There are only a handful of recording artists who are simply known by their first name. There’s Cher, Madonna and Lemmy.
Lemmy Kilmister doesn’t have much in common with the aforementioned performers. Kilmister, whose real given nane is Ian, happens to be a headbanging icon, who depending on who you chat with is the Godfather of punk or metal. Each camp would love to have Lemmy on their side.
A number of such prominent musicians wax extensively about Kilmister in the documentary ‘Lemmy,’ The documentary features a who’s who of rock’s hoi polloi, who tip their cap to Kilmister. Such disparate figures as Ozzy Osbourne, James Hetfield, and Dave Grohl each sing the praises of Motorhead’s intense vocalist-bassist.
Grohl calls Lemmy ‘the baddest (bleep) in the world.’ Grohl goes on to note that ‘when you see and hear him, there’s such a human connection. This is what rock n’ roll should be, otherwise you should be playing a video game.”
Kilmister, 65, isn’t choked up by the myriad of props tossed tossed his way.
“You can’t believe all of that,” Kilmister said while calling from Chicago. “If you buy all of that crap, you’ll go nuts. I’m not super-human. It’s good to be held in that kind of regard but it’s all about the music,” Kilmister said. “I’m a musician, not a personality.”
For Motorhead, which will perform Friday at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, two words sum up the sonic experience, loud and fast. There’s never been much subtlety with the act, which formed in 1975 after Kilmister was kicked out of British prog-rockers Hawkwind. Motorhead combines the muscularity of metal with the speed of punk rock.
“It just felt natural for me to do so,” Kilmister said. “It was different from Hawkwind. It was a much better fit and that’s the way it’s stayed all of these years. There is a certain style of Motorhead. But there are differences from album to album. Each song stands on its own but the thing is that we go all out with each song. We give as much energy as we can.”
That’s not just in the studio or onstage. The magnetic Kilmister gives maximum effort whether performing or partying. It’s not surprising that he’s bored during this politically correct era in rock.
“It kills me how bland this period is,” Kilmister said. “You go backstage these days and you see 20 bottles of Perrier and a bag of nuts. What’s wrong with this picture? Everything is so healthy today and it’s terrible. I don’t get it.”
Nor does Kilmister, who claims that he has done every drug except heroin and morphine, get today’s rock and pop stars. “What is it about John Mayer,” Kilmister said. “Someone should explain him to me. And the same goes for Justin Bieber. They’re all such boring people. They’re so serious. I’m not interested in people as boring as that. It’s a shame these people are popular entertainers.”
Don’t ask the inveterate rocker to indulge in the virtues of hip-hop.
“Why should I do that when it’s not music,” Kilmister said. “There’s nothing creative about doing that (rapping) over music someone else created. They go out and take John Bonham’s drumming. I don’t call that music. You think they (rappers) could come up with sounds of their own, even some basic sounds and they can’t do it. Sad.”
Kilmister and his maverick band are still making their own sounds. ‘World Is Yours,’ their latest disc which dropped in December, is packed with manic, menacing metal.
“Making music is still a good time for us,” Kilmister said. “I love it.”