Fiona Sturges of the U.K.'s The Independent recently conducted an interview with MOTÖRHEAD frontman Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister. Several excerpts from the chat follow:
On having lived in Los Angeles for the past 15 years:
"Home is in here [tapping his temple]. Where you live is just a geographical preference. I like it here because the sun shines a lot and you don't get the cynical fucking English bitching about everything. I find the Americans quite refreshing. Everybody sneers at the 'Have a nice day' thing but it's a lot nicer than having your change thrown at you. [I have been disappointed in England] since about 1964. It's never recognized any of its own talent, it's never done anything to promote anything but the status quo. It'll always be stuck with rotten politicians. England had a history once but now it's got nothing."
"What have you got that's better than what I do? I get to travel all over the world, I get to sleep with women of all colours and religious persuasions, and I get to play the music I like and make people happier than they were when I arrived. It's a good way to make a living. You find me a better one."
On the suggestion that he might be getting too old for the job:
"You wouldn't say Beethoven was past it, would you? . . . THE BEATLES are the classical music of rock 'n' roll. And rock'n'roll is far more widespread than classical will ever be. So I don't see why there should be a point where everyone decides you're too old. I'm not too old, and until I decide I'm too old I'll never be too fucking old."
On a possible reality television career:
"I live on my own, so it's going to be pretty boring watching me eating my breakfast and playing video games all day, isn't it? And anyway, I'm not after the money. I'm after being in my band, making good music and meeting as many women as I can."
On having slept with more than 2,000 women and never settling down:
"I've never met a girl who could stop me looking at all the others. If I did I'd marry her. I'm not going to get married and play around. That's bullshit. If you get married you should be faithful."
On his two sons — 38 year-old Paul, who works as a record producer and whom he sees from time to time, and another who was adopted at birth:
"He's [the adopted son] a computer programmer in Bradford. His mother went up and found him. She's a social worker and wears these diaphanous paisley smocks. She said he put his head in his hands when she told him she was his mother so she hadn't the heart to tell him who his father was."
On whether or not he's curious to meet his adopted son:
"Nah. I figure if I go and meet him for the sake of my curiosity, it might ruin his life. It's better for everyone if I don't. I never met him so I don't miss him."
On whether he's ever yearned for family life:
"Fuck no. I went out with a couple of girls with young babies. I can give a baby a bottle with one hand and roll a joint with the other, but I never wanted any of that. Changing nappies is horrible. Kids are generally rotten until the age of about six, when they become people. No, it's not my scene."
"There are a lot of good books around. People don't read any more. It's a sad state of affairs. Reading's the only thing that allows you to use your imagination. When you watch films it's someone else's vision, isn't it?"
On being introduced to acid by Jimi Hendrix when he was working as his roadie in the late Sixties:
"It made me realize what other people are about. Not that I'd recommend my lifestyle to anyone They wouldn't survive it."
"The only thing I ever saw anyone die on was heroin. Let that speak for itself."
On collapsing backstage this summer following a show in France as a result of severe dehydration:
"It was about 150 degrees on stage and our music takes a lot of energy. I got through the show all right but then 'Boom!' I was gone. It's always a shock when your body refuses to carry on for a while but it's an occupational hazard. If you work in a factory you run a heightened risk of getting your arm chewed up. And it's a lot better being dehydrated than getting your fucking arm chewed up."
On the suggestion that he should cut down on the boozing:
"Listen honey, if you didn't do anything that wasn't good for you it would be a very dull life. What are you gonna do? Everything that is pleasant in life is dangerous. Have you noticed that? I'd like to find the bastard that thought that one up."
On his favorite band during his teens, THE BEATLES:
"They would come on stage and you were just awestruck. They had that presence, which is very rare. Hendrix had it, Ozzy Osbourne has it to an extent. You've either got it or you haven't."
On being be a singer:
"I'm an egomaniac. I like being the centre of attention as much as anybody so I didn't mind. I was in it for the girls, to tell the truth. I think if more musicians told the truth, that would be the reason why most of them are in it. When you're young and you're desperate to get laid, you work out that being a bricklayer isn't that attractive. I was never going to be a doctor or a lawyer, so being a musician seemed to be the best of what was on offer."
On his lost education:
"[It's] something of an advantage. When you leave school with no qualifications you learn to live on the edge a bit, and you learn about hard graft. I think it's much better than spending five years in college and coming out knowing nothing of real life."
On his philosophy in life:
"As you go through life's rich tapestry, you realize that most people you meet aren't fit to shine your shoes. It's a sad fact, but it's true. A good friend is someone who'd hide you if you were on the run for murder. How many of them do you know? . . .This is me. What you see is what you get. If people don't like me or what I have to say, then fuck 'em. And that's my final word."
Read the entire interview at www.independent.co.uk.