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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Memories of Lemmy from Motorhead at West Runton Pavilion & UEA LCR

I was very saddened to hear of the sudden death of Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister, singer and bass player from Motorhead (and prior to that Hawkwind & ex-Jimi Hendrix roadie). Lemmy was a true one off in rock 'n' roll and though I don't espouse his former lifestyle, habits or some of his opinions or hobbies, he was really good with & always had time for his fans. I saw the band 3X in the early 1980's, seeing the classic "Kilmister/ Clark/ Taylor" line-up on both the "Bomber" (15th March 1980) & "Ace of Spades" Tours (27th March 1981) both times at West Runton Pavilion- a really excellent venue (bands used to like playing there because of the excellent acoustics) now sadly no longer with us either as it was demolished in 1986; and at the UEA LCR (1st June 1983) on the "Another Perfect Tour". The 1980 show was my first ever concert in seeing a fully professional band. The band were excellent, creating a real impression, which I still remember vividly to this day. It was a sheer visceral thrill, a real spectacle with their fast playing, their sheer presence, with both Lemmy and his guitarist standing 6 foot tall, dressed in black and Lemmy singing up to the microphone set up above & suspended above his head on a mic stand pointing downwards, giving him a unique and distinctive pose. I was right at the front and was barely a few feet away from them. The trio were completed by "Fast" Eddie Clark on guitar, I stood right in front of Eddie and he even handed me his plastic beer cup which I kept for several months afterwards!! Being only 15, it was a real thrill to meet Lemmy and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor (the drummer) at the bar beforehand (Phil Taylor also sadly recently deceased- November 2015), indeed they both duly signed autographs for me and when I was bought a Hamburger, either by my brother or his friend Mark, I didn't want it and so I gave it to Lemmy (who was propped up at the bar next to me!) who said "Thanks Mate!" and promptly ate and slapped me on the back as a thank you! He didn't know his own strength and I careered half way across the floor, Lemmy quickly apologised "Sorry mate" and all was forgiven! The gig was excellent and packed out but ear-splittingly loud, so the space was clear immediately in front of the speakers and where the sound of these speakers met in the middle of the "dance floor". It was so loud that I couldn't hear for 2 days afterwards and my ears continued ringing for a week afterwards. Definitely, the loudest band I have ever heard. The stage was also dominated by a lighting rig suspended over it in the form of a 40 foot long WW2 bomber which suddenly moved into life flashing with lights and the drone of a WW2 bomber when they played the "Bomber" title track. The low ceiling meant this "rig" dominated the area just above the stage. Motorhead, the band, returned the following year for the "Ace of Spades" tour and we were back to see them again this time well prepared complete with toilet tissue rolled up on our ears giving some protection! It was another equally excellent gig playing their classic "Ace of Spades" song. I finally saw them at the UEA on the "Another Perfect Day" tour where "Fast" Eddie Clarke had been replaced by ex- Thin Lizzy guitarist, Brian Robertson, giving them an un-Motorhead-like more melodic feel (which I liked), another really excellent gig. But I shall always treasure memories of that first gig at West Runton. I had recently seen this year's Glastonbury gig by the band and noted that Lemmy didn't look at all well. My condolences to his family, friends and associates.


Anonymous said...

I was at the 1980 West Runton gig, they had a pinball machine at the venue and I was tapped on the shoulder by Lemmy who said "want a game mate?", so I enjoyed a game of pinball with him before the gig.

Peter Ransome said...

Great memory David, thanks for sharing. Thinking about it, I do remember seeing the pinball machine and Lemmy playing on it!