Since it’s inception in the 50s, Rock and Roll music has evolved and many different genres have emerged. In the 70s two of the most successful sub-genres were Heavy Metal and Punk Rock and there was only one band that had fans from both sides: Motörhead. Led by the late legendary bassist and singer Lemmy Kilmister, the band gained a cult-following and became a huge influence to many Rock stars that came later from bands like Guns N’ Roses and Metallica.
Throughout his career, Lemmy had the chance to see this evolution of the scene and hear many new bands. The musician was known not only for his musical skills, but also by being a very sincere person, so he always gave his true opinion on other bands. Including two famous groups from the United Kingdom: Radiohead and Coldplay.
When Radiohead released their first album “Pablo Honey” in 1993, Motörhead already was on the road for 18 years and had released 12 studio records, more than Radiohead released so far (9 albums). With a sound that mixes Alternative Rock with electronic music and more, the band has sold more than 30 million records worldwide and received many Grammy Awards over the decades. But that wasn’t enough to please the late Lemmy Kilmister.
The same applies to the also British group Coldplay, that became a phenomenon all over the world during the past 20 years, playing to stadiums full of fans everywhere. The group released their first album in 2000 and their sound evolved, being labeled as a Pop Rock band, when Motörhead was celebrating 25 years on the road, promoting their 17th studio album.
In an interview with Stay Thirsty Media back in 2010, Lemmy was asked if at that point Rock and Roll was beginning to redeem itself. Although the musician said that the music genre couldn’t be killed, he said that there were groups that were being labeled as Rock. However, they were not really Rock and Roll groups. Two of them according to him were Radiohead and Coldplay.
“Lemmy: Rock n’ roll always comes back, you know. Ther’s no fighitng it. And these people think they can kill rock n’ roll they might as well try and stop the flood, you know. There’s no way. It always comes back because there’s always people who want to hear loud, raucous music, you know.”
“It’s exciting, you know. And all the shit that these magazines like is not exciting. Like, Jesus, Radiohead, you know. Fuck me, you know. Coldplay. Jesus. These are not rock bands. These are sub-emo, you know.”
“I mean, they did some good stuff. Fair enough. But it’s not rock n’ roll. I know fucking rock n’ roll when I hear it. I’ve been listening to it since I was 12, you know? So fuck off!” Lemmy Kilmister said.
His opinion continued the same until the end of his life in 2015, when he talked with Consequence. Just a few months before his passing at the age of 70, the Motörhead leader was asked about why the band kept their sound the same since they were formed in 1975.
The interviewer gave Radiohead as an example of a group that changed their sound with every album they’ve made. Lemmy just replied to that saying: “And they’re not very good”. He was then asked if he liked them, he said “no”.
Motörhead was active for 40 years and released 23 studio albums. Even though the band sold only 15 million records worldwide, they toured everywhere and became a cult-following group, with fans that still keeps the band’s music alive.
Coldplay is now one of the biggest bands in the world, that keeps playing to millions of fans every year. Same as Radiohead that that are not always on the road, but have a big following.
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