The memorial service and celebration of Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister (24 December 1945 – 28 December 2015) was held on January 9, 2016 at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood. Family and fellow rock stars paid tribute to the Motörhead frontman, including Mikkey Dee, Rob Halford, Lars Ulrich, Robert Trujillo, Slash, Matt Sorum, Scott Ian, Mike Inez and Dave Grohl.
Perhaps the greatest tribute was the one that came from Lemmy’s son, Paul Inder, which reads in part:
I had a feeling deep inside my father felt something was wrong back in August when I went to see him perform at the Shrine in downtown Los Angeles. He looked more frail than he did the previous time I saw him and his shaking hand was more pronounced. And when he spoke his voice was softer. But the moment it came to showtime, his uncompromising grit and unyielding determination kept him performing at full beam. Nothing was going to stop him, not even at this point, from getting up on stage and doing what he loved to do most of all. That’s what kept him going. He wasn’t about to go home and give in to any pain he was experiencing, no matter how serious. We will probably never truly know how much pain he was in because he never complained. That wasn’t his style. He was no cop out and he wasn’t about to become one. He chose to give his fans every last drop of himself those last few months instead. Even if I’d known; even if he had known his grave diagnosis for the final tour, I know he would have done it regardless. That’s who he was and he wasn’t going to give in as long as he could walk, stand, play his instrument and sing. All of his career he was a stage warrior but this went way beyond that. He took it far beyond his physical limits this time, still delivering his intense, brazen high-octane rock and roll show after show. Despite his body becoming weaker and increasingly frail he simply got on with it, but this time against incredible odds. If the hill became steeper to climb then he pushed harder to compensate until he achieved the required equilibrium to get to the summit. Towards the end of that final tour, I sensed he was walking an increasingly thin and narrowing line in order to keep on delivering. But he kept his balance and his poise perfectly, without falling once. And when I began to realize that was what he was truly up against, it blew my mind open and left me beyond speechless. He was now moving Mount Everest itself in order for the show to go on, even after receiving the shocking news of our close friend Phil Taylor’s passing in November, which would have been a devastating blow to him; and it was. He still continued to deliver the goods and the show went on regardless, telling the crowd, “This next song was written before you were born.” And he loved you all more than he loved himself.
He wasn’t just a musician and a songwriter, he was a figurehead like no other. He showed us how to be true to ourselves by always sticking to his guns and he never lost sight of that, never for a single moment. He set the bar. There were no attempts to be commercial in order to cash in on a wider audience during a career slump. It wasn’t about making more money for him. It was about keeping it real and authentic regardless of any outcome. And there was no pause button or going on vacation after a grueling tour. He never liked swimming pools anyway or golf courses, theaters or even discos for that matter. You would be hard-pressed to find a photo of Lemmy standing around in a disco, even despite his admiration for ABBA and the Bee Gees. Performing was everything to him. It gave him true purpose and meaning and kept his mind, body and soul together, especially in his final months. That was his idea of a yoga practice; his version of exercising or working out. It helped any pain or discomfort he felt diminish and the adrenaline rush of performing in front of the crowd is what charged his batteries back up and kept him on track. My Father never had a stage persona. He didn’t dress up for his shows then change back into casual clothes when he came off stage. He was “Lemmy” all the time. He had style and charisma but he definitely wasn’t a poser. He just always looked that way naturally without trying. To him, it wasn’t a business geared toward profit and he wore no mask. He paid his dues for far too long to ever think or act like that. And I know that’s one of the main reasons why we all loved him so much as well as the music, of course. Motörhead’s final album Bad Magic was not an easy record to get through for my Dad. He struggled with it but he got through it. And what’s especially poignant is how much energy came from the band and especially from my Father in those final studio performances, even at that fragile point in his life. I personally would like to thank Cameron Webb for having the facility to assist my father, Phil and Mikkey, in creating a fantastic final Motörhead album in Bad Magic. When I listen to it, my Dad, or Lem for you, revealed no trace of his frail health and right after that he went out on tour again, as he always did, once more putting his fans first. About a year or so ago, I intimated to him that the only artist who appeared to work and tour as hard as he continued to, was James Brown. They both share the same unshakable tenacity. That’s what he represented from day one. Born To Lose, Live To Win.
