Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister Talks Touring, Bandmates, New Album Plans + More
Lemmy Kilmister was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. He spoke all about his experience playing festivals, his Motorhead bandmates, this past summer’s Mayhem Festival, his adoration for fellow British band Skunk Anansie and much more. If you missed Jackie’s show, read the full interview with Lemmy Kilmister:
There’s going to be ‘The World Is Ours Vol. 2’ release; it’s going to feature Motorhead’s 2011 headlining Wacken Open Air Festival, highlights from Sonisphere in the UK and Rock in Rio in Brazil. What was it like playing that Wacken show, what was it like to headline Wacken last year?
All around the world rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay. I think it was 85,000 people the last one we did, it was amazing. We did the full show old show, it’s a great festival. Rio was bigger in fact, Rio was good but you can only see the first 50 rows really.
It must look like some crazy sea of people when you look out on the crowd.
I’m so used to it now, it’s a funny thing to say you got used to it but I am. You see a lot of people, it’s just a lot of people – you don’t really think about the number, the actual number because they go out over the horizon and they’re out of sight anyway. It’s really funny I got used to that really quick, at first you get intimidated the first time – Reading, I think was our first one, Reading festival, there was like 20,000 people and we were freaked out. After that I really didn’t care ‘cause it’s only good as the one guy who’s applauding, isn’t it?
I wanted to ask you how your summer was, you were obviously on Mayhem this summer. Which band did you bond with most over the course of the Mayhem Festival?
Let’s see now, Anthrax probably ’cause they’re old friends of ours already – so yeah we had a good time with them. They’re good lads.
How was your overall experience on the Mayhem Festival, it was your first time playing obviously.
It was my first time playing the Mayhem one, yeah, we just went on when we should just go on and we came off when we should come off and that’s all you have to look after really. There’s things, you have to be punctual – a lot of people aren’t with us because they’re unprofessional.
Do your main influences like Buddy Holly and Little Richard still come into play when you record new music?
Not at all?
Well no, it’s a different time now, isn’t it? It’s not 1959 anymore, if it is they didn’t tell me.
Do you hear them any different now than when you were a kid?
No it sticks with you in that frame, with me it does anyway. You remember the things you were hearing then, little time capsules songs are.
It hasn’t changed much over the year so what is it that makes writing and recording a Motorhead album with Phil [Campbell] and Mikkey [Dee] such a comfortable process?
It’s not comfortable when we’re doing an album, it’s terrible. I mean we fight like cat and dog over the smallest thing – “That extra beat” “Shut Up!” We always fight over things but that’s how it should be, you should have different points of view or else you’d never get it right.
How do you come to some sort of conclusion or agreement at the end of the day?
The one who talks last, gets it. [Laughs] The one who shouts out gets it, usually.
I’ve heard you compliment your other bandmates in the past and how much of a better musician do you feel you are as a result of the time you’ve spent playing with Phil and Mikkey?
I’m not better at all, they just enable to be lazier ‘cause they’re so much better you know. We play what we play, we all got our little niche what we cover for the other two. You’ll never hear us do a mistake onstage, there are lots [Laughs] ‘cause we hate rehearsals but you’ll never hear them because we cover them up real good, usually at least. There’s a couple now and again. I really like playing with these two there some of the best musicians in the world right now and they don’t get enough recognition for it. It’s a shame.
You’ve collaborated with a lot of different artists over the years. Is there anybody that you’ve never had a chance to?
Yes, Skin from Skunk Anansie is one, Dave Edmunds although I did half a collaboration with him once. He produced our first four tracks ever. Who else? I don’t know really, there’s a lot of people that you think you would like to but then you come down to it and you think about it real hard and you think “No it wouldn’t work.” I’d like to collaborate with Billy Gibbons again ‘cause last time it was only half collaboration, I didn’t get to play in the studio with him.
I’ve got to imagine you’ve met everbody that you’ve wanted to in terms of musicians and other artists. Has there ever been anyone who was a letdown when you finally met them in person?
Oh I don’t bad mouth people.
I’m not asking you to name a name.
Yeah you are. You shouldn’t do that, if they got to let you down isn’t that enough dismay you want to share it with people. No, I’ve met most of the people I’ve wanted to and most have been okay.
Well I just hope that everybody has been respectful to you because …
They should be because I ain’t bad mouthed them, right? [Laughs]
You’re a legend, man, and you deserve to be respected and when you sit there and you go to a Motorhead show and you watch the band play live you’re like “Wow there are so many bands that have been influenced by Motorhead over the years.” It’s pretty amazing so they need to respect that.
You can’t really hear it though. Motley Crue used to play a couple of songs of ours onstage to get themselves going but you can’t hear it in their music, obviously. It’s like your influences are just your influences, they make you play certain way or they make you realize a certain thing about how it was done. The Everly Brothers are one of my biggest influences and there’s nothing in that obviously ‘cause there’s no one to harmonize with in my band but that was a big valuable influence on me but I couldn’t tell you what for particularly – it isn’t the harmonies which is what I loved them for. So there must be – there’s something else I got from them that I don’t even know about, subliminival.
Who do you listen to before you go onstage?
I don’t listen to music before we go onstage. There’s enough s— going on without listening to music, as well. [Laughs] Usually I just get up from the table, put a marker in the book and walk onstage and I’m alright. I’m pretty easy to please, I don’t ask for much.
Is there any new music that you’ve been listening to lately that’s exciting to you?
Not lately, I have not been really looking for any to listen to. Skunk Anansie have a new album coming out though which you should promote and ZZ Top have a really good album out now ‘La Futura.’ The Skunk Anansie one you should listen to, Americans, ‘cause you ain’t got them yet and you should ‘cause they’re excellent.
What can we expect in terms of new music and another tour, I guess we’re going to have to wait until next year?
Yes we’re going on tour in Europe at the end of October but we’re not playing here until the New Year obviously. I don’t know where we’re going to be, we didn’t set it up yet.
For your next record are you going to have a collaboration with any other artists?
I’m hoping to get Skin to do a song with me, so I got the solo album almost finished and I just need one more track so I thought I’d do one with her. She said “yeah” but our schedules really odd, they’re not being helpful [laughs] — the schedules themselves. We’ll wait and see, it’s been 10 years anyway, making it. Six months ain’t going to hurt.
In terms of another Motorhead record, do you think in 2013?
Next year we go into the studio in January so from then on it’s a work in progress.
Full Metal Jackie will welcome Canadian film director Sam Dunn, who put together and starred in the ‘Metal Evolution Series’ on VH1 Classics on her next show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.