Mere words cannot express the sorrow at the loss of Lemmy Kilmister, founder and constant member of the band Motorhead. Lemmy was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer on December 26 of this year. He was 70 years old.
According to the Guardian UK, Lemmy was born Ian Fraser Kilmister in the UK in 1945, and founded the band Motorhead in 1975. The band released 23 albums, including their live album, “No Sleep til the Hammersmith” and had a 1980 hit with the song “Ace of Spades.” In 2005, the band won its first Grammy, for their cover of Metallica’s “Whiplash.” Their most recent album, “Bad Magic” was released earlier this year.
Motorhead is credited with pioneering the thrash and speed metal sounds although Lemmy did not like to be categorized. He played before audiences to all genres, from punk to metal. He wrote the power ballad for Ozzy Osbourne, “Mama I’m Coming Home.” Lemmy insisted that they were just a simple rock and roll band.
Lemmy said his influences were Little Richard and The Beatles. He served as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix, and joined his first band, Hawkwind, in 1972. In his autobiography he wrote that he was fired from the band for “using the wrong drugs.” Motorhead itself is a term used to describe a hardcore cocaine user. He details his life, career and substance battles in his 2004 autobiography, White Line Fever.
Lemmy was famous for his snarling vocals, driving bass as well as for his muttonchops and his lifestyle. In 2010, a documentary called “Lemmy’ was released. It captured his larger than life personality to critical acclaim and delight of his fans. According to Rolling Stone, he once said he drank a bottle of Jack Daniels every day. He was a fixture at the bar The Rainbow in L.A. In 2013 his health began to deteriorate, but it didn’t stop Motorhead from touring up until this year. He was the epitome of “live fast, die old.”
He was beloved by fans and the entire rock and roll community, which took to Facebook and Twitter last night with a huge outpouring of love and grief. From Ozzy, Gene Simmons, Slash, Vince Neil, Dave Mustaine of Megadeath, Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, rapper Ice-T, and hundreds of others burned up social media with love for Lemmy.