Lemmy : The Interview

Radio Metal has had the honour of taking part in a little chat with God himself, aka Lemmy Kilmister. But Lemmy, actually, doesn’t give a crap about God. Lemmy likes rock’n’roll, the Beatles, Jack Daniels, Third Reich uniforms, being in adverts that pay him enough to make more rock’n’roll, buying Beatles albums, Jack Daniels, Third… Well, you get the gist. These are simple things for a simple man who doesn’t fuss about. The proof is in this phone interview characterised by his sharp humour and friendly spirit – as long as you don’t interrupt him when he’s playing with a pinball machine, right Doc?

Simply put, here is the little discussion we were able to have with one of the greatest, if not the greatest, icon of our favourite music.

Rock n’roll.

« Why would I want to retire? What do you have when you retire? You have nothing. Everything stops. »

Radio Metal : You’ve got a new album coming out entitled The World Is Yours. It’s actually a title full of hope. Is this how you feel now after a 35 years career with Motörhead? That the world is yours?

Lemmy (bass guitar/vocals) : No the world isn’t mine, the world isn’t yours either but it’s a nice title! (laughs) Stay optimistic! Well, you know, there is no special meaning behind it. Don’t look for deep meanings with Motörhead. We just think that it’s a good, optimistic title.

Do we have to understand that you’re more optimistic now?

No. I was always optimistic or else I couldn’t have been here this long!

To be honest with you, this new album sounds really inspired. What was your state of mind when you wrote these songs? Were there any differences compared to Motorizer or Kiss Of Death?

No, it was exactly the same really. But there was one difference: Phil [Campbell, guitar] had to do his bits over the internet because he was in Wales because his dad was very ill and he died. So we had to do it by mail and he recorded his guitar by mail. It worked out alright though.

There’s a song entitled « Rock’n Rock Music ». It’s obviously a celebration of rock‘n’roll and we can hear you sing that rock’n’roll will save our soul and set us free. Do you think that if people are so depressed nowadays it is because they don’t listen enough to rock’n’roll?

When they did it was a lot more cheerful wasn’t it? Before they started believing and investing in banks, you know? (Laughs) I mean, it’s a much better idea to listen to some rock‘n’roll and dance than to sit around the fucking computer, losing your money.

You also say in the song that you will do Rock’n’Roll until the day you die. Does this mean you will never retire?

Yeah, why would I want to retire? What do you have when you retire? You have nothing. Everything stops.

You also say in the song that Rock’n’Roll is a true religion. So who’d be the Jesus Christ of rock’n’roll? Would that be you?

No. It wouldn’t be me. Probably… Let’s think. Probably that guy out of Korn (laughs). They got that guy who went nuts and who got into religion (note : Lemmy’s talking about Head). Did you hear about that?

Yeah, I heard about that.

He’s probably the Jesus of rock’n’roll. Or at least he thinks so anyway.

You think that he could be the Jesus of rock’n’roll?

No I don’t, he does.

Alright (laughs). By the way this year you played Hellfest festival in France. This festival has had many attacks from various catholic organisations and politics. To the point where the festival owner has found a new slogan for the next edition, which is : « our music, our religion » with a kind of corrupted Jesus Christ represented on the festival’s posters…


And it’s actually already bringing back some fierce debates. What’s do you think about all this?

I don’t care, you know. Religion is stupid anyway. I mean, a virgin gets pregnant by a ghost! (Laughs) You would never get away with it in a divorce court would you? (Laughs)

« Religion is stupid anyway. I mean, a virgin gets pregnant by a ghost! (Laughs) You would never get away with it in a divorce court would you? (Laughs) »

There are some songs on The World Is Yours that echoes the album inferno because of their Heaviness and their modernity. Would you consider Inferno as an important album in Motörhead’s discography?

Yeah, they are all important to me. You know, when you make an album you don’t listen to it yourself that much. Right? You just get it done and move on. Actually we were using the same producer. I mean, that is probably why you got the similar sound because it was the same producer and the same band.

You sang on Slash’s solo album. I know he has already appeared on some Motörhead songs. But in return have you thought about asking him to play again on a Motörhead song?

Yeah he’s going to. I got to write the song first though. We don’t have any guests on this album.

It’s been 15 years now that we get a new Motorhead album every two years and a tour in between…

Yeah, just about that yeah.

So, in such conditions how do you manage to not fall into a kind of routine?

Well, you know, we are touring in-between anyway so that’s a different place every day, so you get plenty of variety and new environments, which is good. And then we go back into the studio and use all the inspiration that we got that year. I mean, sometimes it’s three years but we haven’t done three years in a long time, it’s mostly two years, yeah, you’re right. And I also just did a new album with Head Cat as well. That’s Slim Jim from The Stray Cats and me and Danny B. Harvey from 13 Cats. We’ve just done a short tour in America too.

You have recorded a bluesy version of Ace Of Spades for a beer commercial…

Kronenbourg yeah.

It’s actually pretty surprising that you did it for a beer company and never did for Jack Daniels…

Jack Daniels didn’t ask us! (Laughs) You know, Kronenbourg asked us so we said sure, why not? I thought it was pretty good actually. Well, I had done commercials before, you know. I did one for AXA insurance and I did one for Walkers Crisps. I did a few adverts; they pay very well you see.

