|Lemmy, Motorhead & Dave Brock
A new DVD in the Classic Albums series has just been released, and it's not about Hawkwind, but about
"Motorhead - Ace of Spades"...
It says on the DVD's back cover blurb: "...¦though Lemmy's roots were in the progressive space rock
band Hawkwind, he chose to amplify the heavy biker rock elements with the speed of punk when he
formed Motorhead." And Motorhead, specifically Motorhead in 1980, is what this DVD is concerned with,
seeing as it's about the Ace Of Spades album.
But there are some Hawkwind elements strewn about the place, and the first of these comes along early,
with the DVD giving us a taste of Lemmy's time with Hawkwind, in Chapter 3. This features interview
segments over a lengthy clip from the BBC's 1972 filming of "Silver Machine", live at Dunstable
Queensway Hall on 7th July 1972. It starts out with Lemmy briefly explaining his early musical career and
shortcomings as a guitarist, leading up to the statement "And then I ended up in Hawkwind...¦"
Lemmy: "DikMik played a ring modulator. We called it an audio generator 'cos we were so hip, you
know. I met him 'cos we shared a common enthusiasm for, shall we say 'Buck-You-Up-Oh'!"
Dave Brock: "DikMik used to go off drinking with Lemmy and no doubt taking their powders that they
used to take, quite a lot then! And he came along one day and said he'd got this fantastic bass player who
should play with us, but he had no bass."
Lemmy: "The bass player, he never showed up for free concerts, and this was one of them. He'd left his
bass in the van, like, you know, 'please steal my gig.' So I stole his gig. (Sings:) 'Destiny, Destiny, Can't
avoid it, that's for me...¦' I don't know really, I think it was just dumb luck...¦"
Dave Brock: "I remember the one where we couldn't go on stage because we all took LSD. We had to
keep on saying 'We can't possibly go on yet', you know.
Lemmy: "We were all tripping all the time, see. Somebody would go off into some jazz improvisation of
his own every night. We used to spike the entire audience, we used to run out with with droppers, and
throw them into the crowd. I was the last nutter, if you like. I was always the one who did the wrong
drugs, you know, I didn't do the designer drugs, I did the street stuff. And so I was massively unpopular
Dave Brock: "Nik Turner, who was our
saxophonist, called a band meeting and said 'Look,
we've got to sort this out. Lemmy's always late for
planes, always staying up late and taking his speed,
all this sort of thing. We've got to make a big
decision here, I think we should get rid of him.â€™
So we all had our vote, and -how many were in the
band, six I think- it was about four to two, so that
was it. A year later they tried to sack me from the
band, you know!" (Laughs)
Lemmy: "Yeah, I went round and got three of their
old ladies before they came back." (Grins) Actually,
before the tour I was already doing one of them...
Well, it was only fair, innit, really...¦ You know, they robbed me of my entire livelihood and I only robbed
them of one night with their old lady, and they weren't there anyway, so...¦"
Lemmy: "But (what) I had -the only time I ever had it in my life- was complete telepathy with Dave Brock."
Dave Brock: "Yeah, a magic between us, yeah. Some of the best periods were with Lemmy in the band,
Lemmy: "There's nobody better, you know. Nobody. And I had a great time playing with Dave, I would
never have left the band in a thousand years if they hadn't fired me. So they probably did me a favour."
Dave Brock: "Actually, it got him on the road to forming Motorhead: at the end of the day, he's sort of
fought through all the crap and come out the other end, you know."
Lemmy: "I had to form my own band to stop getting fired. I got fired out of the three bands I was in
before Hawkwind, 'cos I wanted to be at the front, you know."
The chapter ends with a cutover from 1972's Silver
Machine to an excerpt of Hawkwind's 1975
recording of "Motorhead" (though oddly it's the Dave
Brock remix version rather than the original version
that featured Lemmy's vocals). This is played in
accompaniment to blurry still shots of Lemmy
silhouetted in front of clouds of fog (dry ice)
coloured by stage lights: almost certainly of early
Motorhead vintage since there doesn't seem to be any
Hawkwind footage from this era floating around.
Lemmy: "...¦ It (Motorhead) was a song I wrote for
Hawkwind, the last song I wrote for them. It was on
the B-side of 'Kings Of Speed', funny enough!"
Dave Brock: "That was the American name for a speed freak, wasn't it, Motorhead?"
That's it for Hawkwind content in the main part of the DVD, but there's a raft of bonus material included,
and the first interesting snippet is in Chapter 3 which is simply called "Lemmy":-
Dave Brock: "The young Lemmy...¦well, we got on wonderfully well. I used to share a room with him,
you see, on tours, there's so many different stories that I could tell. Yeah, I like Lemmy, he was a great
character you know. Yeah, we were both of us pretty loud, I mean, I'm a bit deaf in my right ear, you
know, because I used to have a big stack. Probably Lemmy's a bit deaf, I should imagine, by now. Well,
you must know, did you shout at him when you interviewed him?!" (Laughs)
In Chapter 4 ("Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll") Dave opens proceedings with this:
Dave Brock: "Well there was lots of different times, I mean lots of strange times where he used to fall
asleep with his eyes open, you know. 'Cos I used to share a hotel room with him when we were touring the
States and all that...¦ And many's the time I thought he's conked out on his bed, with his eyes open. We're
going 'Lemmy, Lemmy, wake up!' (laughs) and his eyes'll be wide open. '˜Huh, what...¦what?', you know!
