Tuesday, December 29, 2015

LEMMY KILMISTER: A Personal Tribute to a Rock Legend

A Personal Tribute to a Rock Legend
(Dec. 24, 1945 - Dec. 28, 2015)

Simply put, founding
Motörhead frontman /
bassist, Lemmy Kilmister,
possessed more street
cred — more authentic
rock and roll style and
ball-busting swagger
than anyone — EVER.

June, 1981 — I'd come stumbling into my parents' house at 2am, following a night of drinking at my high school graduation party. The MTV era was still a few months in the future. Hence, the opportunity to see rock music videos on television was a rare treat. As I clicked on the TV and fell back onto the living room couch, I became captivated immediately by a particular raucous video from a hard-rocking band that was unknown to me at the time. The band was Motorhead. The video "Ace of Spades." It blew my mind. And so began my Motorhead obsession. 

Motorhead never reached Taylor Swift-like status because, in my view, the band was just too cool, too real for mass consumption. However, for me and millions of other rock and roll misfit purists worldwide, the impact that Motorhead had was Beatles-like. In fact, Lemmy was my "Paul McCartney" — influencing and inspiring me musically and artistically for the last 30+ years.

I took this photo of Lemmy and my
buddy, Michael Coe, while at The
Rainbow in Hollywood back in 1997.
I devoured every Motorhead record that I could get my filthy little hands on during the '80s —  OrgasmatronRock 'n' Roll, and Nö Sleep at All remain among my personal favorites.

I first met Lemmy in December 1988 — catching his attention as he wandered out a stage door exit  en route to a popular barbecue joint called Hog Heaven which was located across the street from the Daytona Beach Ocean Center where Motorhead was performing with speed metal stalwarts, Slayer and Overkill later that night. Long story short, he took the time to stop and sign my album and he was really nice about it. I would run into Lemmy several more times during the '90s while on my various excursions to Los Angeles  typically during the wee hours, upstairs at the world-famous Rainbow Bar & Grill on the famed Sunset Strip. And he was always kind, always cool, always a class act.

Lemmy Kilmister, signing my friend,
Grasshopper's bass guitar while backstage
at Orlando's House of Blues in late 2015.
(Photo Credit: Grasshopper)
I'm not sure how it started, but somewhere around 1989, my award-winning rock band, Dead Serios, began ending each and every one of our concerts with the (now) signature tagline; REMEMBER — MOTORHEAD RULES! — while I simultaneously unfurl a super-sized Motorhead banner. It's become such an iconic part of our stage show, that to this day, people come up to me frequently and announce passionately, "Hey, dude — Motorhead rules!" It's pretty cool.

One of my favorite concert / road trip experiences occurred back in 2000 when I embarked on a last-minute pilgrimage with a couple of my skinhead cronies from Melbourne, Florida to see Motorhead live at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia. Just picture it — three beefy and ripe-smelling dudes, crammed into the front cab of a small pick-up truck for eight hours (each way), blasting and singing along to DioJudas Priest and of course, Motorhead CDs as we rolled along the highways and bi-ways. FYI, Motorhead's Atlanta performance was superb.

With my band, Dead Serios -- paying
heartfelt tribute to Motorhead, live on
stage at Melbourne, FL's King Center for
the Perming Arts 
in January 2015.
(Photo Credit: Michael O'Banion)
So there I was, enjoying a private holiday party with friends in New Smyrna Beach, Florida last night when I got the call from former Dead Serios drummer, Bill Erwin, delivering the tragic news. My rock hero, Lemmy Kilmister, had died during the afternoon, at age 70 — after being reportedly diagnosed with cancer, just two days earlier. I was rocked immediately — and NOT in a good way. I can barely describe how upsetting this is to me. So, I'll merely take this opportunity to celebrate the man, his music and his legacy by proclaiming once again... MOTORHEAD RULES!

-Christopher Long
(December 2015)

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  1. Thanks for sharing your memories Chris.
    And yeah...Motorhead Rules!

  2. Thanks for sharing your memories Chris.
    And yeah...Motorhead Rules!