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1. Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister (born Ian Fraiser Kilmister, December 24, 1945, also known as Ian Fraiser Willis, Lemmy the Lurch or "God") is an English bass player and singer. He is known primarily as the founding member and leader of the heavy metal band Motörhead. His unmistakable appearance, with his facial totem moles, sideburn to moustache connection (now known universally as "The Lemmy"), and gravelly voice have made him a cult figure known well beyond the world of rock music.
Lemmy was born in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and raised in Anglesey, Wales. His father, a clergyman, left the family when Lemmy was three months old; the experience helped to imbue a deep hatred of religion in Lemmy and this is reflected in a number of his songs.
Recording and performing career
1960-1970: Early years
In Stockport, he joined local bands The Rainmakers then The Motown Sect, who enjoyed three years playing northern clubs. Wanting to progress further, in 1965 he joined The Rockin' Vickers who signed a deal with CBS and released three singles and toured Europe, reportedly being the first British band to visit Yugoslavia. With the band living in a Manchester flat, he had a relationship with a girl named Tracy who bore him a son, Paul, although it would not be until the boy was 6 that Lemmy had any involvement with the child.
Wanting to progress even further, Lemmy relocated to London in 1967. Sharing a flat with Noel Redding, he got a job as a roadie for The Jimi Hendrix Experience. In 1968 he joined Sam Gopal and recorded the album Escalator and the single "Horse". After meeting Simon King in a Chelsea shopping centre during 1969, he joined the band Opal Butterfly, but the band soon folded, having previously failed to raise enough interest with their preceding CBS singles.
At this point Lemmy thought about changing his legal name to his stepfather's surname of Willis, but with his actual father's surname of Kilmister, he decided changing his birth certificate and passport would be too much hassle, so did not bother. An attempted reconciliation in 1970 between Lemmy and his birth father broke down, with Lemmy describing him as a "nasty little weasel".
See also Hawkwind (1970-75: United Artists era)
In 1971, Lemmy joined the space rock band, Hawkwind, who were based in Ladbroke Grove, London. He had no experience as a bass guitarist, but quickly developed a distinctive style that was strongly shaped by his early experience as a rhythm guitarist, often using double stops and chords rather than the single notes preferred by most bassists. His bass work was a fundamental part of the Hawkwind sound during his tenure, perhaps best documented on Space Ritual. He also provided lead vocals on a number of songs, including the band's biggest UK chart single, "Silver Machine", which reached No.3 in 1972.
Main article: Motörhead
In 1975 Lemmy was fired from Hawkwind after he was arrested at Canadian customs on drug possession charges; he spent five days in jail. He went on to form a new band with guitarist Larry Wallis (former member of the Pink Fairies, Steve Took's Shagrat and UFO) and drummer Lucas Fox. Lemmy's connection with Took (formerly of T. Rex) was not limited to Wallis, as they were personal friends and Took was the stepfather to Lemmy's son, Paul. This new band was originally called Bastard. When his manager informed him that a band by that name will never get a slot on "Top of the Pops", Lemmy changed the band's name to Motörhead – the title of the last song Lemmy wrote for Hawkwind.
Soon after, both Wallis and Fox were replaced with guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke and drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, and with this line-up the band began to achieve success. The band's sound appealed to both Lemmy's original fans and, eventually, to fans of the punk rock scene. In fact, he asserts that he generally feels more kinship with punks than with heavy metal; he even played with The Damned for a handful of gigs when they had no regular bassist—and Lemmy's guttural vocals were unique in the world of rock at that time. The band's success peaked between 1980 and 1981 with a number of UK chart hits, including the classic single "Ace of Spades" (still a crowd favourite today) and the #1 live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith. Motörhead have since gone on to become one of the most influential bands in the heavy metal music genre, and although Lemmy is the only constant member, are still performing and releasing records to this day. Despite Motörhead's many member changes over their 35-year history, the current lineup of Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee has remained constant since 1995.
Lemmy has also worked with a number of other musicians over his career, and occasionally guests with Hawkwind. He wrote the song "R.A.M.O.N.E.S" for the Ramones, which he still plays in his live sets as a tribute to the band. He was brought in as a songwriter for Ozzy Osbourne's 1991 No More Tears album, providing lyrics for the tracks "Hellraiser", (which Motörhead would later record themselves and release a single), "Desire", "I Don't Want to Change the World", and the single "Mama I'm Coming Home". Lemmy has noted in several magazine and television interviews that he made more money from the royalties of that one song than he had in his entire time with Motörhead. After being diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes in 2000, which led to a brief hospitalization, Lemmy again appeared with Motörhead at WrestleMania 17. Lemmy published his autobiography, White Line Fever in November 2002. In 2005, Motörhead won their first Grammy in the Best Metal Performance category with their cover of Metallica's "Whiplash". He lives in a two room flat in Los Angeles, two blocks away from his favourite hangout the Rainbow Bar and Grill.
An officially licensed Lemmy figurine has been produced. Available as a "regular" or "special" edition, Lemmy recalls:
I had to stand on this platform while the camera went around and did the hologram thing and then they made the model, only smaller. They said it's an action figure, and I said, 'So, you're gonna put a dick on it?' They said, 'No.' I said, 'Well, then it's not going to get much action then, is it?' A bad name for it, right?
Lemmy appeared as an unlockable character in the game Guitar Hero: Metallica. He also stars as a character in Brütal Legend named Kill Master, whom he voices.
In October 2009 it was announced that he had been involved in recording a cover of "Stand by Me" featuring Lemmy on Vocals and Bass, Dave Lombardo of Slayer on Drums and produced by DJ and Producer, Baron. The song was made for legendary Pro Skateboarder Geoff Rowley.
Lemmy appeared on the song "Doctor Alibi" from Slash's self-titled solo album. The digital downloads of "Doctor Alibi" include the comment "Featuring Lemmy Kilmeister". This comment spells his surname with an 'e' not previously included in the "Kilmister" spelling. It is not known if this was a simple error or an intentional spelling change by the artist. This is untrue, as that is the German spelling of his name that he does infact use, usually when in Germany.[original research?]
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