In my first post regarding the life and career of Lemmy Kilmister, I examined his relentless progress through the UK rock n' roll scene of the '60s and '70s. By 1980, Lemmy and his band, Motorhead, stood atop the British charts. By 1984, the other two members of the "classic" lineup had left the band. A decade of work, shot to hell. Lemmy didn't care. He had a fearsome reputation and prowess to burn. That would have to be enough.
A decade--and a million miles of touring--later, Motorhead had solidified into the form it would maintain until the end: Lemmy on bass, Phil Campbell on guitar and Mikkey Dee on drums.
The next twenty years saw Lemmy and Motorhead playing big venues in Europe, Asia and South America while generally being an opening act for top-tier rock bands in the US. Lemmy was philosophical about it. As long as he was able to make records and tour the world, he was good to go. Or, as Conan might say, "Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content."
Meanwhile, Lemmy was becoming a living meme, making cameos in movies and on TV, the epitome of the rocker too tough and mean to die. Triple H of the WWE had Lemmy write one theme song for him, then another one to top that. The writers of the Spongebob movie were fans and had the band rewrite an old tune for the soundtrack.
Coming off Motorhead's fortieth anniversary tour in 2015, Lemmy planned on spending his seventieth birthday in Vegas. Like Conan, he always loved wine, women, gambling and song. However, his friends noted that he didn't seem that well, so the nativity celebration was held in his hometown haunt of Hollywood. Almost immediately after, Lemmy was diagnosed with several dire health issues and died just days later on December 28th. The British rock community never expected him to get to thirty. He outlived many of his more sedate peers, dying with his full three score and ten, after spending fifty years touring constantly--he wanted to die on stage--in one of the more dangerous professions.
There is this reminiscence from veteran actor, W. Earl Brown:
As Earl Brown noted above, Lemmy was in an episode of Deadwood.
It's fitting that Lemmy would've made a cameo. He loved Westerns, especially the Eastwood films. Also, Motorhead's classic, "Ace of Spades", references the Dead Man's Hand, which got its name in Deadwood.
Out of many Western-themed Motorhead songs, here are a few lyrics from "Outlaw":
Die or live, shoot to kill, the old routine you know so well.
Gun law rules, that's what I said, another dreamer woke up dead.
Justice means the fastest gun, no appeal, done is done.
Know it's quick, hanging tree, courthouse, whorehouse set you free.
Born to live, don't know how long, never know right from wrong.
Outlaw, face down in the dirt,
Outlaw, the one that kills you never hurts,
Outlaw, lying in the street,
Outlaw, the last gunslinger you will meet,
Outlaw that's all.
Lemmy, as noted in my previous post, was a bit of a Moorcock fan, though the "fandom" between the two seemed to flow more in one direction (Lemmy never dedicated an album to Moorcock). Kilmister was also--unlike Moorcock, but just like Jim Cawthorn and Clark Ashton Smith--a Tolkien fan. All in all, Lemmy seems to have been a fan of fantasy with plenty of swords in it, as well as being a devotee of history in general and military history in particular. It's a pity that no one ever gave Lem a copy of The Book of Robert E. Howard.
Out of many possible examples, here are some good sword & sorcery lyrics from Motorhead:
Stoneface dog, swirling fog, gates open on the dark, dark night
Standing stone, skull and bone, dead witness to an unseen fight
Beat the drum, beat the drum, beat forever on the endless march
Stricken dumb, cut and run, someone is screaming and the sky is dark.
Sword and shield, bone and steel, rictus grin
Deaf forever to the battle's din.
March or croak, flame and smoke, burn forever in eternal pain
Charge and fall, bugle call, bone splinter in the driving rain
Horses scream, Viking dream, drowned heroes in a lake of blood
Armoured fist, severed wrist, broken spears in a sea of mud.
Mother earth, mother earth enfold you in her cold embrace
Sinking down, killing ground, worm crawling on your cold white face
Win or lose, nought to choose, all men are equal when their memory fades
No one knows, friends or foes, if Valhalla lies beyond the grave.
Before and after Lemmy's death, there was one constant theme from everyone who knew him. The man was a straight-shooter with utmost integrity. Duff McKagan called him the Johnny Cash of rock n' roll. Kilmister was an alpha male who never bent his neck (as an adult) to anyone. At the same time, he was never a bully. He walked his road and any who had what it took to follow, could. Lemmy led by example and died with his boots on. This world is just a bit less interesting—and much quieter—without him.