Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Goodbye, Lemmy, Last Folk Hero

Presumably just like millions of other Motorhead fans, Disaster Amnesiac was saddened, but not exactly shocked at the news of Lemmy Kilmister's death on 12/29/2015. The reports coming from this year's tour cycle seemed to presage some drastic change for him (retire? yeah......right!).
I've spent a few days mulling it over, and my conclusion is this: Lemmy was the last 20th Century Folk Hero, and possibly the last real Folk Hero ever. Seeing the outpouring of love for him, from all over the Pop Culture spectrum, deems it so for me.
EVERYONE loved Lemmy, and, really, why not? He was honest and sincere: he loved to rock, he loved to party, he loved to make love. He made no bones about anyone of this, and, to paraphrase one Facebook pal, he did so under an unwavering ethos of personal accountability. He never gave off any bullshit, nor did he come across with the grody, passive-aggresive/sadistic vibes of so many in the music industry. He called it like he saw it, and in an incredibly honest, and heartfelt way.
Take for example his relationship with the Ramones. No less an authority than Joe Carducci opined that the Brudders from Queens had beaten Lemmy to the aesthetic punch that he desired by a year or so. Far from being snarky and weird about it, Lemmy wrote a song praising their genius! It's this kind of supportive, non-egotistical attitude that made people love him, surely. I also always marveled at the variety of bands that Motorhead played with: Metal, Punk, Stoner, Rock....Motorhead defied genre and just hung with any type of band, and I suspect that all were better for it.
Disaster Amnesiac saw Motorhead live twice, and both times Kilmister's presence was very much at center, but never forced or ridiculous. He was just there rocking for the people, and he was a star without even trying to be one.
It seems rather unlikely that a persona as blunt, forthright, and honest could ever emerge from the morass of politically schmoozed movements that now make up popular culture. Lemmy Kilmister, the Last Folk Hero, emerged at just the right time to take that mantle, and I suspect that he took it with him to the grave.
Now, people...go and enjoy some Motorhead, Hawkwind, Rockin' Vickers, or Sam Gopal. Lord knows Lemmy did.

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