In the land of rock n' roll no one, and I mean no one, is considered more of a badass than the speed-demon bassist Lemmy Kilmister, the undisputed Holy Grail of Rock Gods and creator of Motorhead. At 65, he's still endlessly on the road, taking one of the loudest, craziest live shows on Earth to every corner of the globe, croaking the band's viciously fast anthems and redefining what it means to be a senior citizen.
My fellow fans of the awe-inspiring Kilmister and Motorhead, you are in luck. Not only are they muscling their way to the Warfield on February 2nd (it's almost sold out!), Lemmy himself is the star of the long-anticipated documentary Lemmy, which comes to the Roxie Theater beginning this Saturday, January 29th through February 4th. Filmmakers Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski caught an unprecedented glimpse into this rock legend's life, and we chatted up the duo about what it was like to spend three years on the road with Motorhead.
So, the question on everyone's minds--what was it like being on the road with Motorhead?
Wes: It was amazing. I remember reading once that being on tour is like the last true freedom in this world, because 50 years ago, in the time of someone like Jack Kerouac, this country, at least, was a much freer place. You feel like you're in a gang. We didn't sleep at all, because they tortured anyone and everyone on tour with them.
Greg: It's the closest we'll ever be to being rock stars. Being on stage and filming them while they're performing to thousands of people, nothing can compare to that, and everyone envies you because they have to go back to their cubicles at the end of the day, and we get to go hang out with roadies. And his moles are even bigger and more majestic in person.
Does Lemmy still have groupies?
Greg: Yeah, he's a lot more picky now. At 65, he is a connoisseur of groupies.
Any other crazy stories?
Wes: The man is 65, so when he f***s with people, which he loves to do, it's more mind games now.
Greg: Yeah, I always thought they'd still be setting things on fire. On the last day of shooting in Moscow, it was pretty emotional and I was very drunk. I decided to embrace the old-school Motorhead way and ended up belly-flopping backstage on a table and completely broke it. It was oak, and looked pretty sturdy, but it totally broke, and it was government owned property because the government owned the stadium we were in. The government tried to make us pay $4000 for the table, and keep us in the country until we paid. We ended up just sneaking to the airport and leaving anyway. Lemmy saw me the next day, smiled and said "I heard you were quite the a**hole last night".
What was his reaction when you approached him with the idea to make this movie?
Greg: The first time we met him, he showed up dressed in a fake Nazi uniform to mess with us. I think he thought "Okay, these two bozos want to make a movie about me, let's see what they're made of".
Wes: He appreciates us now because we came to him 4 years ago, and actually followed through and made it happen. A lot of people come to him with the idea of making a movie about him, but never actually do it.
You also got to talk to a bunch of other rock gods, like Slash and Dave Grohl, while making this movie. What's the common thing they all admire about Lemmy?
Wes: Most people all wish they could be like him. Lemmy does things the way he wants to all the time, and not a lot of people get to live that way. Most people wish they could be keeping it as real as Lemmy.
Did he impart any nuggets of wisdom upon you guys while spending time with him?
Greg: We still talk to and see him a lot, so everytime we see him and we complain about how much work it is to promote the film, he says "It's all your fault guys, you got yourself into this". And if there's anything we learned from him, it's perserverance. I wanted to give up a lot of times because this film was so much work, but Lemmy hasn't given up in 40 years. We committed to this, and I'm really happy we did.