Remembering Lemmy: The Rock 'N' Roll Icon – by Duff McKagan
"He was just a flat-out cool motherfucker."
Bassist Duff McKagan is getting ready to rejoin his old muckers Axl and Slash in Guns N' Roses. But that's not important right now, not when memories of the late Motörhead frontman are preying on his mind…
When I was a youngster and Ace Of Spades came out, all of us in the Seattle punk rock scene instantly recognised the weight of Lemmy and Motörhead. They embodied what all was good and great about rock’n’roll. Snarling vocals and to-the-point lyrics. Drummer Phil ‘Filthy Animal’ Taylor pounded the fuck out of the drums, and ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke complemented it all with his no-nonsense guitar. It was the perfect meld of punk and metal, and it seemed to rise above any pre-described genre. Motörhead seemed always more ‘punk’ than ‘metal’ – and to that fact – they always somehow portrayed to be ‘in’ on the joke; whereas the metal bands seemed to take it all much too seriously back then.
When I moved down to LA in 1984, it was the influence of guys like Lemmy, Phil Lynott and The Clash’s Paul Simonon that steered me to choose bass, back when I was still a somewhat able drummer and guitar player. I was going to Hollywood to sort of ‘invent’ myself, and I chose bass playing as the coolest of the rock-instrument triumvirate because, hell, it was the baddest choice and these guys were the coolest motherfuckers out there.
And especially Lemmy. He was the type you couldn’t ever hope to emulate. He was much more than just a bass player or a singer, or some guy in a band. Back then, and to this day, Lemmy is a guy you just simply reference as the baddest and most hardcore. When I chose bass back then, sure, it was because of Lemmy… but I never had hopes of being just like him. That isn’t humanly possible for us regular people. And we are all just ‘regular people’ compared to Lemmy.