MOTÖRHEAD frontman Lemmy Kilmister is featured in a new interview with Rolling Stone’s Steve Appleford. An excerpt is available below:
The sun is still shining on L.A.’s Sunset Strip as Lemmy Kilmister takes his favorite spot at the bar of the Rainbow Bar & Grill. Sipping from a glass, he feeds dollars into a machine to play games of trivia and chance like Clock Teaser, a quiz about women and nature. At 67, the Motörhead frontman looks just as he always has: black cavalry hat with gold insignia, prominent warts and mutton chops, embroidered cowboy boots. But that’s Diet Coke in his glass, not Jack Daniel’s. And while the jokes roll out easily in his distinctive British rasp, he sounds like a man who’s still recovering from a gut punch.
This is Lemmy’s first visit back to the Rainbow in six months. The last time was before a bout of heart trouble and bruising last summer forced Motörhead off the road for the first time in years. “There is nothing weirder than having everything you are taken from you in one day – bingo,” he says. Now he rides an exercise bike every day at his new condo nearby. His drinking has slowed to a trickle, and the two packs of Marlboro Reds he used to smoke each day are down to one or two cigarettes a day. “Let’s face it – it isn’t as much fun,” says Lemmy. “But it can’t be as much fun if I die. I don’t believe that’s much fun, either.”
Lemmy’s illness kept him quietly at home as Motörhead’s thunderous 21st album, Aftershock, brought in the band’s best first-week sales in decades last October. A few months earlier, his friend and onetime songwriting partner Mick Farren had collapsed onstage in London while performing with the Deviants. Farren never regained consciousness. “There are worse places to go,” Lemmy says. “It’s better than having tubes up your nose. I’d much rather go dressed in my best, trying to reach that last note.”
After being forced to cancel the rest of Motörhead’s European festival dates last July, Lemmy backtracked and tried to perform for the 85,000 rock fans at the Wacken Open Air concert in Germany. But he had to leave the stage after just a handful of songs. “We only did 38 minutes and I was done,” he says. “I was too tired. I had to come off.” Adds Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell, “It reminded us that this mountain of unwavering Lemm is actually a tiny bit mortal like we all are.”
Lemmy will give it another try on Motörhead’s upcoming European tour, kicking off in Glasgow in February and including a summer stop at Wacken to finish that incomplete set. “I think it’s going to be really a joy, once I get back into it,” Lemmy says. “Then it will be OK.”
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In late 2013, Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell spoke with Wales Online recently about Lemmy health and explained, “Lem had a pacemaker fitted earlier in the year because he’d been suffering from irregular heartbeats, and then his diabetes started playing him up.
“But his ticker’s fine now and he’s made sufficient changes to his lifestyle and diet in order to combat the diabetes, it’s just that he felt he wasn’t 100% ready to go back on the road just yet. As a result we put the dates back a little bit to enable him to build himself back up to full fitness. Look, none of us are getting any younger, so Lemmy’s condition didn’t exactly come as a massive shock,” said Campbell, whose 15th studio album with the band – Aftershock – has just been unleashed. “But the older we get the more we tend to be there for one another and back each other up.
“The main problem is that he’s displayed such a hard persona all his life that it makes it difficult for him to let people in. He’s like the John Wayne of rock – always wanting to soldier on and handle things on his own, you know?”
Read more at Wales Online.