The 4 Punk Rock bands that Lemmy Kilmister said he liked
After years on the road with bands that played early Rock and Roll music and even “Space Rock”, Lemmy Kilmister created Motörhead in 1975. For 40 years, until his death in 2015 at the age of 70, the band kept creating heavy music that was many times labeled as a mix between Heavy Metal and Punk.
That is one of the reasons why they were one of the few Metal groups that were accepted by the Punk fans back in the late 70s. Even though many musicians were not big fans of that movement, Lemmy always embraced the music genre. Rock and Roll Garage selected the 4 Punk Rock bands that the Motörhead leader said over the decades that he liked.
The 4 Punk Rock bands that Lemmy Kilmister said he liked
One of the most influential Punk bands in history, The Ramones were not only one of Lemmy’s favorite Punk bands, but one of his favorite bands of all time. He loved the American group and even paid tribute to them writing a song called “R.A.M.O.N.E.S” that was featured on Motörhead’s 1991 album “1916”.
The band’s vocalist Joey Ramone was also a huge fan of Lemmy’s group and at the time of the release he said that he felt that the song was “the ultimate honor – like John Lennon writing a song for you”. The Ramones also performed the track on and off over the years until their final show in August 1996 at which C.J. Ramone and Lemmy shared lead vocals.
Lemmy Kilmister talked with Spin magazine back in 2009 about the birth of the Punk movement and explained why he loved The Ramones but was not a fan of The Clash. “Like the punks, we just swept all that tedious ’70s Rick Wakeman, artsy-fartsy, yellow bell-bottoms, caftans-and-sandals shit aside.”
“If you hadn’t seen what we looked like, you would have thought we were a punk band. I remember going down to the [London club] Roxy one night just to see what the punk thing was all about. I was standing at the bar. This bush behind me said, ‘I used to sell acid at [Hawkwind’s] all-night shows in King’s Cross.’ And I turned around and it was Johnny Rotten.”
Lemmy Kilmister continued:
“I remembered him. He used to have long hair, with pockets full of drugs. It’s funny, though. I never liked The Clash. They sounded like old music, dressed up as punk. The Ramones were geniuses, though. Joey especially had a nose for rock’n’roll. We were friends, although we weren’t close when he died. I hate to see people on the way out. I prefer to remember him as he was,” Lemmy Kilmister said.
He first met the band face-to-face in 1976 when they went to England for a few shows as he told Stay Thirsty Media in 2007. “I just fell in well with Joey and Dee Dee, you know. Johnny wasn’t so friendly but then he never was. The other two I got on really well with. And, terrible they’re all gone. I couldn’t believe it.”
“I mean, Johnny and Dee went within seven months of each other? Ridiculous. Bang, bang, bang, they’re all gone. I think they kind of died when Dee Dee left, you know, in a way. I think that crippled Joey, because he had no buddies in the band then,” Lemmy Kilmister said.
Lemmy also liked The Sex Pistols, that brought all the rage, politics and social comments to Punk when they released their only studio album, the groundbreaking “Never Mind The Bollocks” (1977). Talking with Stay Thirsty Media in 2010, Lemmy was asked if he liked the Sex Pistols movies and he replied saying he used to like them a lot. “Yeah, the one of the first tour. That’s quite funny. There’s not a lot of music in it, mind you. But it’s funny to see all them old faces. Sue Catwoman and all them. I used to like a lot of them cause they were great. And then some of them died, you know. Smack again.”
During that conversation he also revealed that Sid Vicious, the late bassist of the band used to be his friend and many times slept on his couch. They knew each other before Vicious was a member of the Punk group and one day he even asked Lemmy to teach him how to play bass guitar as he recalled in a conversation with Louder Than War in 2011. “Sid Vicious lived in my flat for a couple of months. I tried to teach him bass but he was hopeless.”
“One day he came rushing into the flight all excited saying ‘Lemmy I got the job with the Sex Pistols’. I said ”Great, as part of the road crew’ and I laughed ”You can’t even play the bass, you’re hopeless’,” Lemmy Kilmister said.
A few decades later, in 2000, Motörhead covered the Sex Pistols track “God Save The Queen” on their album “We Are Motörhead”
Another British Punk band that Lemmy loved is The Damned and for a brief period he was “member” of the group. They broke-up in 1978 and the musicians started several side projects at that era. The drummer Rat Scabies formed a group called Les Punks that featured many of his bandmates, like Captain Sensible, Dave Vanian and Lemmy from Motörhead.
He helped the group performing with them several times live in concert. Also served as the bassist on many studio demos. He is credited as the bassist on the band’s version for The Sweet hit “Ballroom Blitz”. The track was added as an extra on some reissues of The Damned’s 1979 album “Machine Gun Etiquette”.
In an interview with Paul Du Noyer, Lemmy talked about how Motörhead was accepted by the Punks and said that they had a lot more in common with The Damned, than with Judas Priest.
“The punks loved us. The only reason we weren’t in that lot was because we had long hair. So obviously we must be heavy metal. That was the thinking. But a lot of kids heard us without seeing a picture. So they thought we were a punk band.”
“Whatever. I always thought we had a lot more in common with The Damned that we did with Judas Priest. I used to love The Damned. The Captain!” Lemmy Kilmister said. He even was an important person that motivated, The Damned’s singer and guitarist Captain Sensible to get sober as he recalled in an interview with Hot Press.
Lemmy Kilmister continued:
“This is a good time to switch into This Is Your Life mode and repeat something that Captain Sensible said to me recently: ‘I knew I’d reached rock bottom when Lemmy pulled me aside one night at a lig and said, ‘Captain, you’re drinking too much’. When he tells you you’re overdoing it, it’s time to ring up AA.”
“Yeah, there are occasions when even I preach temperance (laughs). I saw The Damned recently when they played the House of Blues in LA, and they all looked healthy enough,” Lemmy Kilmister said.
A Sex Pistols ‘spin-off’ band, The Professionals were formed by guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook, ex-members of the Punk group, alongside Andy Allan (Bass) and Ray McVeigh (Guitar).
With that original line-up, the band release two praised studio albums: “The Professionals (1980) and “I Didn’t See It Coming” (1981).
In an interview with Classic Rock back in 2014, Lemmy was saying that Sid Vicious was hired by the Sex Pistols because he looked good with the bass guitar and was a friend of John Lydon. But he also said it was the guitarist Steve Jones that played all the bass parts of the album “Never Mind The Bollocks” (1977) because Sid couldn’t play. Then, Lemmy praised The Professionals, band formed by Jones after the Sex Pistols was over.
“He looked good, didn’t do fuck all with it. That was why they hired him and because he was a mate of John’s. Steve had a real hard time with him. He said, ‘I had to do everything, everything. I had to fucking teach him to play fucking one note right.’ He said, ‘I had to play the bass on the fucking album.’”
“That was a good band. What were they called? With Ronnie Biggs. That was the start of it, and then they came back, and they became The Professionals. That was a good band The Professionals. I liked them. I went to see them a few times. They were fucking good. Ray McVeigh on guitar. I saw him the other day actually, he lives in LA now,” Lemmy Kilmister said.
I am a Brazilian journalist, a Classic Rock and Heavy Metal lover. Music has always been part of my life, helped me through tough moments and was with me to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After college I did a postgraduate degree in digital communication. This has helped me to make the website better and bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG