First off, I wanted to say I’ve been seeing you perform since I was a teenager and I’m in my 40s now. Motörhead has always been one of those bands I could count on to deliver the goods. Thank you for your amazing consistency throughout your career.
Lemmy: Thank you for your amazing consistency [laughs].
To get into the new live DVD/CD package that just came out, I was watching some of the interview footage that’s included, and there’s a point where you talk about the size and enthusiasm of South American audiences. Did you consider other cities or countries down there for the filming when you came up with the idea of making the DVD?
Lemmy: We just recorded a bundle of concerts and picked out the best bits, you know? The Manchester one was recorded last year and was going to be an album in its own right. And then we got Chile as well, and it was just really so good we had to put that in. It just all came together in bits and bobs, so we ended up with the three-disc package.
There have been a few other Motörhead concert DVDs in the past decade, and the band has got no shortage of live releases over the years. What inspired you to put out another one at this stage?
Lemmy: It was Chile really. I would have sat on it and put another studio one out, and then they said, ‘Why don’t we do another DVD?’ And I said, ‘Well, you have to do Chile then.’ Even though it was in black and white. I thought it was a bit weird, you know, but there you go. But the audiences are fantastic down there. They really are. In Brazil and Argentina, too.
I was going to ask why you ended up shooting it in black and white. It’s kind of unusual, but it looks great…
Lemmy: It was the guy. The film director. It was his call, basically.
Sam Dunn’s production company was involved in this DVD and he’s really featured you a lot in his documentary work on metal. It seems you’d be a natural subject for one of his films, but the doc that came out last year was made by first-time directors Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski. Did they just beat him as far as approaching you to make the film?
Lemmy: Well, they just showed up and said, ‘We want to do a documentary because we’re fans.’ I said, ‘Come on the road for a couple of days and shoot a pilot.’ And they did. We didn’t have any other offers at the time. I think they did a really good job though.
Yeah, I appreciated that they went back to the Hawkwind days and actually got Dave Brock to get his input. Some of the stories are pretty well known among Motörhead fans, but it was good to hear them from the horse’s mouth.
Lemmy: There were a couple of surprises in there, too [laughs].
Your taste for Jack and Coke is pretty well known, and it’s pretty clear from some of your song lyrics you don’t have time for organized religion. You’re currently touring with Megadeth, a headliner that has a couple of members who are sober born-again Christians.
Lemmy: Well, the great thing about my philosophy is live and let live, you know? I don’t mind if you want to worship the Great Poobah in the sky, as long as you don’t expect me to do it, too. And nobody has so far preached to me on this tour, so it’s alright.
So you don’t try to steer clear of certain subjects? You just go about your business?
Lemmy: No, no. We hardly ever see Megadeth anyway. They come late and we leave early after we finish to beat the traffic out of there. So we don’t see much of them. I’ve stayed a couple of times to watch their show, but that’s about all.
How long is your set time on the Gigantour?
Lemmy: 50 minutes.
Do you foresee any Motörhead headlining dates in the U.S. to promote The Wörld Is Ours – Vol. 1?
Lemmy: Well, we’ve got festivals in Europe in the summer and then we do the Mayhem Tour in July with Slipknot. But that’ll be a short set, too, then I guess.
When I saw you the first couple of times around when you were headlining the Henry J. Kaiser Auditorium in Oakland during the mid-1980s, you were still breaking out the air raid siren at the end of the show that was just punishingly loud. I can remember friends on their knees with hands over their ears, begging for mercy.
Lemmy: Funny enough, the last time we played the Henry J. Kaiser Auditorium, we fired Megadeth off that tour.
I remember hearing tales of that [Author’s note: More accurately, I read it in Lemmy’s autobiography White Line Fever, which details the band’s firing due to the actions of their douchebag manager at the time]. They played that show, but I guess it didn’t last?
Lemmy: No, I guess not [laughs].
You’ve always had a knack for bringing great support acts bands out on tour. Besides Megadeth, I saw Exodus and the Cro-Mags with you back in the ’80s, and since then there have been shows with Zeke, Corrosion of Conformity, the Reverend Horton Heat, and Nashville Pussy. Last year you had Clutch and Valient Thorr…
Lemmy: Valient Thorr are brilliant, aren’t they? Complete chaos…
How much input do you have on the bands being selected?
Lemmy: Well, we just find out who’s available and we just pick them and see if they’ll come along. It’s as simple as that. It’s just a matter of who’s not touring already.
Actually, I did want to ask about one of the European festivals that I first saw advertised a few weeks ago. It was for the Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium this June. It’s pretty much a metal fan’s wet dream, with Black Sabbath at the top of the bill, followed by Motörhead and Slayer as next bands listed. I showed my son and he said, ‘So, we’re going to Belgium, right?’ If that was the Sabbath tour in the States, I’d go see it even if they were playing without Bill Ward. Is that something that’s playing elsewhere in Europe, or is it only there?
Lemmy: No, it’s just that one. I don’t know what’s happening with Bill at the moment. It looks like it’s the Ozzy camp, isn’t it, that put the kibosh on it?
That seems to be the rumblings, despite denials from Sharon Osbourne. She says, ‘I have nothing to do with Black Sabbath.’ It seems really wrong to not go out with him.
Lemmy: Well, you can’t do a reunion without the originals, can you? How’s the reunion [laughs]?
You’ve stripped things down as Motörhead in the past with “Whorehouse Blues” from Inferno in 2004 and the slower acoustic blues version of “Ace of Spades” you did for the Kronenbourg commercial a couple of years ago. Have you thought about doing an acoustic blues album?
Lemmy: No, not so far. We’ve thought about doing a covers album, and we’ve thought about doing an acoustic album of our songs, but not a blues album. I do that rock ‘n’ roll thing with The Head Cat [his rockabilly group with Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom] in my spare time, when I get any spare time.
I haven’t managed to see that band yet. Do you have plans for more Head Cat albums as time allows?
Lemmy: Oh yeah, sure. That’s fun. That’s not even a job. It’s not even work. It’s just three guys getting together who like the same kind of music having a blow on the old songs, you know? There’s no pressure with that.
Do you have other projects or activities that would allow you to explore avenues you can’t really do with Motörhead?
Lemmy: Not so far. Isn’t this enough [laughs]?
It’s not like you’re just sitting around the house. You’ve been open to working with a lot of people, both contemporaries and younger musicians you’ve influenced, like Dave Grohl. Is there anyone you’d like to work with in particular?
Lemmy: Janet Jackson [laughs]. I don’t know. There are a lot of people out there who are great players. It’s just whether the spark arrives. Whether somebody wants to do it and I’ve got some free time. I’m three-quarters of the way though a solo album right now. I’ve got two tracks with The Damned, two tracks with [German hard-rock band] Skew Siskin, one with Joan Jett, one with Grohl, and two with the Reverend Horton Heat. So I’ve got quite a mixed bag on there. I’m trying to get one with Skin from Skunk Anansie.
That’s funny, because I thought about asking the solo album question, but figured as the principle songwriter with Motörhead you might find that enough of an outlet. If you’re that far along on the solo album, do you see that coming out this year or next year?
Lemmy: It’ll probably be next year, ’cause we’re working a lot this year. But maybe it’ll be this year. I don’t know. It depends on how fast I can get the last few tracks done after we finish this tour.
Who else do you have slated for the album other than Skin that you still need to get tracks from?
Lemmy: Well, the original idea for this solo album I got from Jeff Beck. And he’s the only one I haven’t been able to nail down to do the fucking track, which is typical of Jeff. He’s always the same. He’d rather be under a car covered in gasoline than playing his guitar.