Some sad news breaking this afternoon/evening: Motörhead singer/bassist Lemmy Kilmister passed away after a short battle with cancer, according to an announcement from the surviving band members. He was 70 years old.
Looking at the reactions to his passing, as well as his body of work and public persona, Lemmy was one of the few people who truly embodied rock and roll – in attitude and appearance. He is responsible for what is probably the most insane bassline of all time. I vaguely remember hearing Dave Grohl talk about Motörhead’s influence on a VH1 special ages ago in which he spoke of them bridging the gap between punk and metal audiences in the late 1970s. Beyond that, they were also a huge influence on the thrash metal scene that would emerge in the San Francisco Bay area in the early 1980s.
I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to see Lemmy perform live twice. The first was at the British Summertime concert in Hyde Park on July 4, 2014. On that day, the bill (which to this day is the best I’ve ever seen) consisted of Soulfly, Motörhead, Faith No More, Soundgarden and Black Sabbath. Lemmy sounded great. I remember being amazed that a three-piece band could be THAT loud.
The second time I saw him was at Dave Grohl’s birthday show at the Forum in Los Angeles on January 10, 2015. The finale for the almost three-hour set was an all star supergroup (consisting of Foo Fighters with Slash, Zakk Wylde as guest guitarists and Lemmy on vocals) cover of Chuck Berry’s “Let It Rock.” It was a great finish to an epic show, and this is how I will always remember him.
R.I.P. Lemmy… You will be missed.