Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister feels effect of age 

click to enlarge Lemmy Kilmister
  • courtesy photo
  • Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister, right, is rebounding from recent health scares, including an irregular heartbeat.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Men do not quit playing because they grow old — they grow old because they quit playing.” No one understands the concept better than Lemmy Kilmister, frontman for the legendary British outfit Motörhead and subject of two excess-documenting films, “Lemmy” and “Live Fast Die Old.” At 67, he has been on the ropes lately. He reportedly suffered a hematoma, an irregular heartbeat required he be fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, and he’s also dealing with diabetes-related kidney issues. “It’s a long walk back, but I’m getting back to it,” he says, ready to play the Warfield this weekend, backing Motörhead’s skull-splitting new comeback “Aftershock.”

What wisdom have you acquired in your nearly four decades with Motörhead? None at all! Ha! Well, I’ve learned a thing or two about my health that I didn’t before. And I know about the ins and outs of the record business, although I’m not very technical. But I can see through the bulls---, and I can see through details — I can get to the end of a problem a lot quicker than some people I know. And my motto is, “Do as you would be done by.” That’s one of the oldest ones, and it’s the best one.

But after a betrayal, your first instinct is to seek revenge, right? Oh, yeah, by all means. “Do as you would be done by, or I’ll gut you, you f---er!” But I don’t recommend scrapping because it’s pointless, you know. If you fight somebody, if you knock them down, it doesn’t mean you’ve changed their point of view. They’ll probably believe in their version of things even more after that. Plus, there’s always some other chap who’ll come along and tie you in knots!

You used to sneer at death, song after song. Yeah, well, I’ve been in the hospital twice this year. So I understand it a bit better now. And I finally had to give up drinking, and smoking, too. I’m just drinking wine now, if anything. And I’ve got a physiotherapist who comes over every couple of days and puts me through my exercises. Up to 40, you think you’re indestructible, the immortal man. But you’re not.

You’re playing your own Mötorboat Cruise show this fall. Wouldn’t that be kind of scary, trapped on a ship full of superfans? Yeah. And I can’t swim, either! But the Beatles did all that years ago. There were two ferryboats in Liverpool called the Royal Iris and the Royal Daffodil, and they’d go out with full crews but with bands playing on them.



Where: Warfield, 982 Market St., S.F.

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Tickets: $37.50 to $49.50

Contact: (415) 345-0900,

About The Author

Tom Lanham

Pin It

Speaking of...

More by Tom Lanham

Latest in Pop Music & Jazz

© 2019 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation