Slipknot‘s Corey Taylor is the latest rocker to pay tribute to Motörhead‘s Lemmy Kilmister, who passed away December 28th after a brief battle with cancer. Like many of his rock star brethren – Kirk Hammett, Tom Morello, Lars Ulrich and many more – Taylor writes that the legend he grew up idolizing soon became a close friend in a tribute the Slipknot singer penned for The Guardian. “He will never be forgotten, because there is so much to remember: his music, his friendship and most importantly, his life,” Taylor wrote.
“The first time I ever saw Motörhead was on my favorite TV show at the time, The Young Ones,” Taylor writes, referring to the anarchic BBC 2 comedy. “Suddenly, that now-familiar bass riff to ‘Ace of Spades’ was punching me in the face, and I realized I was listening to one of my favorite songs for the first time.
“The guitars were smuggling razor blades, the drums were pummeling and through it all … there was Lemmy Kilmister, playing bass and straining his neck to sing into the mic that always seemed a little too high, until you realized it was just right. I sat transfixed, unable to describe what I was seeing or hearing, and unable to understand why I loved it instantly. But it didn’t matter if I didn’t understand. I just knew it kicked ass.”
Slipknot and Motörhead frequently found themselves on the festival circuit together, and Taylor and Lemmy developed a friendship. Taylor recounts one afternoon in Germany where the two visited a Gibson factory there, hiding in a room to smoke cigarettes. It was there that Lemmy told Taylor “the most hardcore joke” the Slipknot singer ever heard.
“I laughed so damn hard I thought my pancreas was going to rupture,” Taylor wrote. “Once I caught my breath, I had a sense of where I was: hiding in a tiny room, smoking cigarettes, telling dirty jokes and hanging out with my friend, who just happened to be a man I’d been listening to most of my life.”
Like many friends and fans, Taylor was shook by how quickly Kilmister succumbed to cancer – “He had been fighting off poor health for a few years, but as his friend, I just assumed he would do what he always did: smile back and fly a gnarly middle finger” – but added that fans should celebrate Lemmy’s life instead of mourn his death.
“A lot of people are going to talk about what a tragedy it is that our friend Lemmy died, and lament how sad it is. But I am going to talk about this: the man lived,” Taylor wrote. “He lived his life on his terms right up until the day he died. He played the music he loved. He never compromised, on style or volume. If there was ever a man who took no shit, prisoners or safe routes, it was Lemmy Kilmister. He was everything you wanted him to be: raw, loud, rude, funny and ready to play for his fans – which he did even when he had trouble getting on stage.”