Chris Moore: Lemmy.
Chris Moore: ... God?
Rex: Wrong, dickhead, trick question. Lemmy *IS* God.
- Airheads, 1994
|Image acquired from Motörhead's official site.|
Lemmy Kilmister has passed away. Let that sink in for a second and realize that, if you're one of millions whose life had somehow become better thanks to this man, you never thought this could ever actually happen. The man was unstoppable. In life and in music, Lemmy was the guy who seemed to welcome age and illness with a shit-eating grin, alcohol on his breath, a Rickenbacker in his hands and that booming voice of his that raged with an air that spoke, "If you're not rock n' roll, you're part of the problem. Get out of the way." Many artists boast their distinction from the pack and put on airs like their genius and charisma are unmatched. We'll see if those artists amass the respect and sworn allegiance Lemmy had from a fan base whose numbers few could hope to earn, living till 70 years of age as a touring musician who gave his all. Death didn't seem possible. It was as if all Lemmy had to do was simply tell the Reaper to go fuck himself and that was enough to make him walk away, head bowed, scythe limp.
There will never be another Lemmy. If that sounds tragic, it's because it is.
As generations pass and the musical ambassadors from eras long ago have continually softened with age, weakening as the creases in their faces become more evident, as their hair recedes and their eyes become sunken, Lemmy was the guy who simply refused to slow down. For the sake of perspective, listen to 35 year-old John Lennon performing rock covers for his Rock 'n' Roll LP, an album released the same year Motörhead came into being. Listen to Lennon, a man who Lemmy had embraced as inspiration, dilute and sterilize some of rock's boldest numbers, removing the vitality from Gene Vincent, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. He turned rock into shopping music, revealing a willingness to settle at 35 years of age. If that sounds unfair, so what? Some artists are more than happy to treat their public to a saccharine and half-assed smattering of easy-sell BS, either riding the nostalgia circuit by recycling hits or offer over-hyped spectacle to disguise mediocrity. Lemmy was one of those rare performers, a man who could tear through material both old and the new, confident that any audience he'd face would be happy to hear it all.
I regret that I never got to see Motörhead live. And I regret even more that I never will.
The King is dead. Long live the king. And with Lemmy's passing, we mourn Rock's demise as well.
Letters From A Tapehead