with Nina?
She has an unbelievable voice. It’s just criminal. I’ve never seen a band that looks like that, ever in my life.
Did you sing a duet with her?
Yeah, on one track.
You and Nina sound so great together.
It’s going to be a good album.
How many songs have you done for it already?
What are you going to do for the rest of it?
I’m going to try to get a track on there with Joan Jett and possibly Rancid.
They’re a good band. I like Rancid.
Have you seen Lars lately?
No, I’ve talked to him. He’s seems all right. Why? What’s the story?
He’s trying to look exactly like you. We just did a Punk vs. Psychos Tour and we did a show with his band Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards. The last time that I saw him he looked like every other dogpile punk rocker on the street, but now he’s got the full chops and mustache. He has his hair all slicked back. He’s wearing all black and a black leather vest. I said, “Hey Lem.”
Well, there’s flattery in imitation. I like his band. He doesn’t sound like me.
No, not at all. I like The Bastards, his side project. He’s definitely got some rock n’ roll in him.
I’ve never seen him live.
He’s got a good rapport with the crowd.
I’ve got a tape of some of their stuff from the last tour.
Are there any performers that you’re into?
I saw a good band from New York called Sex Slaves. They’re really good. They‘re outrageous on the stage. They’re real punk. I like that.
Who were your favorite punk bands in the ‘70s?
The Damned were my favorite, for sure. I always thought The Damned were the most punk. The Pistols were a rock band. The Damned were a punk band. They were nuts. They were all over the place.
What’s punk rock to you?
Well, we came up at the same time as punk. We kind of dove tailed with it. We were the only band with long hair that they’d come to see. We sounded punk. Once they go to the gig and realized that we had long hair, it was too late. We had them. Then they’d stay. Both audiences learned to live with each other. We still get a lot of punks at our shows. We get all kinds of people.
I know that the South has a league of Motorhead worshippers. They will follow you to the end.
They love it, and we love them. We have Germans that follow us, too. One of them, his name is Klaus, showed up at the airport in Brazil. He said, “I thought I’d come and see you play in Brazil. It’s going to be great fun.” They’re so earnest and loyal. The old German saying is, “Treuer ist treuer”. It means “Loyal is loyal.
How did Motorhead fit in the punk scene in ’77 when the Sex Pistols came out?
We came out in 1976. That band died very quickly. It lasted only six months. Then the punk thing hit. I went down to the Roxy in London where the punks all played. Johnny Thunders was playing with The Heartbreakers at the time. That was a good band. There were all these people with safety pins in their noses looking at me very strangely. Then I hear this voice behind me that says, “I used to love Hawkwind. I used to sell acid at your shows.” I look around and it’s Johnny Rotten. Then I remembered him. He used to have long hair. He used to run around in an old army coat and sell acid at our gigs. He was happy then. Which only goes to show. Where are your icons now?
You just did a Camp Freddy show with Steve Jones right?
Yeah, we did a great show at the Key Club and I sang “God Save The Queen” with Steve. The basic Camp Freddy band is Matt Sorum, Dave Navarro and Steve Jones, but all different people sing with them. When they did the show in Vegas, they had Joan Jett come up and do two songs. They had Lisa Marie Presley come out at the Avalon and sing with them. She did two Pat Benatar songs. She did “Heartbreaker” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”. It was brilliant. Where else would you see that?
Really? Pat Benatar. That’s quite a range. How did she do?
She did all right. It was one of the best shows. I love Pat Benatar. She was the best.
Pat Benatar was hot.
She was very hot. No tits at all. No rib cage. She would just breathe in those notes and belt it out. She had the best ass.
She’s a looker.
She’s almost Oriental looking. She was fierce. That guitar player husband of hers, Eddie Cochrane, is fierce, too. He’s really good. We need to get Lita Ford and Joan Jett on a track for my album.
Tell me about growing up.
Well, I started out very, very small.
You were a Hendrix roadie. How did that come about?
I went down to London to make my fortune like Dick Whittington and his cat. The only guy I knew in London was Neville. I rang him up and I asked if I could sleep on his floor. He said, “Yeah, sure.” So I went over there. He was sharing a flat with Noel Redding, who was working for Hendrix as a roadie. A few weeks later, they need an extra geezer. In those days there wasn’t a road crew. There were only two of us looking after all of Hendrix’s shit. I wasn’t doing any technical shit. I was just lifting and carrying. Neville would plug it all in. We’d used the house PA. I don’t know how we ever did it. It always sounded great to me. It was just the house PA. No mikes on the drums.
There was no soundman?
There was none of that. That didn’t exist. We used the house PA for the vocals. No mikes on anything. You played how you sounded. That was it. It was normal for then. That’s how you did it. I can’t imagine how awful it must have been. There were no mikes on anything and no speakers at the side of the stage.
LEMMY OF MOTORHEAD
INTERVIEW BY STEVE OLSON
PHOTOS BY DAN LEVY
Why are you such the bad ass rock n’ roller?
Because it’s fun. Nobody ever offered me any real work.
You’ve been going at it a long time now.
Yeah, something like thirty years now.
Do you have any regrets?
None. Life’s too short. You can’t spend the rest of your life worried about the first half.
Right. I heard something a long time ago about Motorhead. You had a number one single, yet everyone in the band was still on the dole?
Yeah, it was the number one album. Straight ahead. It was a live album. We had a number one album and we were straight broke. We enjoyed that.
So it’s getting better?
Yeah, that was a long time ago. That was in ‘81.
Do you get respect now?
We always got respect. They just keep lickin’ n’ buyin’ albums.
What’s your motivation for kicking ass like you do?
(Laughs) I love it.
It’s very simple. Any musician that says they started to play for any other reason is full of shit. It’s to get laid. That’s all there is to it.