A Few Thoughts On The Passing Of Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister

Lemmy Kilmister, founding member and frontman of Motörhead, has died. He was 70 years old.

By now you’ve probably heard of Lemmy’s passing and seen the outpouring of love and support from icons of the music community. To say his presence in the world of rock will be missed would be an understatement. Lemmy was, for most of us anyways, the last true embodiment of real rock and roll. He played by his own rules, regardless of the consequences, and he wasn’t afraid to throw a big ‘Fuck you’ to anyone who dared to get in his way. His rebellious spirit spread far and wide through the music he created, and now in his absence it is his art that will keep his name on the minds of music fans for generations to come.

Writing on Facebook to confirm his passing, Motörhead posted the following message:

“There is no easy way to say this… our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer. He had learnt of the disease on December 26th, and was at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game from the Rainbow which had recently made it’s way down the street, with his family. We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words. We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please… play Motörhead loud.”

Cancer is not the only health-related battle Lemmy had been fighting in recent months. Lemmy had been suffering from a number of other well-publicized health issues over the last few years, including hematoma. In 2013, he was fitted with an implantable defibrillator to correct an irregular heartbeat. His health issues had caused the cancelation of multiple Motörhead performances over time, including a gig cut short in Austin back in the fall of 2015 where the aging frontman told those in attendance “I can’t do it” before walking offstage, but Lemmy remained an active force up until the time of his death. In fact, he performed in Helsinki earlier this month.

Where others might have allowed their waining health to pull them from the road, Lemmy was never more alive than when he was on stage. Regardless of what life through his way, Lemmy always found a way to make sure fans were not left disappointed. The man lived and breathed rock music until his last breath, performing dozens of shows in 2015 alone, and as shown in footage from Rock AM Ring back in June he never lost his knack for making crowds come alive with his signature growl.

As you might have guessed, the life of Motörhead ended with Lemmy. In an interview with Sweden’s Expressen, drummer Mickey Dee confirmed Lemmy’s death marked the end of Motörhead. He told the host, “Motörhead is over, of course. Lemmy was Motörhead. We won’t be doing any more tours or anything. And there won’t be any more records. But the brand survives, and Lemmy lives on in the hearts of everyone.”

Our staff wasn’t raised in houses that praised the name of Lemmy, but as all young hard rock fans do we eventually found our way to their greatest hits when seeking something heavier, faster, and altogether better than what was being played on the radio. I will never forget the first time Lemmy’s art hit my ears or the way it made me feel to know someone with such a unique voice could thrive in an industry that appeared to be driven by cookie-cutter duplicates of whatever had worked in the past. To know Lemmy’s work was to understand that being yourself will make you happy in a way that no professional position could hope to match, and if you remain true to yourself long enough others will begin to seek out your work. People, and I mean all people, yearn for originality in the things they enjoy. This week, we lost a true original, and as far as we are concerned the world will never be the same.


James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him onTwitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.