Watch: Lemmy Interview – Hawkwind To Punk Via Human Crabs

The Quietus hooks up with Loud Pixels to present a revealing interview with Motorhead's Lemmy (first published December 2010)

The shadow of Lemmy Kilmister, clad in tight jeans and jackboots, looms large over British music of the past 35 years, yet he remains a curiously unsung hero. As he says to Ben Graham in our interview, "every seven years it becomes fashionable to like Motorhead again. Another six months and we’ll be back in the shade. Been alright, done it before." As a live band, Motorhead outstrip nearly every other group not only in volume but in relentless, convincing energy. This they have both from Lemmy’s presence – legs apart, head back, roaring out those songs – and his skill as a bass player. He says that Hawkwind’s biggest mistake was to kick him out, because "they fired the engineroom" and suspects that the group never got their due because – "they looked like drug-addled tramps, which is basically what we were half the time anyway. We never had a good organisation to get past that first horrified image. We didn’t make commercial records – the best thing we made was ‘Urban Guerrilla’, but that got pulled off the racks because it was when the IRA bombed Harrods. Went down like a concrete parachute, that".

Lemmy explains that by contrast Motorhead survived for so long because "we sounded like a punk band but looked like a rock band" and it was arguably the cross-pollination between Motorhead’s raw power and punk that gave them a late-70s boost. When they played with punk bands "everyone got something thrown at them" Lemmy says, before going on to explain the special relationship that he has with the Damned: "You knew the punks were going to be a big thing because they told you they were. Rat Scabies came up behind me in Dingwalls, this terrible urchin with awful red hair, spots all over him. He said, "Oi, you’re Lemmy aren’t you?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘You think you’re a rock star or something?’ I said, ‘Well if there’s going to be one, it might as well be me.’ He said, ‘Fair enough, I’ll buy you a drink.’ We’ve been friends ever since."

Lemmy goes on to discuss how much he loved the Sex Pistols and Nirvana – the guitar "was like scraping your fingers down the blackboard" and why when there’s another movement like punk "we won’t like it. And that’s the way it should be".

Finally, Lemmy talks about how the new, twentieth Motorhead album is shaped by the current political climate, and his anger at the BP oil spill. "You can love the individual, but you can’t love the race… we’re arrogant bastards. We’re like a dose of crabs", and adds that human cooperation could learn from our smaller fellows on this spinning planet: "Talk to the ants, they’ve got communism working."

Interview conducted by Ben Graham; produced, filmed and edited by Loud Pixels Live: Marc Broussely, Jim Shreim, Keith Craig.

Visit the Loud Pixels website,

Motörhead new album The Wörld Is Yours is out January 17th 2011. Lemmy The Movie released on DVD 24 January

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