Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited recently conducted an interview with MOTÖRHEAD mainman Lemmy Kilmister. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Classic Rock Revisited: Does it bother you that METALLICA went on to fame and fortune to a level MOTÖRHEAD didn't?
Lemmy: It is just the luck of the draw; it is just that simple. You have to be in the right place at the right time. We were too late for the first British Invasion and too early for the second one.
Classic Rock Revisited: You have become more popular as Lemmy in America than MOTÖRHEAD.
Lemmy: I'm grateful for what I've got; I'm not complaining. I think I have become popular because I don't let people down. The worst thing is to admire someone and then have them let you down; that's awful. You meet someone who you think is going to be excellent and they end up being a complete fucking asshole.
Classic Rock Revisited: Neither MOTÖRHEAD or Lemmy have given into trends.
Lemmy: Trends are bullshit. The funniest one was when they tried to make us get our hair cut. We had an old manager who thought we could reach a much broader audience if we would get our hair cut. I said, "That's it then, I guess we are not going to reach a much broader audience."
Classic Rock Revisited: You got to experience the early era of THE BLIZZARD OF OZ.
Lemmy: That was the first tour and that is where I met Ozzy. They came out with a better band than BLACK SABBATH. I knew that he would come out with a better band because I never liked SABBATH. I really liked Ozzy with BLIZZARD OF OZ.
Classic Rock Revisited: Did you see the talent in Randy Rhoads?
Lemmy: People get better when they are dead; I think that is true of anybody. Look at Buddy Holly and Stevie Ray Vaughan, nobody gives a fuck about them when they are alive; they are just a guy who plays guitar. Suddenly they die and they are a great influence. It is all bollocks. I am not saying Randy was not great, because he was, but the death thing really elevated things. Randy was really a quiet little guy. He was very straight and humble. He was very small, about five foot nothing. He couldn't play Asteroids for nothing; I beat him all across the United States.
Classic Rock Revisited: You were in L.A. during the 1992 riots recording an album. What was that like?
Lemmy: We were in Sunset Sound Studios, which is right near Normandie where the whole thing started. I was doing a vocal and I finished and came into the lounge and there was a TV on that was showing a house burning. I looked out the window and I saw the other side of the same house. The guy came in and said, "I think we are going to lock up a bit early today." Eddie had a car out there and we just left. Driving out of there was like driving through a war zone as the whole city block was on fire. Everything went dark and all you could see was entire city blocks burning. It was fucking great.
Classic Rock Revisited: What was your take on the riots? Do you feel they were justified?
Lemmy: Fucking right they were. Are you going to tell me that Rodney King didn't get beat up by the cops? They filmed the thing happening and then they let all the cops go free.
Classic Rock Revisited: Some say he was resisting arrest.
Lemmy: That may be but they didn't have to keep beating him once he was handcuffed. They were beating him for twenty minutes after he was cuffed. The beating that guy took was fucking horrendous. I don't give a fuck if he was resisting arrest, you don't have to do that. It was fucking extreme. You can't have a huge organization like the L.A. police without having some assholes in there. They gravitate together. The good guys gravitate together and so do the bad guys. I can't believe they got off free. They never did retry the case. It was wrong.
Classic Rock Revisited: How can you be in the music business and not care about sales or the charts?
Lemmy: That is what is wrong with rock n' roll, man. There are too many musicians who are businessmen. The way I see it is if you are a musician then you shouldn't be a businessman. You should be enough of one to hire the right lawyers and that is all. Otherwise, you should concentrate on the fucking music.
Classic Rock Revisited: It takes a lot of the danger out of rock music.
Lemmy: It takes all the danger out of it. As soon as you are sitting there after the show on your laptop going through your finances... that is not what it started for. It started through blind, stupid rebellious joy and that is all it should be.
Classic Rock Revisited: Is there any music that you cannot listen to?
Lemmy: Hip-hop. I think that is the worst music black people have ever made. I started out because of black people's records. I started out with the blues and then got into Chuck Berry and then Stax Records and Motown. Is hip-hop an extension of that? I don't think so. I would kill for Little Richard, as he is the best rock n' roll ever.
Classic Rock Revisited: You have done well with the opposite sex. What is your secret?
Lemmy: Don't stop talking. Just blitz them into it and be a gentleman. Be a right guy as chicks see a lot of wrong guys. I have always been a gentleman. Hendrix was a gentleman too. You wouldn't have thought that. Hendrix used to jump up and pull chairs out for chicks and I have always been like that too. There are some extreme feminists that would say it was patronizing but I don't see it like that. I just see it as good manners. All the ones that complain are ugly motherfuckers that wouldn't get any dates anyway.
Classic Rock Revisited: Last one: You have come to America from England and you make your residence here. That gives you and a different view on things. I am wondering what you think of the upcoming Presidential election.
Lemmy: I better not give you my opinion on that because I would be arrested tomorrow. I think what you think; the man is a disaster. There is no one to replace him. The best bet is... I don't think there is a best bet. I think Americans are too trusting. You trusted Bush to do a good job and then he didn't do it. I don't think a lot of people want to admit they were wrong. America is ruled by extremes. You are either extremely violent or extremely open or extremely religious. It is never about just getting along with everybody. America has always been very assertive of itself because everyone is coming here from everywhere else. Now it is the most powerful nation in the world. It only takes one guy to misdirect that power. For you to go into Iraq is like going to Vietnam. Two thousand kids ain't coming home no more because Bush wanted the oil. Now he has the oil and gas prices went up. The prices are just getting jacked up while he is in office. I am sure he is getting plenty of money from that oil. I think all politicians are assholes. I remember back in 1966 when Harold Wilson got elected in England. I went to see him speak at the public square in Manchester. I remember thinking, "What a fucking liar." I noticed that there was nobody to vote for; there was only a guy to vote against. When you have to pick the lesser of two evils then that is not a good thing. You need to have someone you can believe and have someone who will vindicate that belief. Kennedy was the last good President. Looking back on it now, Clinton wasn't so bad. He is looking pretty good now. We all bitched when he was in there but we don't have room to bitch now.
Classic Rock Revisited: My biggest disappointment with Bill is that he could have got a lot better-looking chick than Monica Lewinsky.
Lemmy: Exactly, Kennedy was fucking Marilyn Monroe. I rest my case.
Read the entire interview at Classic Rock Revisited.