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8 Facts About Lemmy

January 5, 2016

The legendary Motörhead frontman passed away over the holidays.

Lemmy Kilmister

  • During his younger years, Ian Kilmister he loved to play slot machines and would borrow money from friends and family to feed his addiction. He was known to utter things like “lemmy a fiver until Friday,” which is how he earned his nickname.
  • While juggling his duties in fledgling British bands with name like The Rainmakers and The Motown Sect, Lemmy also worked as a roadie. Among the acts whose gear he helped set up: The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
  • In 1971, Lemmy joined the space rock band Hawkwind and agreed to play bass guitar for them even though he didn’t know how to do so. He was given the boot four years later when he was arrested on drug charges at the U.S./Canadian border.
  • Lemmy formed a new band in 1975 that was eventually dubbed Motörhead (which was also the title of the last song that he wrote for Hawkwind) that went on to become of the most popular and influential heavy metal bands in the world.
  • Throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, Lemmy earned a reputation for being one of the wildest guys in the music business. Tales of his drug and alcohol consumption rival that of even legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and, by some accounts, he slept with over 2,000 women during his lifetime. According to Osbourne, Lemmy also once managed to stay awake for a staggering 10 days straight.
  • Despite Motörhead’s success, Lemmy lived in a small apartment in West Hollywood. Why? Because it was conveniently located near the Rainbow Bar and Grill, his favorite bar.
  • Lemmy was obsessed with World War II, in particular German memorabilia, even though he was hardly a Nazi sympathizer. As he told a reporter in 2010: “I’ve always liked a good uniform, and throughout history, it’s always been the bad guy who dressed the best: Napoleon, the Confederates, the Nazis.” Two years prior, he broke a law in Germany during a photoshoot by deciding to wear an old Nazi cap.
  • Despite increasing health problems, Lemmy continued to tour with Motörhead up until a few weeks prior to his death. Their last show together was on December 11th in Berlin, just 17 days before Lemmy passed.
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