'Come on, we've got to leave, we've got to catch a plane... 'Oh right, I'll be down in a minute.' And I'd go
downstairs and have my breakfast, and all the band will be waiting, you know, and I said 'Well, I've woken
him up, he'll be down in a minute,' and we'd send up one of our tour managers to go and get him, you
know, and Lemmy would be crashed out again, and time would be getting...¦everybody would be getting
agitated 'cos we were going to miss the flight, and...¦he eventually got it together to come down, you
Lemmy: "Oh yeah, in Cleveland two different lots of
hippies spiked us with Angel Dust, the whole band.
And we were on stage, and (mimes looking at a
guitar) 'What's this? All right, it makes a noise,
good!' Apparently the gigs were all right, you
know. We spiked all the food and drink in the
Roundhouse once. They were (all) doing the same
twitch, it was really odd seeing six hundred people
going...¦" (mimes drug-induced tic). You see that,
you know you've made an impression!"
"We used to lock the doors so people couldn't get
out. And we had five strobes on the crowd at eye
level, not on us: we were in the dark. These strobes ,
were at the low blink which is the dangerous one. This is how clever the English are with technology - they
passed a law that you couldn't have it over a certain number of blinks, but it's the low one that fucks you up,
you know. We used to give people epileptic fits, and DikMik would come across with the tambourine, you
know...¦ 'The blond one!' (he'd say) (Lemmy mimes fiddling with the audio generator's subsonics)...¦ and
down they'd go. It was very irresponsible. But then you are, you know you can get away with it. Yeah, it
was very interesting really. 'Cos you see, we didn't know everybody was going to die. Because nobody had
really died then, and there was a lot of junkies around then, and they weren't really our scene, we were doing
acid and smoking dope mostly, so that was it...¦"
Dave Brock: "We were in our van and we got
stopped by the police - I think he took a load of
speed and downers at the same time, he was all over
the place, couldn't stand up, was falling over, you
know we had to tie him to his bed, actually, it was
one of those big wooden old-fashioned beds. I think
we tied him to the bed with some sheets and I had to
phone up a mate of his and say 'Look, Lemmy's
really...¦what can we do, what should we do?' And
he said 'Oh, just keep him quiet, he'll get over it', 'cos
his consumption of drugs at the time was quite
huge. So he got over that all right."
To refer now to Michael Heatley's sleeve notes:
Lemmy's "...¦career was all but written off by the
after he was sacked by Hawkwind, the last straw a 1975 drug bust at the Canadian border." The DVD goes
on to explore this subject in greater depth, with Chapter 6 of the bonus material being entitled "Lemmy
Leaves Hawkwind - Full Story".
Lemmy: "We were driving through Michigan, to get to Detroit. And we stopped at the roadhouse in Niles,
Michigan to get a meal or something. And I wasn't, you know, hungry, 'cos I'm a speedfreak, right. So I
went off for a wander, and I came back and they'd gone - without me. Left me there. And I was tripping
as well. So now I'm hitchhiking across Michigan, you know...¦and it's dark too, and the people who are
picking me up are, like, VW buses full of frickin' hippies who made it even worse, giving me drugs to
smoke. Get out again at a truck stop...¦get a lift from a homosexual fucking trucker...¦ 'You're from
England, huh? I'd like to suck your dick right now...¦' 'Ah, well, I'll just get out here then', you know. And
I get to Detroit at seven in the morning: I get to the hotel, and imagine: I'm winding down off acid, right -
had a very traumatic journey...¦ The hotel has a convention of cripples - so there's wheelchairs and like
umpty (waves imaginary stump) everywhere and I'm like, you know...¦ (See photo below!) So I finally get
up to my room at about seven-thirty, eight o'clock. I
sleep for about five hours and then there's a
soundcheck. Get out to the soundcheck.
Everybody, you know, 'Glad you made it'. Do the
show. Thunderous applause. Woke up at seven
o'clock the next morning to go to Canada. Got some
pills and some powders, stuck 'em down my pants,
right. Supposed to go over the bridge - went under
the tunnel. Bad move. Instant skin search and they
found it all, you know."
Dave Brock: "He was in our car. What happened
was, Doug Smith, who was our manager at the time,
said 'Make sure you don't have any drugs as you go
across the Canadian border.' 'OK' everybody said,
got rid of everything. Lemmy had crashed out in the
front seat -he always used to sit in the front seat of the car, you know- and he was asleep there with his
mouth open (drooling, unfortunately!) as we went through the customs, and they saw him: they thought
'Ah, we'll get that lot out', you know. And unfortunately they found what they thought was some cocaine,
which was speed that Lemmy had stashed in his, er, pocket, you know. And of course he was immediately
pulled, and we all got searched and sent on our way, and they kept him there at the border, until they
Lemmy: " 'OK buddy, this is cocaine, you're going to jail'. It wasn't, you know, it was speed. And in the
great way of Canadian courts, god bless them, it was thrown out, because it was a wrongful charge, yeah?
And they don't recharge you over there. Because they know it's illegal, what you've got, they just got it
wrong. Where in England they'd just arrest you outside the court and take you back in, you know? They
don't do that in Canada, so I got away with it. And I get to the frickin' gig, and I found out later that they
only flew me to the gig and got me out of jail because the replacement couldn't get there in time. So I get
there and everyone's all bonhomie, you know, and we go on stage - thunderous applause - four o'clock in
the morning, and I'm fired...¦"