on 30 December 2007
Sure, lots of celebs enter extremely late middle age as well preserved national treasures; few do so on their own terms. Ian Kilmister--boomer, Capricorn, sometime loudest man on the planet--has lived his life like that Jimi Hendrix song: 'let me live my life, the way I want to'. Superficially, that might seem to add up to forty years of professional excess and little more, but as this work shows, it is actually a case-study in what it meant to grow up working class in the North of England immediately after the war. Nobody did a damn thing for him; he carved out what he did, despite a business that has ignored him, mispackaged him and exploited him pretty much since day 2.
Superficially, the book is about sex, drugs and the rest of it; in reality, its about the way in which popular culture has provoked profound social change in the UK and what it means to live through that social experiment--to live your life as an individual in an increasingly collective society.
Lemmy is at pains to emphasize that this is a life that has worked for him but would not work for everyone. He's quite happy to acknowledge that his libertarian views can translate into some un-PC attitudes--and mostly he's just *happy*, which is quite an accomplishment. Ever notice how successful people tend to be like elephants, reciting every grievance and every professional slight--despite a career full of them, Mr. Kilmister remains philosophical and phlegmatic about being thrown out of Hawkwind, the debacle of 'Another Perfect Day' and getting tossed aside by more record labels than he's had Malboros.
To repeat, this is neither philosophy nor literature, but if you want to know why folk like Dave Grohl seek out Lemmy to work with, then listen to 'Damage Case', read this book and you shall have insight.
on 13 April 2011
I galloped through this yarn in a couple of sittings. It's written in a fast paced conversational style, almost as if Lemmy is sitting right beside you telling his stories over a glass of JD. As rock bios go its fairly unbeatable for dry humour, astute observation about the business and sharp wit. Lemmy begins his tale with an observation about the Christian faith of his parents, one of whom was a preacher who deserted the family when Lemmy was a kid. As the Lemster puts it "I mean you teach people that the Messiah was the offspring of a vagabond's wife (who is a virgin) and a ghost? and this is a basis for a worldwide religion? I'm not so sure. I figured if Joseph believed that one he deserved to live in stables". And so, after Lemmy states his position clearly on life's big question, he then describes in lurid detail how he pursued a different, if somewhat less wholesome existence coupling with girl guides in Anglesey as a teenager, discovering Elvis and rock'n'roll and playing guitar in various local R&B outifits during the 60s, drinking and consuming drugs (he took acid between 1967 until the mid 70s and has been on amphetamine sulphate ever since) and sowing his oats with any willing female who happened to be passing back stage. Most of the book is inevitably devoted to his musical career in Hawkwind, from which he was sacked in 1975 after being falsely accused by the Canadian border police of trafficking cocaine (it was actually his speed stash) and then Motorhead, the loudest and meanest band in the history of heavy duty rock'n'roll. The book provides some interesting insights into how Lemmy and his pals lived a fairly bleak existence in London's bedsit underbelly before Motorhead got a break and found their niche right in the middle of the punk rock phenomenon and how Lemmy's sharp ear for musical trends and lyrical talent for catchy heavy metal rock'n'roll songs took the band to chart success within a few years. As Dave Grohl put it when he reviewed the book, "Lemmy is the last man standing and no one comes close".
on 18 September 2003
Lemmy is the kind of rock star that makes you proud to be British. He doesn't take himself too seriously, he just wants to play in a rock and roll band and get laid after the show. In this book (called an autobiography, but it reads like an interview) he recounts his long career in rock, powered by amphetamines and bourbon, and it is a risible ride indeed. Stories of drink-and-drug-induced foolishness abound, along with interesting pen sketches of his fellow band members over the years. I laughed out loud a lot whilst reading this book, you know you're always going to have a good time, all the time, with Motorhead.
It's the life that you're glad somebody led, just to prove that it can be done.
Late in the book, there's a comment from Lemmy about "the woman that helped me write the book." Impossible, then, to know who is responsible for what, but as another reviewer has pointed out, this isn't really an autobiography, it's more a transcribed interview; a stream of consciousness / series of reminisces. Whilst it's arranged in chronological order, as you might expect, it still has a tendency to meander and, at times, to just ramble. I suspect that Lemmy would have done a better job himself, without the ghost writer. "I can't remember the guy's name. Wait, it was..." is unnoticeable when you're listening to an interview, it's how people talk, but it's dumb to transcribe it.
So, fault no. 1 is that it could have been better written without taking any of the Lemminess out of it. He's colourful & outspoken enough that a bit of judicious editing would have taken nothing good or essential away from the book. Fault no. 2 is that Lemmy's lived his own perfect life for the last 50 years; a fairly pure distillation of sex, drugs & rock 'n' roll! However by the time you're nearing the end of the book, it is getting a bit samey, "recorded new album, went on tour, record company were ***** as usual", rinse & repeat. From a purely critical point of view it's a pretty average book.
