As you all may or may not know, the world awoke to sad news on December 28, 2015. Yes, the legend and icon Lemmy Kilmister from the English rock band, Motorhead, passed away on December 28 at the age of seventy due to late diagnosed cancer.
On December 26, 2015, Lemmy had been diagnosed with aggressive cancer that was extreme. When they took tests, they had found the cancer in his brain and neck. After speculation, the doctor had come to terms with the fact that the illness was indeed fatal.
Before cancer, Lemmy has also suffered from diabetes, a hematoma, high blood pressure, and a lung infection. He also had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator inserted into his chest. His excessive drinking is believed to have been a part of his declining health.
The doctors originally gave him two to six months left to live his life, but those couple of months were cut drastically short when only two days later, he died from his illness in his Los Angeles home spending time playing his favourite video game from The Rainbow… An announcement to the public about his illness was supposed to be made in early January 2016 instead of keeping it a secret, but due to the unexpected death, it wasn’t able to happen.
December 28, 2015 was a day that devastated so many people in the world. At the age of 70, Lemmy led a life that he was proud of and wasn’t ashamed of anything. That amount of happiness and pride along with all the music he created inspired so many of us and will continue to inspire us for a long time.
No matter how devastated we are by his death, Lemmy would want us to continue our lives celebrating him instead of being sad. Death is sad, but it’s an inevitable thing that happens in life and is out of our control. So let us all play a Hawkwind and Motorhead album or two and have a drink for him.
Motorhead is a band that continues to influence peoples’ lives and touch peoples’ hearts and it is because of this reason that, we wanted to write this list that continues the uplifting spirit of Lemmy, as a tribute to him. Without further ado, here are the top 10 facts about the rock legend.
10. Lemmy has his own film.
On March 15, 2010, the film Lemmy was released in the United States. It’s also known as a rockumentary, a documentary that talks about rock musicians and rock music. Parts of the film were shot in the United States and many European countries such as Germany, England, Finland, and more over the course of three years.
The film made its first appearance in Austin, Texas during the South by Southwest (SXSW) event, receiving lots of compliments from magazines and others. It was also screened in multiple countries throughout Europe and South America.
In the film, it’s mentioned that Lemmy spends most of his time out on the road with his band, Motorhead, and at a place called Rainbow Bar and Grill. It also features a lot of other musicians and friends of Lemmy who give interviews to the camera.
Lemmy received lots of positive feedback including a whopping 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. It was released in cinemas in the United Kingdom in December 2010 and in the United States in January and February 2011. In March 2011, it was released on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download in the US.
The Blu-ray edition had more than four more hours of extras. The DVD release had more than three hours of bonus footage, including footage of Lemmy and Metallica playing music together. On January 24, 2011, the DVD was released in the United Kingdom.
There are more facts that could be given about Lemmy Kilmister, but these are some of the most interesting and positive ones for you to know about.
9. Lemmy was a little bit of an actor.
He wasn’t involved in acting as much as, say, Liam Neeson was, but he had dipped his toes a little bit into the acting world.
He made small appearances in films and television shows such as Hardware, Eat the Rich, The Young Ones, Airheads, Tromeo and Juliet, Return to Nuke ‘Em High, Down and Out with the Dolls, and Down and Dirty with Jim Norton. He played himself in the movies Terror Firmer and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV.
8. People Wanted to Rename Jack Daniels and a Coke After Lemmy
After Lemmy’s death at the end of last year, fans of the man signed a petition to change the name of Jack Daniels and a Coke, his favourite drink in the past, to his. The creator of the petition wanted to be able to celebrate Lemmy with this name change. As of today, over 130,000 people have signed the petition.
7. His first band was called The Rockin’ Vickers.
Hawkwind and Motorhead weren’t Lemmy’s first rodeos. He actually first joined the music scene by being in the band The Rockin’ Vickers (formerly fully written out as Rev Black and the Rockin’ Vickers) which was formed in 1963.
Even after the name change, they had to shorten their name even more to just Rockin’ Vickers for a better chance at signing a contract with a record label and obtaining live show gigs.
With only four singles released, the band ended up disbanding in 1967, but not before they became one of the first bands to perform in a socialist country.
Before that, when Lemmy moved to London in 1967, he had joined a psychedelic underground rock band called Sam Gopal (named after its founder). The band had broken up just a few years later. Shortly after Sam Gopal disbanded, Lemmy had actually joined another psychedelic rock band called Opal Butterfly which formed in 1969, but the group split shortly after due to a lack of the public’s interest in their music.
6. The Motorhead album, Overkill, was the band’s big break.
Lemmy was thirty years old when Motorhead was formed and it took about five years for the band to shine. Despite a great debut album, it wasn’t until they recorded and released Overkill in 1979 that the band started getting some recognition.
It was all worth the wait as the album made it to the 24th spot on the UK charts and the 46th spot in the list of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time in Kerrang! Magazine.
The band’s success mostly began in 1980. The single that was a part of this success was “Ace of Spades”.
5. Motorhead wasn’t the only band he was a part of.
Motorhead may be where most of his legend came from, but it wasn’t the only component of his musical career. Before forming Motorhead in 1975, he had joined another band called Hawkwind in 1972 as their bassist (despite having no experience as a bass guitarist) and vocalist. After his arrest at the Canadian-US border, he was let go from the band.
4. Lemmy’s microphone position was unique.
Most singers keep their microphone positioned at a regular height so that it’s comfortable and they can see the audience. Lemmy, however, always put his microphone in a much higher position. It was angled so that his view was focused more on the sky rather than the audience for his own personal comfort.
3. A few aspects of video games were inspired by him.
A handful of video games included the singer in one way or another. In the video game called Motorhead, Lemmy was the main character. This game was released in 1992. In Guitar Hero: Metallica, released in 2009, he made an appearance as an unlockable character.
He also voiced the character Kill Master who was in the 2009 game called Brutal Legend. Kill Master was a character based on his last name, Kilmister. Last but not least, the character Lemmy Koopa in Super Mario was named after him.
2. Lemmy and Ozzy Osbourne were close knit friends.
Throughout the years, Lemmy and fellow rock singer, Ozzy Osbourne, have become the best of friends. They first met when Lemmy came to the United States with very little to his name.
Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy’s wife, came to Lemmy and asked him if he wanted to write a couple of songs after offering him a generous amount of money that he had never seen before in his life, not even during his music career. This moment of time caused Lemmy and Ozzy to form a very close friendship, both personal and musical, throughout his lifetime.
1. Lemmy is not his real first name.
You probably already know this if you’re one of the band’s top fans, but for the newcomers, Lemmy’s real and full name is actually Ian Fraser Kilmister.
In Wales, there is a town called Amlwch where he attended a school called Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones. He received the nickname “Lemmy” while at the school.
Lemmy said he was unaware of where his nickname originated from, but others have claimed that it came from saying “lemmy” rather than “lend me” when he needed some money for the slot machines.