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December 28th, 2015, was a shitty day for rock & roll. That was the date Motörhead bassist, vocalist and all-around mastermind Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister left this earthly plane — just four days after his 70th birthday. And while Motörhead were obviously one of the greatest bands of all time, Lemmy was so much more than a musician or frontman. With a Jack-and-Coke in one hand and a smoke in the other, he could hold forth on anything from the Beatles (whom he actually saw live) and Jimi Hendrix (for whom he roadied and scored acid) to World War II (he was something of an expert on the subject) and life in general. All with incisive wit, humor and zero fucks given.
To commemorate the passing of this one-of-a-kind human, we reached out to musicians who knew and/or admired him. We rang up Yeti Bones of rap-punk duo Ho99o9 after spotting a 2018 post on their Twitter account that read, "I don't always listen to Motörhead, but when I do, my neighbors do, too."
BEING FAMILIAR WITH YOUR MUSICAL TASTE, I'M GUESSING THAT TWITTER POST WAS YOU ...
YETI BONES [Laughs] Absolutely.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE SITUATION THAT INSPIRED IT?
You've been to our house, so you know we live in a pretty chill neighborhood. But the walls here are paper-thin. I can hear people talking; I'll hear somebody take out the trash — all kinds of shit. I play music all the time, and I try to be respectful of everybody — but come like Friday or Saturday, I'll just blast shit. I don't care. I'll work out in my room, just blasting shit, and then go for a run. That particular day I was listening to Motörhead.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO MOTÖRHEAD?
I was working at a Poland Springs warehouse back in New Jersey, before I moved to L.A. I was already into punk stuff like GBH and Bad Brains, but I hadn't really got into the metal stuff yet. I didn't really talk about what I was into because I didn't want to be looked at as the weird black kid or whatever. But there was this board that listed all the workers and their hobbies, where each person said what they liked to do. Everybody's stuff was like "play golf" or "riding bikes," but this one dude — a driver — put, "I like to spend time with my family and listen to heavy metal."
So I approached this dude and was like, "Yo, I read your thing. What metal bands are you into?" He told me Exodus, Anthrax and Motörhead — which was one of those bands where I'd seen the name a bunch, but I'd never really dug in. So I told him about all the punk stuff I was into, like Cro-Mags and Bad Brains. He knew about that stuff, so there was a connection there. So I went and checked out Motörhead, and the first song that came up was a live version of "Ace of Spades," and that shit just blew me away. But my favorite song off that album is "The Hammer."
I'm a nerd, so when I get into something, I dig deep and try to find out everything I can. So I listened to all this Motörhead stuff and learned that the Cro-Mags had opened for them, and they had this crowd that combined the punks and the metal kids, which nobody really had at the time. I thought that was sick.
DID YOU EVER SEE MOTÖRHEAD LIVE?
I didn't. The year Lemmy passed, they were supposed to play Download Fest, and we were on the same bill. I was planning to go see them then, but we never got to. Another time we got this venue in Europe, and they had played the night before. So I never got a chance.
YOU'VE SEEN INTERVIEWS WITH LEMMY, THOUGH. WHAT WAS YOUR IMPRESSION OF HIM?
Very outspoken and genuine. He just tells it how it is and doesn't sugarcoat it. He didn't give a fuck how you feel or what your opinion was. That's what I liked about him and the band the most — the attitude. They were loud, raw and in your face. When your attitude matches your music like that, it's lovely.
Another thing I appreciate about Lemmy: You never saw the man in sweatpants. He was always wearing boots and skinny jeans. I like to look good on and off stage, too, so I like that. You never saw him chilling in an Adidas sweatshirt or some shit. My man was suited and booted. He looked fucking good, and I like that. That's rock & roll. It's like, "This is my life. We're balls to the wall. Gimme a Jack-and-Coke, and let's do this." That's what I loved about him.