Gene Simmons: Lemmy Kilmister Was ‘Unassuming, Non-Judgmental, With a Heart of Gold’
As the rock community continues to celebrate the life and career of late Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister, the kind words are still flowing from the music world's elite as they remember the icon in their own way. Memorial services were held at the Forest Lawn Cemetery, with many of those on hand later traveling to Lemmy's favorite haunt, the Rainbow Bar & Grill on the Sunset Strip, to join the general public in saluting the Motorhead leader. In attendance was KISS' Gene Simmons, who later penned a lengthy tribute of his own.
As rockers share their personal stories about the legend, Simmons began by describing how he first met Kilmister with a post on Facebook. At the time, Lemmy was playing in the space rock outfit Hawkwind and opened for KISS. The two would run into each other over the years as Simmons stated, "Lem and I didn’t meet up again until a few years later. And continued to run into each other backstage at shows, or at big festivals, when Motorhead would be on the bill … always with a big 'How are you.' And a welcoming hug."
He went on to detail a heart-warming moment that embodied the kind spirit of Lemmy that everyone has been talking about. Simmons was hosting the television show Rock School, which saw the bassist teach kids to overcome intoxicants and start a band. At the end of the program, the kids had a band and original music ready to go and Simmons hooked them up with the ultimate gig: opening for Motorhead.
Recalling how it happened, Simmons stated, "So, I called Lem and his management, who happened to be playing London at the time and they kindly agreed to let this new band, who had never played or recorded anywhere, open up for Motorhead at the sold out Hammersmith Odeon, in London, England." Noting the kids were understandably nervous, Simmons walked into Lemmy's dressing room to thank him for letting the kids open. Stating he had to go talk some confidence into the young band, Lemmy insisted on giving a pep talk of his own.
The KISS icon continued, "Lemmy immediately stood up and despite my objections, walked into the new band’s room, and what I saw, were young, wide eyed kids getting the schooling of their life, from someone who’d been there and done that. And more importantly, he reminded the kids that once upon a time, he was them. And that anything is possible." He added, "That was Lemmy. Unassuming. Non judgmental. With a heart of gold. I never heard anyone, fan or other bands ever say anything bad about Lem."
To read the full statement, click here.
Kilmister passed away on Dec. 28 at the age of 70. Two days prior to his death, he was diagnosed with terminal neck and brain cancer and was told by doctors that he only had two to six months left to live. He left behind one of the most iconic legacies a rock musician could ever have.
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