Born To Lose. Live to Win.

Earlier in December an all star 70th birthday party was thrown, at The Rainbow Bar and Grill, Sunset Strip. SlashDuff McKaganMatt SorumBilly IdolBilly Duffy from The CultSteve Jones of The Sex PistolsZakk WyldeScott Ian and Charlie Benante from Anthrax were all there to wish Lemmy Happy Birthday.

Yet, underneath the hat, Lemmy looked ill, old and tired. News of an aggressive cancer and a couple of years of ill health, nevermind a lifetime of hard rock ‘n’ roll living, seemed to be taking its toll.

Today, Eddie Trunk aired the news many thought we’d never hear. Then the Motörhead Facebook page confirmed it.

Lemmy 91“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 favourite 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 played bass and sang in a worn gravelly voice, neck straining up at a mike, one which never changed,through his many early bands to The Rocking Vickers or Hawkwind.

Upon being sacked from Hawkwind on the Canadian border, Lemmy became his own boss and wanted to call his band Bastard. Manager Doug Smith said, “You’ll never get on Top of the Pops with a name like that.” It wasn’t so much TOTP but their appearance on The Young Ones which gave me a buzz, and a taste of music much noisier and faster than Madness, Wham! or Duran Duran, which were flooding Radio One in 1984.

Ace Of Spades. Well, there’s nothing more to be said, but Killed By Death, with Lemmy’s call of ‘solo’ introducing the, er, solo, before the first verse, and the galloping Going To Brazil are further favourites. Iron Fist, Bomber; all consistent currency when dealing with Motörhead.

Albums, like members, came and went. Releasing records gave Lemmy an excuse to tour, see parts of the world and many of its people others can’t even dream of, a further extension of him living his life as he saw fit – Born To Lose, Live to Win. Even switching from whiskey to vodka for health reasons two years ago.

“Apparently I am still indestructible,” he insisted in a 2014 interview with the Guardian, noting that the only thing that will keep him from playing music was death itself. “As long as I can walk the few yards from the back to the front of the stage without a stick,” he said, adding with a laugh, “Or even if I do have to use a stick.”

Yet, in November 2015 when Lemmy learned of the death of former drummer Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor, he mused…

“I’m feeling very sad at the moment, in fact devastated because one of my best friends died yesterday. I miss him already. His name was Phil Taylor, or Philthy Animal, and he was our drummer twice in our career. We’re still going, we’re still going strong, it’s just first Wurzel and now Philthy, it’s a shame man. I think this rock’n’roll business might be bad for the human life”

Today we can mourn, but for me, I’ll be celebrating his life by watching the ‘Lemmy’ documentary. Lemmy is everything you thought he might be, from showing love for his son Paul to being dry humoured, professional, a gentleman, big hearted, grumpy and a joker – the documentary makers wanted to film him cooking his chips but Lemmy didn’t want his dirty kitchen in the film, so they cleaned it for him, only for Lemmy to say they couldn’t film him.

My younger brother has the middle name of Saxon, another great of British Heavy Metal, although not influenced by Biff and Co. My mother disapproved of Bowie for my daughter, so I think Alexander Motörhead Tate would never have been on the agenda.

Lemmy is now reunited with Philthy, and wherever they are just got louder, plus the lawn next door will die.

Motorhead_4

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