He wasn’t a religious man and praying for a miracle was something that he would have viewed as a delusional act. But he was profoundly spiritual. That and a very strong sense of unique sarcasm and his own very special brand of ironic northern humour kept him laughing at it all. When I would drop by and visit him and if there was a new Motörhead album in the works, he’d put it on and play it to me in the entirety, quietly singing along to it while sipping on a Jack and Coke. “Hi Paul, grab me some ice would you and get yourself a drink while you’re at it.” Then he would offer me a pair of headphones or put the album on through his TV speakers. I miss it so already. And when he put on some rough mixes of a new Motörhead album, you’d better keep quiet and listen. He never tolerated anyone talking over music, especially his. It really irked him. And I don’t know about you but it annoys me too. Dad and myself never understood those who might put on music in the background at a cocktail or a dinner party and then small talk all over it. He disliked formal events like that anyhow. You know, music isn’t a background thing, he would say. You’d get a loud, “Shh” from him with an endearing yet stern frown.
We’d ridicule the ads when they came on TV. We joked about pharmaceutical info-mercials, especially the bizarre part at the end where they list all the side effects such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, strokes, heart failure and death. We’d look at each other and he’s give me That face. He always brought me up when I was down. I’m going to miss that enormously. Nobody on this Earth possessed his unique brand of humour and it was a thing that came totally natural. He never faked it just like he never faked anything else. He was 100% real a 100% of the time.
He was an avid historian and he knew the origin and background of every military piece he owns. Or he might show me a recent acquisition in the form of a dagger, a medal or a guitar, maybe. Or his vast collection of military patches. He was unbelievably informed and very well read. He was a philosopher. He held the door open for you. He was chivalrous. A gentlemen. One of his many great quotes were, “Manners are free.”
It didn’t matter to me that we didn’t get so much time together in my early years because to me as a child, he was an enigma. I was fascinated by him. And I only ever felt love and admiration for this wild, long-haired man who was cooler than everyone else in the room at any time and any place. I, like us all, were drawn to his unassuming magnetism. They say you can’t choose your parents. Well, I won the lottery when I got Lemmy. Because Lemmy Kilmister was my Father and he always will be. And nothing can ever change or alter that fact. And I would not have it any other way. You were perfect. Travel well, my dear Father. You are back out on the road for a longest tour to the great gig in the sky. We will never, never forget you. I love you.
Lemmy celebrated his 70th birthday on December 24th but died from an aggressive form of cancer on December 28th at his home in Los Angeles. I must say that Motörhead is one of my favourite bands ever and I’ve seen them at least 7 times. Only The Stooges, Ramones and Black Sabbath would rank higher. RIP Lemmy. \m/
Watch the full service below.
— Official Motörhead (@myMotorhead) January 13, 2016
My dear friend and brother passed away yesterday. Life wont be the same.Thanks for all the well wishes. PLAY IT LOUD pic.twitter.com/gxpE2xoFtb
— Phil Campbell (@MotorheadPhil) December 29, 2015
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- Remembering Motörhead’s Lemmy: Fans, Rockers Unite for L.A. Tributes | Rolling Stone
- Motörhead members explain why they failed to attend Lemmy’s funeral | NME.COM
- Obituary: Lemmy, Motörhead frontman | BBC News
- Lemmy tributes led by Dave Grohl and Slash at his funeral | Daily Mail Online
- Steve Vai on Lemmy: ‘He Was the Heart of Rock and Roll’ | Loudwire
- Mikkey Dee: Motörhead is over, of course | The Guardian
- Lemmy | UDR Music
- Motörhead’s “Ace Of Spades”; enters UK Top 20 following death of frontman Lemmy | NME.COM
- Jack & Coke Officially Renamed “The Lemmy” By Food & Beverage Magazine | Metal Injection
- ‘Lemmy’ Co-Director Shares Favorite Memories From 5 Years Spent Making Motörhead Rock Doc | Billboard
- Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister | Tribute Page on Facebook
- Motörhead | Official Web Site