2016 is here although, 2015 didn’t leave without a fight. Didn’t it seem like the casualties were high? Two iconic voices were taken from us at the end of last year. Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver. He had waged many battles in his lifetime. It seems he lost the final one on a tour bus in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Just after Christmas we got the news that Lemmy Kilmister had also died. According to reports he died at home while playing his favorite video game. Lemmy was born to be a rock star. He lived it until his final breath. He was respected by his peers and looked up to by ones who came after.
One of the coolest things I got to do while working at KNAC was I got to co-host Radio Cathouse with Riki Rachtman. At that time, Riki was the host of Headbangers Ball on MTV. The show ran from seven to midnight on Saturdays. We’d play cool music, have guests stop by, and just have a whole lot of fun. For our final show, we took it on the road. It was the middle of winter and we went up to a ski resort. One of the people who came with us was Lemmy. I’m not sure if he went skiing or snowboarding during the day. That would have been quite the site though. The lead singer of Motörhead flying down the mountain with his hat, drink, and cigarette.
I do recall him holding court by the fire. Everyone was drawn to him. He was funny with a biting sense of humor, yet, never malicious. By the time it was time for Riki and I to start the show, Lemmy was many, many drinks in to his day. He got up and sat down between the two of us. He had "it". Whatever "it" is Lemmy had it (pardon the pun) in spades. If rock and roll had a human form it was Lemmy. He didn’t have to get into character, he didn’t have to put on sunglasses, he was just Lemmy and Lemmy was cool.
I’ll be totally honest about two things here. First, I’m not a huge Motörhead fan. It’s rare that I pull out a CD and listen to the whole thing. A song at a time is great for me. Seeing them live was great, but I don’t know too many deep cuts from the Motörhead library. That all being said, I am a fan of the dude. The second thing is, that during that interview I don’t think I understood a single word the man said. Over the years I had often joked that I wanted to come up with a Lemmy translator app.
Over the years, the Rainbow Bar and Grill on the sunset strip in Hollywood became Lemmy’s second home. He’d drink at the bar while playing video poker. Much like up at the mountain by the fire, he would hold court and people were drawn to him. Not because he was famous, not because he wrote songs with Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Grohl, and many others, but because he was Lemmy.
He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer on the 26th of December, he died just 2 days later. Motörhead’s last show was December 11th in Berlin, Germany. The man was a warrior. He did what he loved for the people who loved him back. He was rock and roll till his last breath.
Can you imagine the angel of death coming for Lemmy while he was playing the video game on his couch? I would think Lemmy looked him straight in the eye and asked him:
“We got time to stop at the Rainbow for a quick drink before we go?”
Long live Lemmy Kilmister.