Lemmy’s Darlings

From: Metal Hammer

Louder Than Noise… Live In Berlin is Motörhead’s latest, posthumously released live album, which shows again for what this band stood: maximum energy. And this is the reason to remember Lemmy Kilmister’s legendary equipment on this tour and how it worked out with the always, high decibels.

lemmys darlings

Here we are in Berlin on December 5th, 2012 at the Velodrom. The most legendary threesome in rock music is playing in our capital and is filling the huge arena with 12.000 people without any problem. No doubt, in this fall, Motörhead are the stars of the hour.

The European tour is one of the most successful in the band’s history. All over are masses of fans, they are jostling to get in to see the primeval rock trio on stage. The support is pretty cool, too. Anthrax with their guitar hero Scott Ian are playing 45 minutes with full throttle and they are getting the Veldodrom charged up and on operating temperature.

But the bosses in the ring are Motörhead – starting with “I Know How To Die” from their back then latest album “The Wörld Is Yours” (2011) and ended with the unbreakable “Killed By Death”, “Ace Of Spades “and of course, “Overkill”. The concert for Louder Than Noise was recorded and left no one doubting that only full throttle was the marching order. The equipment is visible ‘distributed’ on stage: as we are used to it, the imposing Marshall towers with legendary amps ‘Murder One’- which wrote history already.

Whoever needs to understand Lemmy and his musical claim should remember the beginning of his career. It started with Hawkwind, founder and pioneers of the so-called Space Rock. Their (only and) biggest hit was Silver Machine. It looked like a point landing when Lemmy joined Hawkwind. The headstrong Brit, who worked as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix , entered the band in 1972, exactly at that very moment when Silver Machine turned to be a long runner in the radio. Lemmy thought he would be the successor for the guitar player Hue Lloyd Langton but band boss Dave Brock decided to play this part himself and left the bass to Lemmy.

“I just basically learned how to play the bass on stage during the concerts” Lemmy told the story about his first bass playing experiences. “Dave just yelled something like play E and I just did it. I didn’t own a bass at this time. My predecessor was stupid enough to forget his Rickenbacker in the tour bus and I just took him and played with it.“

The fans loved the way Lemmy played the bass where he could not deny his origin as a guitar player (as Danny Harvey also said when they played in his rockabilly side project HeadCat) “His bass playing was close to the playing of a rhythm guitar player, Lemmy was able to unify two instruments in one. With him playing the bass and Slim Jim on drums we were sounding like a gigantic rock band”

What was Lemmy’s most notable sentence: “We are Motörhead and we play rock’n’roll”. No heavy metal! And no punk! Just simple rock’n’roll – short-sleeved and loud, hardly any ballads and only once in a while (1998 Snake Bite Love) fine tuned with keyboards. No wonder you couldn’t find any heavy metal record when you would ask Lemmy about his favorite tunes.

Down to earth was Motörhead’s music and the equipment traditional. Since 1976 Lemmy trusted his legendary Marshall JMP Superbass II 100 Watt ’Murder One’ top piece. Based on this, Marshall gave him in 2008 the 100 Watt 1992 LEM signature super bass head with 4 EL34 end and three ECC83 preamp tubes, two channels and a three way sound regulation. Something similar was also done for his Rickenbacker signature bass 4004LK. A very noble and rare instrument with a corpse made out of walnut, maple neck and rosewood fretboard, 20 bunch, inclusive golden hardware and Rickenbacker humbucker pickups.

lemmys gear


Because the production was very limited Lemmy didn’t like it:” I had this damn thing already seven years before Rickenbacker decided to build some more. And then they only produced 60 pieces and sold only via internet. Of course, everything was sold out after 4 weeks. But in order to produce new ones, they just stopped it. Really smart! Do you know how much you had to pay for the last one? 18.000 Dollar at Ed Roman Guitars, West Harmon Ave, Las Vegas. A total crazy amount only because there was nothing available. Would they have produced more, prices wouldn’t have been so astronomic”.

Lemmy liked the quality of his main basses: Rickenbacker 4001, 4003 and 4004. “I love the neck and the body”. These two criteria were the most important things for him when buying a new one. Everything else you can modify, he said, better pick up’s, better strings, better mechanics, better electric and high quality boxes (of course, Marshall 4-12” and 4×15” cabinets) “Many years most of the basses looked like copies of Fender or Gibson. Totally unimaginative!” he was growling. “Rickenbacker are totally independent and therefore perfect for me who took the turn from being a guitar player now being a bass player”

Lemmy was not only an unusual musician, he was also an idiosyncratic person who hated nothing more than stupid questions asked by bad informed journalists. One of the problems was he was much keener talking about German history, Scandinavian royalties or British tax government – last one always in fight with him or vice versa.

Whoever would interrupt while he was talking about historical coherence could be almost sure to leave the interview. In London Lemmy interrupted an interview with a Spanish journalist because of his “totally stupid’ questions, took some hundred pound from the responsible promoter and just left. Why do you need the money he was asked: “for a visit at the strip club”

motorhead german charts 4


Everyone was flabbergasted but Lemmy didn’t care. “Most people you meet are too stupid for me”, he told end of the 90’s a Metal Hammer journalist and I am very short fused with stupid men. I like women much more. I really would like to have female friends as real friends, they feel and think much deeper. In America there are supposed to be these female types and they are supposed to be much more sensitive. But in reality they are worse and behave like women without tits. They remind me of people who constantly apologize that they weren’t born black. They are bleating the whole day: sorry, sorry that I am alive. My opinion is pretty easy: I was born with a dick, this is not my fault. I have this thing in my trousers – what could I do? Lemmy was an original for sure – our Lemmy! I hope he will rest in peace with utmost volume!