35 years since the inception of Motorhead and just over 30 years since the inception of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, it is incredible how Lemmy has become such a revered figure- not just with a genre that he is synonymous with, but also with many young fans, and most importantly, artistes from at least two successive rock generations.
This was also an observation which a Motorhead fan did during the press launch, something which pleased the directors Oliver Gregg and Wes Orshoski. Lemmy The Film does indeed focus on this aspect and artistes like Alice Cooper, Dave Grohl, Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, Slash and even Lemmy’s own son play a very important role in this documentary.
The “living embodiement of a rock and roll lifestyle” as aptly described by the film’s promoters, Lemmy Kilminster, who should soon turn 65, has indeed made traditional rock and roll a career and a lifestyle for almost 50 years. The documentary, which thankfully is not chronological and predictable, does however point out to his early years, both as a member of The Rocking Vickers, when he was still a youth living in Northern Wales, to his years with Hawkwind. He was with this band when they scored a huge hit with Silver Machine back in 1972. However, as expected, Lemmy focuses considerably on his years with Motorhead, the relationship he had with the other members of the band, particularly with Fast Eddie Clark (who sadly did not attend this premiere of this film) and also his work with David Grohl, formerly of Nirvana and the leading figure of Foo Fighters. The accolades Grohl gives Lemmy are quite interesting, as are the references from Slash, CC Deville (of Poison), Dave Mustaine and also Lars Ulrich from Metallica. Indeed, the latter four talents stated that if it were not for Motorhead, American Heavy Metal may have probably taken a very different stand. This is understandable, since Motorhead, as well as a few other British bands from the aforementioned NWOBHM, managed to inject the tenacity and audacity of punk and yet retained the heavy riffs influences and blues spirits that always dominated this genre.
The insert of the band smashing up furniture and ridiculing an interviewer from the British press points out to their rebellious spirit. There are also some very good features about their concerts, with the recent Moscow leg, which formed part of a recent Russian Tour being an example of an old band exposing its appeal to a new, exciting, mostly young crowd. Lemmy also shows his human side. This documentary features his childhood, and a broken family, thanks a father who abandoned his wife and child. Lemmy’s reaction, as one may well expect is predictable! Despite his looks and also his heavy drinking, the one-time drug abuser has also become a staunch campaigner against drugs. Perhaps the incident involving a former girlfriend, who was found dead in a bathroom, from heroine abuse, back in 1976, may have provided a turning point in his career. He also states that he never married, and also has two children, one of whom he cannot see, since he lost contact with his mother. Lemmy, however does get along very well with the other son who is also a rock musician. Thankfully, Lemmy does not delve too much into his love for Nazi memorabilia, (another documentary sadly put a bit of emphasis on that).
Lemmy also fondly describes his love for The Beatles (whom he saw them perform in concert) and also Little Richard, another significant other, whom he also met, (and blessed too). Oliver Gregg and Wes Orshoski may have taken four years to complete this documentary. However, it does go a long way to give a very good picture (as well as dispelling some myths) about Lemmy’s life and times. Yet, it ought to have added Motorhead’s collaboration with Girlschool, (who were also present in the film launch) as well as the collaboration that the band did with another rebel, the late Wendy O. Williams of The Plasmatics.