Before becoming the legendary Motörhead singer and bassist, Lemmy Kilmister was the errand boy for Jimi Hendrix!
But let’s start from the beginning …
Lemmy Kilmister was already 30 years old when he created Motörhead in 1975. Before that, however, he had several adventures in Rock roles that eventually led to Motörhead.
Back in 1967, Lemmy was forced to return to his hometown Burslem after being fired from his band, Vicar Rockin (or more properly Rev Black or The Rockin ‘Vickers).
He was also looking for ways to get to London. As he explains in his autobiography, “White Line Fever” (2004), he called the only number he knew (apart from Jon Lord of the Deep Purple), that of Neville Charters.
Kilmister spent the best part of the Experience era carrying the equipment, preparing Hendrix’s guitars before appearing on stage.
In fact, at the end of each concert, he collected the broken pieces that Hendrix left behind after each of his appearances.
In one of his interviews, Lemmy reported:
“I was sleeping on Neville Chester’s floor — he was sharing a flat with Noel Redding, so whenever they needed an extra pair of hands I was right there.
I didn’t get the job for any talent or anything. But I did see Jimi play a lot. Twice a night for about three months. I’d seen him play backstage too.
He had this old Epiphone guitar — it was a 12-string, strung as a six-string — and he used to stand up on a chair backstage and play it. Why he stood up on the chair, I don’t know“.
In his autobiography he states:
“Unfortunately, I didn’t get to mix with [Hendrix] offstage much – I wasn’t part of his private life. I was just working for him. I do recall that he was a very gentle, very nice guy.
But most people were nicer in those days. It was one of those ages of innocence, you know. Nobody had started dying yet.”
Many years later, Lemmy revealed to the local CBS that Hendrix was a great influence to him, as a singer.
Emphasizing, at the same time, that Hendrix “hated singing, he would board himself up in the corner of a room with a microphone and he’d record like that. He must have been insecure about his singing. I thought he was a great singer, he had a lot of soul.”
“He helped me to cement my resolve as a singer.”, Lemmy said.
Long before he decided to sing, he took advantage of his paid work experience with live performances.
Next to great artists, such as the singer of Soul P.P. Arnold and the psychedelic British band Sam Gopal.
Of course, his participation in the Hawkwind in 1971, from which he was fired in 1975, is also worth mentioning.
And then came… Motörhead!
Lemmy collaborated with guitarist Larry Wallis of Pink Fairies, forming Motörhead, with the band’s name coming from the last track he wrote when he was a member of Hawkwind.
Lemmy‘s initial thought was to call them Bastards, but he changed his mind at the urging of his manager at the time.
In the same year, some recordings began at Rockfield Studios in Wales, which were released three years later and after the band had become famous.
For the record, one of the critics at the time had told Motörhead that it was the world’s funniest band!
I don’t know where this critic is now, but after 40 years and 22 albums, they were probably not so bad!