Q&A: Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister on Touring with Megadeth and His Forthcoming Solo Album
Rightfully worshipped by headbangers and punks alike, Motörhead and its iconic founder, bassist and principle songwriter Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, have been grinding out their influential brand of balls-out rock for nearly four decades. Founded after Lemmy was fired from British space-rock outfit Hawkwind for getting busted with speed at the Canadian border in 1975 -- or, as he famously put it, for "doing the wrong drugs" -- Motörhead forged a punishing, overdriven sound that has remained virtually unchanged throughout the band's career.
From the classic early lineup featuring "Fast" Eddie Clarke on guitar and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor on drums through the current long-running power trio with guitarist Phil Campbell (a member since 1984) and drummer Mikkey Dee (who celebrates his 20th year as a member in 2012), Lemmy and company have maintained a standard of quality and ferociousness matched by few bands. Motörhead has been particularly prolific of late, issuing its 20th studio album, The Wörld Is Yours in late 2010 and its latest concert document, the new three-disc DVD/CD The Wörld Is Ours Vol. 1: Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else. The honorable Mr. Kilmister recently spoke with All Shook Down about Motörhead's touring plans, last year's acclaimed documentary Lemmy: 49% Motherfucker, 51% Son of a Bitch, and his forthcoming solo effort featuring such collaborators as The Damned, Joan Jett, and Jeff Beck. Motörhead performs at the Gigantour with Megadeth, Volbeat, and Lacuna Coil at the Event Center at San Jose State University this Thursday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m.
First off, I wanted to say I've been seeing you perform since I was a teenager and I'm in my 40s now. Motörhead has always been one of those bands I could count on to deliver the goods. Thank you for your amazing consistency throughout your career.
Thank you for your amazing consistency [laughs].
To get into the new live DVD/CD package that just came out, I was watching some of the interview footage that's included, and there's a point where you talk about the size and enthusiasm of South American audiences. Did you consider other cities or countries down there for the filming when you came up with the idea of making the DVD?
We just recorded a bundle of concerts and picked out the best bits, you know? The Manchester one was recorded last year and was going to be an album in its own right. And then we got Chile as well, and it was just really so good we had to put that in. It just all came together in bits and bobs, so we ended up with the three-disc package.
There have been a few other Motörhead concert DVDs in the past decade, and the band has got no shortage of live releases over the years. What inspired you to put out another one at this stage?
It was Chile really. I would have sat on it and put another studio one out, and then they said, 'Why don't we do another DVD?' And I said, 'Well, you have to do Chile then.' Even though it was in black and white. I thought it was a bit weird, you know, but there you go. But the audiences are fantastic down there. They really are. In Brazil and Argentina, too.
I was going to ask why you ended up shooting it in black and white. It's kind of unusual, but it looks great...
It was the guy. The film director. It was his call, basically.
Sam Dunn's production company was involved in this DVD and he's really featured you a lot in his documentary work on metal. It seems you'd be a natural subject for one of his films, but the doc that came out last year was made by first-time directors Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski. Did they just beat him as far as approaching you to make the film?
Well, they just showed up and said, 'We want to do a documentary because we're fans.' I said, 'Come on the road for a couple of days and shoot a pilot.' And they did. We didn't have any other offers at the time. I think they did a really good job though.
Yeah, I appreciated that they went back to the Hawkwind days and actually got Dave Brock to get his input. Some of the stories are pretty well known among Motörhead fans, but it was good to hear them from the horse's mouth.
There were a couple of surprises in there, too [laughs].
Your taste for Jack and Coke is pretty well known, and it's pretty clear from some of your song lyrics you don't have time for organized religion. You're currently touring with Megadeth, a headliner that has a couple of members who are sober born-again Christians.
Well, the great thing about my philosophy is live and let live, you know? I don't mind if you want to worship the Great Poobah in the sky, as long as you don't expect me to do it, too. And nobody has so far preached to me on this tour, so it's alright.
So you don't try to steer clear of certain subjects? You just go about your business?
No, no. We hardly ever see Megadeth anyway. They come late and we leave early after we finish to beat the traffic out of there. So we don't see much of them. I've stayed a couple of times to watch their show, but that's about all.