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Music

From the Archives: Lemmy Kilmister: What really gets his motor running

Lemmy Kilmister

Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister of Motorhead.

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Editor’s note: Lemmy Kilmister has died at the age of 70. The following is a Times article from the paper’s former “My Favorite Weekend” series. It was first published on May 26, 2010.

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Ah, to be a single-name star, those anointed ones for whom no further identification is necessary. There’s Elvis, there’s Marilyn, there’s Kobe — and then there’s Lemmy.

Motorhead’s indefatigable frontman, Lemmy Kilmister, is being honored for his long and illustrious music career on VH1 Classic’s “Revolver Magazine’s Golden Gods Award,” airing this week, where he’ll also perform a killer version of “Ace of Spades” with Lemmy fans Slash and Dave Grohl. He’s also working on a new album and beginning a world tour.

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“For 36 years now, we’ve always been busy doing something,” said the L.A. resident. “And now I’m the only original member. But I was fired out of every other band I was ever in, so I had to start my own group. They couldn’t fire me out of that.”

Over the Rainbow

“One of the best places for food in town is the Rainbow Bar and Grill. I recommend the spicy chicken strips. I think the first time I went in there it was 1973, a year or so after it opened, and I was with Hawkwind. I think I had a steak. But you can get anything you like there, even if it’s not on the menu.

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“It’s just one of those great places in L.A., with a lot of history. If they ever close it down it will be an absolute sin. Joe DiMaggio met Marilyn Monroe there, you know. On a blind date. I think it was an Italian restaurant then.”

Venue lowdown

“Most of the clubs I used to go to to listen to music are gone now, but I still like the Roxy and the Whisky. I enjoy playing at the House of Blues. It’s a good-sounding room.

“And then there’s the Wiltern, which is a great-sounding room. And last time we played the Nokia, which is really good as well. The Palladium has pretty bad sound. All that wood paneling, you know.”

Leisure pursuits

“For breakfast, I think I’d just stay at my house. I’d probably have some cereal. Or I’d wait until lunch time and go up to the Rainbow again. It’s pretty close to me.

“Then maybe I’d go to Amoeba to look around. They’ve always got some rare stuff there, that’s what keeps them going all these years. My old favorites are all the old guys: Little Richard, Elvis, Fats Domino.

“I don’t really exercise. I’m not even a walker. You always hear about people dropping dead all the time all around the hills of L.A. I’m sedentary. I got over the idea of jogging very early. I don’t know why people persist. They’re always red in the face, sloggin’ up the hill, on their last gasp.”

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Night on the town

“For a good bar, I like Three Clubs in Hollywood. It’s got a nice dark bar, lots of wood and leather. I always order Jack and Coke. I also like Cheetahs, which is a strip club with a pool table. Having [breasts] around is never a bad thing when you’re playing pool, you know?

“Even if you lose, you have a consolation prize. And Jumbo’s Clown Room is really good too. It’s got to be the greatest name ever. I mean, who’s the clown, right?”


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