Kerrang! Radio recently conducted an interview with MOTÖRHEAD mainman Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Kerrang! Radio: Why did you become Jimi's [Hendrix] roadie?
Lemmy: I went down there and the only person I knew in London was Neville. He used to be a roadie for THE WHO and THE MERSEYBEATS in Liverpool, and I called him up and said, "Can I crash on your floor for a few days?" he said, "Sure." And I got there and he was sharing a flat with Noel Reading. I crashed on the floor for a few days, and they needed an extra guy and I was right there, so I got it, £10 a week.
Kerrang! Radio: Did you become friends with Hendrix?
Lemmy: I wouldn't say that. He was a good guy, but he was cataclysmically stoned all the time! He was a really well-mannered guy, people now are saying he used to beat up chicks, I never saw any evidence of that, as far as I can see if a chick came in the room he would shoot to his feet, old-fashioned good manners, open doors for chicks, I never saw him visit any kind of brutality on chicks at all. But then again, I didn't see his more intimate moments.
Kerrang! Radio: Is it true that he got you in to drugs?
Lemmy: No, no, no, I got me into drugs. I got me into drugs because I was curious. That's how everybody gets into them, I think.
Kerrang! Radio: You're just known as Lemmy and there are action dolls of you, you became this rock icon, did you like that?
Lemmy: Well, you have no control over it after all, do you? People are just doing that stuff because they make money out of you, you have to realise that. It's not because they love you. They can make a few bucks out of you, so they do that. What are you going to do? You can't stop it. It's like records, you can't stop people doing them, and bootleg t-shirts, you can beat them with sandals until they move down the street fifty yards and sell them again, you can't stop them, you grin and bear it.
Kerrang! Radio: Do people expect you to be Lemmy 24 hours a day?
Lemmy: I always said that you stop being a journalist when you go home. I don't, I'm Lemmy all the time. But I don't mind. If you try to be famous all your life, don't complain when you are, it's miserable, isn't it? I can't stand all these people, "Oh, the eye is constantly on me, I can't bear it!" Stop making records and go back home and work in a sheet metal factory. The public are fickle, they'll forget you in a year, you'll be alright again, nobody will care who you are, won't that be great! They want their cake and eat it too, You can't do that, it doesn't work.
Kerrang! Radio: You like a drink and you've taken a fair amount of drugs over the years, but you're completely unrepentant, there's not a problem with it.
Lemmy: Why should I repent? Why should I? I wasn't doing it with any malice or forethought for anybody, I was just doing what my entire age group did. If you don't like it, go and wear another hat, turn me down if you like. It's not important anyway where you've been, it's where you're going that's important.
Kerrang! Radio: What do you think about people going to rehab?
Lemmy: I just think that the people pretend that they never took drugs. "I'm clean now," as if it's a good thing! It's all a personal joy, a lot of people died and a lot of people didn't, a lot of people went into rehab and a lot of people didn't. It's a personal thing and it's up to you.
Kerrang! Radio: Did it ever become a problem or did you always keep control of it?
Lemmy: I was always in control of it. You can't let it get control of you, you can let it do things for you and then when it gets to the point where you think, I can't move a muscle if I don't have something, then that's bad, then it's taking you. The only thing I ever saw anybody die on was heroin, and downers, which is a longing for heroin. I never did heroin, I always had enough sense, touch wood, to stay away from it because it killed my old lady and it killed a lot of my friends, and it didn't kill them well. First it turns you into a thief and then it kills you. It's a miserable drug, I wish people would realise that. It's fashionable again now, isn't it? Escapism. But you can only escape so far. When you wake up after escaping, the problem's still there, so it's worse.
Kerrang! Radio: When did you move to L.A. and what prompted the decision to do that?
Lemmy: Once you've been to America once, then it is fascinating. Either you love it or you hate it, I think. A lot of people in Britain are Amerophobic; they hate America even before they've been there, it's so false… like London isn't! That always killed me. Los Angeles has the monopoly on false people, and there are at least as many good people, it doesn't compute. Society is society anywhere in the world, you will find people who will screw you and people who will help you. That's the only two kinds of people that there are, and they're international.
Kerrang! Radio: So what's your relationship been like with your kids? Apart from the one who you haven't seen.
Lemmy: Well, I've only got the one other one that I know about, that's Paul, he lives in L.A. now. I see quite a lot of him, a lot more than I did when he was growing up, which is a shame, but I was on the road and he wasn't. He's a better guitar player than me anyway! He's a great guitar player. I was so good on the guitar, I became a bass player!
Kerrang! Radio: What people throughout your life do you think have made you the person you are?
Lemmy: Everybody I've ever met. Everybody has an effect upon you whether it's to encourage you not to be like them or to be like them. You have your heroes and villains. Everybody really. Everybody I ever met had something to offer in terms of knowledge.
Kerrang! Radio: What other musicians would you count as good friends over the years?
Lemmy: Dave Grohl, he's a great guy. Phil Campbell from MOTÖRHEAD, he's been with me for 25 years so he must be a good friend. Tim, my roadie, Dan, my personnel guy, Eddie, our tour manager, the whole band is a family, and crew. Dave Edmunds, I wouldn't say I was a great friend of Dave Edmunds but he gave me a lot of inspiration and he was a good friend, he did the first four tracks that MOTÖRHEAD ever did, he produced them, he was great. Mogsy from the ROCKIN' VICARS, he was funny, obviously the meanest man in the world and he learned it from his father. I went round his house once and I said, "Can I use your toilet?" and he said, "Yeah, it's at the top of the stairs on the left," and I was half way up the stairs and his dad skidded out the front room, "Only use four sheets!" It's terrible, isn't it? Steve Vai, he played on one of our albums, and Slash, I get on really good with Slash.
Read the entire interview from Kerrang! Radio.