Lemmy. One year gone…


It has recently been announced that in addition to the life-size, bronze statue of Lemmy by LA based artist Travis Moore, unveiled on August 24th of this year, the patio at The Rainbow Bar And Grill on the Sunset Strip is going to be renamed the Lemmy Lounge in his honour, and that an artist will be commissioned, presumably to paint pictures of him all over the walls. It’s a nice sentiment, a fitting tribute, in a place that he considered a home from home – particularly the patio where he’d be glued to his beloved games machine at the end of the bar, cigarette in one hand, drink in the other.

Throughout the year there have been numerous other tributes, of course, and rightly so. Download Festival and Ozzfest Meets Knotfest both featured Lemmy stages, while Bloodstock had a Lemmy bar – opened by Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell – at which you could get royally drunk on ‘Lemmys’, the name of his beverage of choice, Jack and Coke, having been officially changed to mark his passing. Metallica wrote the excellent Murder One for him. Saxon wrote They Played Rock ‘N’ Roll. Alice Cooper’s Hollywood Vampires played Ace Of Spades at the Grammys… The list goes on. Hell, there’s even going to be a movie about his life, like the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line, only louder.

All of which is as it should be, and long may it continue. But the one thing it doesn’t do, and, sadly, will never do, is fill the massive void that was left in the wake of his death. Around now, UK fans would be gearing up for (or recovering from) the annual Motörhead tour. In LA it was April, regular as clockwork. Now the calendar is empty. The Motörheadbangers fan club still meets up, but there is no Motörhead. All we can do is remember.

At which point, were he reading this, Lemmy would let loose that glorious throaty cackle and tell us all to cheer the fuck up. And he’d be right. It was an honour to have been Lemmy’s friend (or expatriate fiend, as he put it) for over 30 years, and a privilege to have been his neighbour for six of those years. Do I miss spending afternoons at his place, getting drunk and watching the History Channel with him? Of Course! Do I miss his terrible jokes and sage advice? Very much so. Do I miss propping up the bar with him in some den of iniquity until last call and then bouncing off the walls for three days because of some dubious powder he’d given me? Fuck yes! Do I miss Motörhead? Well, duh! Enough with the stupid questions.

The point is that crying about it won’t bring him back. Instead, what we can do is cherish those memoires and remember the good times, so many good times, that he gave us. Like the official statement said on the day he died: ‘Play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy’s music LOUD. Have a drink or few. Share stories. Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself. HE WOULD WANT EXACTLY THAT.’

Note: This was originally written for Classic Rock.

Having written for Kerrang! magazine since 1989, I started shooting for them, pretty much by accident, in the early 90’s when all their photographers refused to go on tour with my favourite punk band Poison Idea. With pretensions of being as good as Mark Leialoha and taller than Ross Halfin, I shot everyone from Ozzy Osbourne, Slayer and Slipknot to The Prodigy and was published all around the world (full-ish list in the ‘published in’ section) before stumbling into fetish and pin up photography in 2006 when I married Masuimi Max. I quit Kerrang! in 2008 and now shoot the rock stuff for Metal Hammer and Terrorizer.