I woke up this morning and found that Lemmy Kilmister had died. I thought no, that just can’t be, he isn’t meant to die. Lemmy was meant to continue as the irreducible pirate king of rock n roll, the grade A heretic steamrollering everything in its wake with Motörhead.
I remember when Lemmy was still in Hawkwind, and was already a bit of a legend to some of the friends I knew at school. By his own account he was thrown out of Hawkwind for “liking the wrong drugs”. Hawkwind were themselves a legend, a bit like the Grateful Dead of Labroke Grove, a community band, in the time when “free festivals” were an actual thing.
Motörhead got an instant embrace from anyone who loved dirty, fast, energy laden rock. Even sniffy punks loved them. And they kept going, a bit like The Ramones in their time. Both bands were pure rock n roll, in a very 1950s sense in fact. And Lemmy was instantly iconic, rangy, gravelly, mutton chops moustache like a Victorian villain, outlawish and ordinary blokesish at the same time, made for black and studded belts and iron crosses. He didn’t have to change, because if he dressed utterly nondescript, he’d still be fucking Lemmy.
I guess we knew he’d have to die sometime (unlike Keith Richards, who actually won’t), it just should never be now. Just never.
If there had been any wind in my sails this would have taken it out of them. I did actually shed a few tears. It’s a real loss, and it grieves me. But it has been such a grim feeling xmas, and I could not wait for it to all end. Then Lemmy dies, and I just think fuck it, but fuck yes, life can mean something.
We may not have all those perfect families, and worlds arranged to accommodate our approved desires, or the protection of respectability, but we have our own kind of family, and we know when we have lost one of them.
Thank you Mr Kilmister. We love you.