Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister: Vampire of the Sunset Strip

October 20, 2009 3:26 PM ET

Lemmy Kilmister may be the most indestructible rocker alive. At 63 years old, he still spends nearly every day he's not on tour swilling bourbon at West Hollywood's legendary rocker hangout the Rainbow Bar & Grill — and his band still plays about 150 shows a year. Rolling Stone's Mark Binelli put in some quality time at the Rainbow (and Kilmister's nearby apartment, stocked with a mind-blowing array of WWII and Nazi memorabilia) for a profile of Motörhead's singer/bassist in our new issue.

Go backstage with Motörhead on the band's 2008 European tour.

"The first time I ever saw Motörhead was on the Blizzard of Ozz tour," Slash tells RS. "I swear to God, it was the loudest thing I ever heard. They EQ'd it in a way to rip the top of your fucking head off." Ozzy Osbourne recalls that tour too: "[Lemmy] had a plaid bag with three books an a notepad. No change of clothes. His fucking rider was seven bottles of bourbon, eight bottles of vodka, two bottles of orange juice, and that's fucking it!"

Unsurprisingly, Lemmy has taken a path that's very unlike other rockers. Acknowledging his unusual journey, Kilmister tells RS, "I mean, I missed out on human relationships. But looking at relationships that I've seen along the way, I don't think I've missed much." Kilmister has let rock & roll be his guide since he was a kid learning Buddy Holly records in Wales, and in our profile Kilmister recounts joining (and leaving) legendary psych-rock band Hawkwind, attempting to teach Sid Vicious how to play the bass and the beginnings of Motörhead, which he conceived as a blend of Hawkwind, the MC5 and Little Richard.

For Binelli's full story, pick up the new issue, on stands now. And check out Rolling Stone's Q&A with Kilmister from last year, when the legend was celebrating the release of his band's 20th album, Motörizer.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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