How did it feel to reinterpret this legendary song 30 years after its original recording?

Well, we do it every night on stage anyway so it’s not exactly new to me (laughs). It’s not difficult you know. I mean we all play our instruments with both hands and it’s quite easy.

Did the commercial directors try to influence you in this reinterpretation?

Yeah they said “make it slower, make it slower!” so we did and I think it’s a bit too slow now but it’s alright I guess. I can live with it. It’s only for an advert anyway, isn’t it? It’s not like it’s for our albums.

Will the song be included as a bonus on the new album?

No. The old song ought to stay where it belongs.

The song kind of echoes Whorehouse Blues…

Yes actually.

Aren’t you interested in doing more songs in that acoustic style because it does suits the band very well; maybe for a special acoustic/bluesy album?

Maybe yeah. We’ve been thinking about it you know. I have to talk to the guys about it. We also thought about doing an album of covers.

 » You know, you’re only lucky if you get famous. It’s not because you’re special, because nobody is that special. »

About Lemmy : The Movie how did the project come life ?

Well the producers or directors rather, came to our office and they said “can we do a movie?” and we said “you can go ahead and do a pilot of about half an hour”. So they went away and did that and they came back and it was really good so we said “ok go ahead”.

Are we going to know everything about Lemmy or are there still some secrets left that won’t get revealed in the movie?

There’s a lot of secrets you won’t see (laughs).

So, can you tell us one of those little secrets?

Well, no otherwise they wouldn’t be secrets would they?! That’s the big thing about secrets: not telling people (laughs).

(Laughs) Good answer! In the movie we hear Dave Grohl…

He’s a good guy you know.

…opposing you to musicians like Keith Richards who became luxurious rock stars who only go into the most expensive hotels and only fuck super models…

He plays with them more than I actually! (laughs)

…and on the contrary you managed to stay simple. Do you agree with Dave’s opinion? Do you think a rock star should stay humble?

I don’t know. It depends on how you define “humble”. I don’t think you should act like a fucking arsehole all the time if that’s what you mean. You know, you’re only lucky if you get famous. It’s not because you’re special, because nobody is that special.

You’ve always had a sulphurous reputation with women. Do you still have as much success today with women as 35 years ago?

Well more now because more of them know that I exist (laughs). It’s better. Yeah, sure why not? I like girls, they are much more fun than guys. Guys don’t have tits you know. (laughs)

With the life you’ve had it’s always surprising to see how healthy you still are. Do you have the feeling to be aging well just like a good bottle of Whiskey?

No, a piece of cheese probably more like (laughs).

Ozzy Osbourne has expressed his wish to donate his body to science after he dies because he’s been wondering how could it possible that he is still alive with all the alcohol and drugs he has absorbed during his life. Have you ever asked yourself the same kind of questions about your own life?

I’m leaving my body to medical science fiction (laughs). No, you know, that’s luck too. A lot of people died that did the same things I did and a lot of people didn’t so it’s just that we are the ones that didn’t. It’s just luck. It’s just random chance. I’m not surprised that Ozzy’s still alive. Other people are surprised. I was always confident that I would still be alive.

You have advised that people should never try to copy the life style you’ve had. But on the other hand your iconic status makes people dream of that type of life style and more generally how our current society tend to glorify bad boys and excesses. Do you think that your message can really be heard in these conditions?

I don’t know. You would have to ask the people that are listening really. I mean, you do what you can, you say what you say, you tell the truth and you let people hear it. But some people don’t. We’ve found over the years that some people don’t hear it a lot, you know they just don’t get it. You could say something to somebody and it means something to them and then you say it to somebody else and it means something completely different because they interpret it by their way of listening to it. So you can’t really give advice anyway because it doesn’t work. People don’t like advice you know (laughs). People want to do what they do.

You played the Sonisphere festival this summer where we saw the Big 4. Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax are not known to be very friendly with each other. But at Sonisphere festival we saw all of these bands hugging each other as though they were best friends. It was kind of surprising…

Well, you know, a lot of the time it’s the media that makes people enemies. Most of the time people are not enemies because you don’t even see each other often enough to be enemies. Do you know what I mean? You don’t see people in other bands because you are always working. You are both back in town at the same time about once every two years. So you haven’t got time to be fucking enemies and you don’t have time to be friends either. All that you have time for is to do your job. So I think that if they were hugging and kissing and all that then it’s a really nice thing. Everybody should be friends anyway, why not?

Ok, I understand your point of view. Thank you very much for this interview, I guess we will see you on tour at the end of the year…

Yeah, I think we’re coming to France!

Yes you are!

Paris, right?

Paris and Lyon in December…

Come to see us!

No problem, we’ll be there.

I’ll buy you a beer!

Wow cool! That’s good news! (laughs)

Interview conducted by Spaceman & Metal’O Phil in november, 2010 par phone
Myspace Motörhead : http://www.myspace.com/motorhead

Transcription : Saff’ & Isère

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