RIP, Lemmy Kilmister, Motörhead Frontman, Rock God Personified

Lemmy Kilmister plays with Motörhead at Pompano Beach Amphitheater on September 26 as part of the band's 40-year anniversary tour.
Lemmy Kilmister plays with Motörhead at Pompano Beach Amphitheater on September 26 as part of the band's 40-year anniversary tour.
Photo by Jim Hall /

Today, the sun rose in the same way it presumably has every single day since time began. And today, life endures generally unabated. But today... well, today is different, because today is the first day since December 24, 1945, that this forsaken, spinning blue ball of suffering has existed in the absence of one Ian Fraser Kilmister — known to most as “Lemmy,” known to many more as “God.”

Our Lemmy departed this world last night after a tragically short battle with an aggressive cancer and less than a week after celebrating his 70th birthday. Lemmy’s passing comes on the heels of a rough year of highly publicized health maladies that had intertwined with and occasionally interrupted Motörhead's 40-year anniversary celebration, which included a world tour and the release of the band’s triumphant 22nd (and now final) album, Bad Magic.

What can one even say about the passing of one of the last truly infallible titans of rock ’n’ roll to walk this Earth? Lemmy embodied it. The man existed as a product of and conduit for all that made rock good. The music Lemmy made with Motörhead tied together rockers of all creeds and transcended generations: the punks, the metalheads (who would undoubtedly occupy a very different sonic home were it not for Lemmy’s contributions), the ’70s rockers — anyone seeking the true essence of rock ’n’ roll seemed to intrinsically understand how pure the form was when it came from Lemmy. It (the true spirit of rock ’n’ roll) coursed through the man’s veins and defined his life far beyond his legendary penchant for illicit substances, women, and volume. It was Lemmy’s unwillingness to yield to the will of anyone else that defined him.

Lemmy did things his way right up to the bitter end, with no apologies made and the kind of intensity and power that could still freak out the squares and never failed to rile up the believers. He shot straight and spoke the truth, no matter how ugly it might be. The zeal that commanded Lemmy through this life is something we have all undoubtedly benefited from and something sorely missing from rock and metal these days.

There is, of course, no one who can or will ever fill those great, big, white leather boots. We only hope that the man is sinking Jack-and-Cokes and smoking all of the cigarettes he could possibly want with Philthy and Würzel, happily planted in front of some derelict bar-mounted videogame at whatever the afterlife’s version of the Rainbow Bar and Grill might be.

As for us, we raise a glass, we raise a fist, and we will forever raise the fucking volume for the one and only Lemmy Kilmister! Rest in power. 

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