Monday, December 28, 2015

Passings: Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead (1945 - 2015)

Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister, the singer, bassist and principle composer for the band Motorhead, has died at the age of 70. Kilmister had fought a number of medical problems in recent years but died from an aggressive form of cancer that he only learned he had on Saturday.

The members of Motorhead wrote on their Facebook page:

There is no easy way to say this… our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer. He had learnt of the disease on December 26th, and was at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game from the Rainbow which had recently made it’s way down the street, with his family. We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words. We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please… play Motörhead loud.
Lemmy, who just turned 70 on Christmas Eve, was born in the Burslem area of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.  He grew up in a broken home until the age of ten when his mother remarried although he didn't get along with his step-siblings.

The Beatles were the major influence on Lemmys early taste in music. He saw them perform at the Cavern Club and learned to play guitar along with their debut album. At the age of 17, he moved to Stockport where he began playing with local bands including the Rainmakers and the Motown Set. In 1965, he joined The Rockin' Vickers who were signed to Columbia and toured behind three unsuccessful singles.

In 1967, Lemmy moved to London and roomed with Noel Redding and manager Neville Chesters, leading to his working as a roadie for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Later, he became a member of such groups as Sam Gopal and Opal Butterfly before joining Hawkwind in 1972.

It was while with Hawkwind that Lemmy changed from guitar to bass and began singing on some of their songs including the number 3 U.K. hit Silver Machine (1972).

Lemmy was fired from Hawkwind in 1975 and formed Motorhead (originally known as Bastard) with Larry Wallis and Lucas Fox. Wallis and Fox were eventually replaced by "Fast" Eddie Clarke and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor. The band went on to release 22 studio albums and have hits with such songs as Ace of Spades (1980 / #15 U.K.) and Motorhead (1981 / #6 U.K.), which was the last song Lemmy had written for Hawkwind. Their last album was August's Bad Magic.

Outside of Motorhead, Lemmy had written songs for the Ramones, Ozzy Osbourne and other artists. He also appeared in cameos in a number of films.

In 2000, Lemmy was diagnosed with diabetes. The last couple of years has seen Motorhead tours be postponed and shows cut short due to a hematoma, the implantation of a defibrillator due to an uneven heartbeat and a number of other medical problems.