Despite all that, this is of course Lemmy, a legend in his own lifetime, at least in the world of Heavy Rock & Metal. He's quite happy to say what he thinks, doesn't mince his words at times, and he really doesn't give a damn whether anyone else approves or disapproves. "There's plenty of space in the world for all sorts of opinions and I'm as entitled to mine as you are to yours" is not something he actually says, but you can see it's the way he thinks (& quite right too!). I have, of course, seen & read many interviews of his through the years. He's always engaging & entertaining, and definitely this comes through throughout, lifting the book from a dull & mediocre "I did this & I did that..." to something well worth your time. It's no classic, not even a 5*, but if you've been a fan of the man or the band at any time, you'll find this a thoroughly enjoyable read.
on 15 April 2014
I've never been a die hard Motorhead fan, but I've been aware of them and heard their albums at friends' houses since the late seventies, and of course I bought the Ace of Spades album in 1980 like we all did. I am a big Hawkwind fan, and I really only bought the book to read Lemmy's side of his stint with Hawkwind. However I did enjoy the whole book, though the anecdotes get less interesting as we get into the last decade of Motorhead's existance.
The book is really just "the world according to Lemmy", and if you don't agree with Lemmy's views on life this is rapidly going to grate. But I think most people who were rock fans before MTV, and are therefore now middle aged rock fans, will find a lot in the book that they agree with, and of course it's a massive nostalgia fest. What the MTV generation will make of it I don't know. I've just finished Duff McKagan's autobiography, and I have to say I enjoyed Lemmy's book a lot more. If you are, like me, a middle aged rock fan wishing he still had the energy to get down the front then I think you'll love the book and it's well worth the £4.99 I paid for the Kindle version.
on 29 December 2010
More than 30 years in the rock and roll business. Associations with Hawkwind, Hendrix, The Damned, The Nolan Sisters and more. And this leads to such a dull autobiography.
Basically it's 'we did this tour, changed the line-up, made a new album' repeated many times (oh I forgot the 'took some drugs, got laid after the gig' repetition)
I'd still like to see Motorhead live, but this bio seems like a summary of a pretty shallow life - I mean I'm sure it has been fun for Lemmy, but I'm not sure it would be enough for me. Anyway, Lemmy, thanks for some good tunes and I hope to eventually see Motorhead next time around.
on 4 January 2016
Brilliant. Awesome. Inspiring. A wonderful insight into the life and career of a true rock and roll icon. And that's from someone who has admired this man from a distance over the years, but wouldn't be considered a die hard fan. In my younger days, I was a die hard Gary Numan fan. Still am to some extent, but my musical taste is much more diverse now than it was back then.
When I heard on the radio that Lemmy had died, I was gutted. The world has lost someone very special, and he will be missed very much, but his legacy will live forever in the music he has created for us through his time here.
I bought this ebook on a whim the day I heard of his passing, along with his last album Bad Magic, and am delighted I did. I highly recommend all fans to read it, and even more so those people who don't think of themselves as fans. It's a real insight into a way of life that most of us can only dream about.
I'm off to buy more Motorhead music, and to wish Mr Kilmister all the very best in the next life.
RIP Lemmy, you're a real trooper.
on 24 November 2010
Lemmy is THE rock 'n' roller par excellence, therefore his true story is as amazing as you might expect it to be.
Lemmy is above all an honest man, a very down-to-earth guy and a very smart and gentle person: being nothing like a rockstar, his autobiography doesn't need to schock "regular" people with crazy anecdotes. He simply tells about himself in a very natural and friendly way, as if he were talking to you at dinner.
In other words, if you are hungry for extreme dirty stories about offensive behaviours and filthy details about a celebrity's life, just search elsewhere, there's a lot of cursed biographies around whose covers tease the reader with warnings like "unsuitable to sensitive audience" etc.
Personally, after reading just half a page, I was helpless with laughter, so I dare to say that most part of the book is pure fun. It's not a humour book of course, and you really can listen to this great man's genuine story.
You won't be disappointed if you take it the right way.
on 21 July 2015
I love Motorhead & Lemmy. Always have. This book has surprised me how engaging it was to read. It was written in a very personnel way. It has left me with a great feeling of optimism. Well worth a read to hear of the struggles the band have had and how they just keep rolling on
'Making everything louder than everything else!'
on 10 March 2013
First half of this is really cool,the second half feels like it just wants to race as fast as it can to the finishing line. I was waiting for some great stories to be told but they never happened ?
I was hoping Lemmy himself might have wrote it himself , he didn't . There is no warts and all in this and all the stories i know of are not shown in this. Where are the great times of squatting in portabelo road etc . where are all the stories of Amphetamine abuse ?
Lemmy, do another book bro, and dish some dirt on the real Lemmy.
unashamed plug ... check out , People call ya crazy when ya talk like that.
just a personal account of someone growing out in the early seventies, in and around West London.
Plenty of Drugs,Fighting,Bikes, Rock,Punk,Metal ... and a few memories of Lemmy, from the days that mattered .....