Family and close friends observed a memorial service for iconic MOTÖRHEAD frontman Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister on Saturday, January 9 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood.
Speakers included MOTÖRHEAD drummer Mikkey Dee; JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford; METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Robert Trujillo; GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist Slash and drummer Matt Sorum (who filled in for Mikkey Dee for a MOTÖRHEAD tour in 2009); and FOO FIGHTERS frontman Dave Grohl. Others who shared remembrances included ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian; wrestler Triple H; ALICE IN CHAINS bassist Mike Inez; Bob Kulick (who co-produced MOTÖRHEAD‘s Grammy-winning cover of METALLICA‘s “Whiplash”); Lemmy‘s son Paul; and MOTÖRHEAD‘s manager Todd Singerman.
“He was such a fucking great example of what most of my peers all want to be — somebody who is true to his school … straight-up honest, a hundred percent loyal,” Slash said. “I just loved the guy a lot, and I miss him a lot. But all things considered, he did live his life the way that he wanted to.”
Sorum added: “Many people say Lemmy is God. I believe that.”
Halford admitted: “When I was in the presence of Lord Lemmy, I was a bit overwhelmed … Here was a man who lived life on his own terms, a rock and roll maverick.”
Ian said: “Elvis, you taught us how to dress, how to look. It was Carl Perkins and Little Richard who taught us how to sound. And it was THE BEATLES who taught us we could to write our own songs. And Lemmy, it was you who taught us that we could be real.”
Grohl closed the service, reflecting: “There is not enough time to tell you what Lemmy meant to me. He’s my person; he’s the one that bridged my love of AC/DC and SABBATH and ZEPPELIN, and my love with GBH, the RAMONES and BLACK FLAG.
“What everyone in this room has learned today is that Lemmy was not only that badass-looking, whiskey-drinking, badass motherfucking rock star, but he had the biggest heart and he set such a great example because he was so kind to everyone.”
Grohl also revealed how he and Lemmy shared a love of Little Richard and how he actually had Little Richard sign a bible pamphlet he meant to give to Lemmy. Grohl quoted a Little Richard song called “Precious Lord Take My Hand” before raising a toast to Kilmister.
You now watch the service below.
Lemmy, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Christmas Eve (December 24), learned two days later that he was afflicted with an aggressive form of cancer. He died two days later, on December 28 at his home in Los Angeles.
MOTÖRHEAD was revered by both metal and punk fans, and Lemmy was considered an icon for his musical talent and his embodiment of the rock n’ roll lifestyle.
Lemmy had been dealing with serious health issues for the past two years, including getting a pacemaker in 2013 and suffering from a hematoma in 2014. But despite 40 years of hard living and drinking, he continued to tour and record at a feverish pace.
The band was forced to cancel or postpone a number of shows last year due to Lemmy‘s poor health, which also forced him to cut back on his drinking and give up smoking.
While MOTÖRHEAD itself was revered by metal and punk fans, Lemmy himself became a rock and roll icon and elder statesman, the embodiment of a musician who lived the rock lifestyle to the fullest and never stopped.
To the surprise of no one, MOTÖRHEAD will not continue without Lemmy. Drummer Mikkey Dee confirmed the decision in an interview with the Swedish paper Expressen, saying, “MOTÖRHEAD is over, of course. Lemmy was MOTÖRHEAD. But the band will live on in the memories of many.”
Dee, who’d been in the band since 1992, said that the band’s last tour was very difficult for Lemmy. Dee said, “He was terribly gaunt. He spent all his energy on stage and afterwards he was very, very tired. It’s incredible that he could even play, that he could finish the Europe tour. It was only 20 days ago. Unbelievable.”
With their raw, uncompromising sound, MOTÖRHEAD never became a major commercial success, but Lemmy and his cohorts remained a popular live attraction for the next several decades while winning a Grammy in 2005 and recording a total of 22 studio albums. The most edition of the band, featuring guitarist Phil Campbell and Dee, spent 22 years together, releasing its now-final album, “Bad Magic”, last year.