Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Lemmy

We generally don't do anything too topical here at LITGM because we don't want the drive-by traffic. But Lemmy, the bass guitarist from Motorhead died yesterday, so I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in.

I remember when I was a little kid and my sister woke me up because Lynyrd Skynyrd (mostly) died in a plane crash back in 1977. I was old enough to like their music and it meant a lot to her. It seemed to be a big shame, at the time, since their biggest album had just come out and they were at the height of their powers.

Lemmy and Motorhead were something different. Lemmy had been living on borrowed time for about 30 years, and God bless him for that. Their seminal album, "Ace of Spades", came out in 1980 and none of us really knew what to make of it. That's 35 years ago.

We used to sit around and listen to it along with various punk bands like the Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys and they kind of straddled the line between metal and punk. Lemmy of course had bad-ass imagery and a deep knowledge of history that he worked into his songs over and over again. Really Motorhead belonged in its own class of music, blending influences together, and not caring at all.

For me Lemmy was also super-cool because he played bass guitar and was the star. There are a few other bands where the bass player was the star (Thin Lizzy, Rush, and Paul of the Beatles) but in general the bass guitar was a guy in the back who kept the time or perhaps a semi-behind the scenes guy / songwriter like Steve Harris. He got a sound out of his bass guitar that was unique and critical to the song and drove it all along. Of course, Ace of Spades was the high point not only of their career but of that sound.

I wanted to go to Los Angeles with Dan and run into Lemmy at the Rainbow sitting by his favorite video game trivia machine. He apparently had the high score. He was very interested in history (it goes through all of his songs) and had a knowledge of a lot more than the usual topics that fill the mind of a rock n' roll singer. But it's too late now. Lemmy's dead. Will have to crank it up this weekend with some booze and get back in the groove.

1 comment:

Dan from Madison said...

RIP Lemmy, thanks for the memories.