Ozzy Osbourne is one of the few musicians who knew Lemmy Kilmister from his early days in Hawkwind through four decades of Motörhead. They toured together on Osbourne’s first U.S. solo trek, they wrote hits like “Mama, I’m Coming Home,” “See You on the Other Side” and the Grammy-winning “I Don’t Want to Change the World” together and they swapped war stories and war memorabilia together. When Osbourne learned of Kilmister’s passing on Monday, he was in shock. Here, he pays loving tribute to his longtime friend.
All I’ve done since I heard the news was reflect on the times we had together. He was a good guy, a very good friend of mine. I’m still in some shock.
I phoned him up two days ago, and I couldn’t make out one word he was saying. Yesterday, I got a text from his manager saying, “Lemmy’s on the way [out], and he wants to see some of his friends.” So my wife and I were just about leaving the door and the text came saying he’d gone. It shook me up bad. We were like, “Wow.” He must have been suffering for a while. You know, he’s 70. He lived the rock & roll lifestyle to the max, but still it’s sad when you lose a friend like that.
Me and Lemmy go back a long time. We used to have a standing joke with each other, “Which one of us is going to go first?” But I curbed my ways, staying up all night and all that shit, a long time ago. But Lemmy said to me one time, “What’s the point of living to 99 if you’re not enjoying it? It’s my life and I want to have fun with it.” And he lived to 70. And the way he lived, smoking cigarettes, drinking and all that, he knew he wouldn’t be doing it. You can’t live that lifestyle and live ’til 99. Very rarely, some people can. Most of us drop off along the way.
I met him when he was in Hawkwind. We used to rehearse in the same place in England. And then when he formed Motörhead, they were like the pirates of the rock business. I remember when I did my first solo tour of America, and they were opening up for us. We had a lot of fun together. They would be partying every day. On that tour, I remember saying to Lemmy at one point, “Do you ever sleep?” And he goes, “Well, not much.” I go, “When was the last time you slept?” He said, “Let me think. Ten, 12 days ago.” I said, “You’re joking!” If I stayed awake for two days, I would be absolutely screaming, crazy. But they used to go for it.
“I go, ‘When was the last time you slept?’ He said, ‘Let me think. Ten, 12 days ago.'”
He was the king of partying for a long while, but I’m sure he didn’t keep it up forever. You could not do it. Lemmy was a fucking monster for it.