Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister: 'I've been screwing since I was 15.'
Hard rock heroes Motörhead make an extremely rare Tampa Bay performance Tuesday at the Ritz in Ybor City.
“I don’t think we have ever been to Tampa,” singer-songwriter-bassist Lemmy Kilmister said during a recent interview. “If we did, it was a long time ago, on a tour with Ozzy (Osbourne) or something.”
Few men — if any — are more qualified to discuss sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll than Kilmister. The 63-year-old cracked the Top 10 on Maxim’s “Living Legends of Sex” list, has never stopped partying and owns a Grammy.
When the British rock icon answered the phone at his Los Angeles home late in the afternoon, he sounded like he just stumbled out of bed. Affable and candid, Kilmister often punctuated his ribald responses with a raspy, swashbuckler’s chuckle.
When not stuck doing interviews, what do you do on a typical day off?
If I go out, I chase women. If I stay in, I phone them up.
What did you learn from your days as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix?
I learned that you didn’t have to be wild all the time. Hendrix would tear you a new a--hole on stage. But then be well-mannered afterwards.
Hendrix was also quite the ladies man. Did you pick up any techniques from him?
No, but I got some of the leftovers.
Maxim had you at No. 8 on its 2006 list of “Living Sex Legends,” claiming you have been with 1,200 women. Does that number sound about right?
It’s more like 1,000 probably. But, man, I mean I’m 63, right? I’ve been screwing since I was 15. I haven’t been married ever. So, y’know, that’s pretty reasonable after that many years.
Do you find that age 63 your libido has mellowed at all — or is it business as usual?
A little bit, but I can still crack the whip if I have to.
If a woman in the audience wants to get your attention, and maybe meet you later backstage, what’s the best method?
Flashing the (breasts) is always a good one. That stands out from the rest — in more ways than one. I mean, waving isn’t going to do it.
What’s your pre-show ritual these days?
We don’t have one. We just sit around and then when it’s time we walk out on stage. There’s no prayers or dancing around a fire, I’ll tell you that.
How do you relax after a show?
I have a drink. And I have a drink before the show, too. I can do that. Some people can’t.
You have been open about your past drug use, particularly your penchant for speed. Do you dabble in drugs at all these days?
Pretty much not.
But you believe in the legalization of drugs — even the hard stuff.
The reason I said you should legalize heroin is because it’s out of control. Locking people up is definitely not working. There’s more heroin on the streets now than when the (war on drugs) started.
Ace of Spades is one of the all-time great rock songs. Do you still get a kick out of performing it and watching the audience head-bang themselves crazy?
It’s not the same kick, but it’s there. We’ve been doing that song a long time, since 1980, so it wears off but I’m still glad we got famous for a good song. You could be stuck playing a f---ing turkey the rest of your life, couldn’t you?
How was it finally winning a Grammy in 2005 (in the Best Metal Performance category for a rendition of Metallica’s Whiplash)?
They managed to stick the knife in at the same time as giving us the award. They didn’t give it to us for one of our songs, y’know? They gave it to us for a cover version. Obviously, they still hadn’t listened to any Motörhead.
Did you at least have some fun at the ceremony?
Well, it was pretty awful. Heavy metal people get their awards in the afternoon. No red carpet. Nothing. They bring us in the back way.
What’s the craziest lie you have read about yourself?
I was dead once — no, dead twice. I had an obituary run in the back of a French magazine. And then there was a rumor I was bisexual on the Internet. So I called the guy up. I said “You are going to go and get some new software for your computer or you’re going to get a screwdriver to both your knees.” He seemed to see the point. There was a retraction posted the next day.
How often do you get on the computer?
I don’t have one. They’re great fun. No doubt. But if I got one I’d never get out of the house.
What’s the best thing about being Lemmy?
Probably the best thing about being Lemmy is not working in the factory anymore. And, let’s see, not being an ugly woman is good, too. There are plenty of worsts.
If rock ’n’ roll wouldn’t have worked out, what do you see yourself doing?
A bank robber. A f---ing burglar.
— Wade Tatangelo