25 Great Lemmy Quotes: Motorhead Icon on Sex, Drugs, Women, Religion, Rock & Roll | Revolver

25 Great Lemmy Quotes: Motorhead Icon on Sex, Drugs, Women, Religion, Rock & Roll

"I just wanted the chicks in the beginning. And I got 'em, too."
Motorhead Lemmy KIlmister 2017 travis SHINN, Travis Shinn
photograph by Travis Shinn

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With boundless swagger and rare sexual charisma, Lemmy Kilmister sauntered into this world with a mission all his own, and he left it irrevocably better for having known him. His ceaseless work with Motörhead helped sustain rock & roll as an art, and his rebel spirit and irresistible songwriting brought even the once warring punk and metalhead factions together — to this day, any time someone drops "Ace of Spades" on a dive bar jukebox, it serves as a unifying rallying call.

Looming tall and thrusting his voice upward into his mic, Lemmy cut the quintessential figure of a rock star in the minds of many today. His disarming wit and charm came through in every interview, every video, every performance; the music industry may never fully appreciate his essential contributions, but fans across generations are nevertheless drawn in by the ghost of this singular idol whose life of legend defied social convention and, it seemed for a long time, the very concept of basic human mortality. Lemmy didn't give a fuck, and when he died, a huge piece of that attitude went with him.

His autobiography White Line Fever (quoted below a few times) tells the story of a middle class boy who was abandoned by his father but enjoyed growing up spoiled by a loving mother and grandmother, and who grew up to manifest his disdain for authority and normalcy into one of the most influential careers in music history. Mysterious Lemmy was not, and his honesty on subjects from religion to sexism to his unquenchable love for women always felt refreshing, uncontrived and lacking in any sense of entitlement or unmerited egoism. He shot from the hip, rarely contradicted himself across the decades, and possessed a magnetic candor obvious to nearly anyone who's ever shown even passing interest in heavy music. Below are 25 of his most memorable quotes.

"The great strength of heavy metal is that it doesn't progress." —Old Grey Whistle Test

"There's more people like [me] in the suburban homes of England than anybody realizes, and soon we shall take over the world." —UK television interview

"The only interesting thing about religion is how many people it's slaughtered." —Louder Than War

"When we first started, [Motörhead] were put with the punks rack, with all that you see. Then they saw photographs where we had long hair. Everybody knows that punks don't have long hair." —Metalljournalen

"You really wanna be like me? Jesus. Listen: Be an accountant. They've got all my money." —Reading Festival

"As you go through life's rich tapestry, you realize that most people you meet aren't fit to shine your shoes. It's a sad fact, but it's true. A good friend is someone who'd hide you if you were on the run for murder. How many of them do you know?" —The Independent

"If you didn't do anything that wasn't good for you it would be a very dull life. What are you gonna do? Everything that is pleasant in life is dangerous." —The Independent

"There is certainly a sort of prejudice against women playing rock & roll. People don't take them seriously or they stupid things like, 'They're pretty good for girls.' I mean, Kelly Johnson [from Girlschool] in her best times would play the ass out of most guitarists you'd see in London." —Interview

"You're gonna spend your whole life worrying about your death? Seems like bullshit to me." —Archived interview

"The 'death of heavy metal' that's been going on, I mean, I haven't noticed it. We haven't been playing to no empty houses." —Eric Blair interview

"People have forgotten that sex is fun. It's the most fun you can have without laughing. People have forgotten that. It's all deadly serious. AIDS. You can get gonorrhea from a blowjob. So what? That's the risk you have to take. If you're going to have sex, fuckin' have sex and be happy about it. Don't be looking over your shoulder all the time.  It ruins everything." —Rolling Stone

"There was a magazine in England who said I screwed 2,000 women and I didn't; I said 1,000. When you think about it, it isn't that unreasonable." —Spin

"You teach people that the messiah was the offspring of a vagabond wife (who is a virgin) and a ghost? And this is the basis for a worldwide religion? I'm no so sure." —White Line Fever

"I had problems at school right from the start. The teachers and I didn't see eye to eye: They wanted me to learn, and I didn't want to." —White Line Fever

"I've been known as Lemmy since I was around 10. I didn't always have the mustache ... I've only had that since I was 11." —White Line Fever

"I don't think it's fair to be waving your dick around when people are minding their own business and might not want to see it." —White Line Fever

"I'm kind of tired of being celebrated for being old." —Stay Thirsty

"It's not a bad job really. I get to travel all over the world, knock off birds of all shapes, sizes, religious creeds and colors, and make people happier than they were when they arrived." —Full Metal Jackie

"For me it was Little Richard that was the king. Imagine being black and gay from Macon Georgia, no wonder he became a singer — he could never have been a boxer!" —Louder Than War

"I just wanted the chicks in the beginning. And I got 'em, too." —Noisey

"If you're going to be a fucking rock star, go be one. People don't want to see the guy next door on stage; they want to see a being from another planet." —the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

"Fuck it — it's rock & roll! There's two kinds of music — music you like and music you don't like." —Revolver

"I never said [speed] was a good idea for you. I said that I liked it. I've seen people go nuts behind it, but I've also seen people take it and not die. If it's between heroin and speed, I'd say, "Take speed!" But actually I'd say, if you don't need either of them, don't do either of them. I don't recommend any drugs, man." —Revolver

"[Motörhead have] always done the same thing, because the original idea was a good one." —Revolver

"This entire generation seems to have become pussies, you know? Nobody seems to enjoy themselves much anymore.They are all knocking each other down for enjoying themselves." —interview with David L. Wilson

"We are Motörhead, and we play rock & roll." —at the beginning of every show