This Saturday evening in Hollywood, the funeral takes place of Ian Kilmister, a 70 year old man from Staffordshire.
(If the name sounds unfamiliar, you would probably know him better as just plain Lemmy).
In a fitting tribute to the man and his maverick approach to life, the funeral is being streamed live to enable his many fans around the world to be part of the occasion and raise a final glass to his memory.
I first encountered Lemmy at a music festival when I was much younger. On that day, he burst onto the stage with his Motorhead bandmates and rudely jolted the festival goers out of their mid-afternoon torpor with a loud and raucous performance.
I can’t remember who came before or after them on the bill that day, but I can guarantee that their guitars would not have been played any louder, nor would their vocals have been any raspier. Motorhead’s sound was unique.
Their effect on the crowd could best be described as polarising.
In front of me, near the stage, there was a crowd of leather-clad bikies, going bezerk. Behind me, were a group of more mainstream fans who decided to pelt the bikies with beer cans, some of them full. This wasn’t very well received.
A full scale beer-can battle then ensued as this young concert-goer took cover in the no man’s land between the two warring factions.
Meanwhile, the band played on and I dare say Lemmy would have enjoyed the reaction he was causing.
A while later, he burst back into my conscious via a guest spot on cult TV show The Young Ones, belting out ‘Ace of Spades’ in the anarchic flatmates’ kitchen. Another suitably discordant appearance.
Since then, by all accounts, he has continued to live life to the full until losing a short (but doubtless violent) struggle with cancer just after Christmas.
I read recently about the reason why he was kicked out of his previous band Hawkwind, back in the freewheeling 70s. Officially it was for (being caught) doing drugs, but in his words, it was for doing the ‘wrong type’ of drugs. As always, he refused to compromise.
In today’s world of characterless, often over-manufactured music ‘stars’, Lemmy remained a true individual to the last. He will be missed.
RIP Lemmy, I salute you.