Lemmy: White Line Fever [Book]

Lemmy Kilmister, the charismatic frontman of Motörhead, has had a very interesting career so far, but mostly it seems a miracle that he is still alive. Apparently, the excessive experimentation with different drugs led to a mystic change in his blood, which if given to an average human being could potentially end deadly. Well, this and many other stories are recounted in Lemmy: White Line Fever, his autobiography written with Janiss Garza and published in 2002.

I had a blast reading the book while traveling through Japan and listening to Motörhead’s 2012 live album release The Wörld Is Ours – Vol 2 – Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else, and I can highly recommend this book, even if you’re not a dedicated fan of the band. Lemmy is witty, brutally honest, and at times seems a bit regretful of the wrong choices they made – especially in regard to the business side of Motörhead. Nevertheless, his charisma and drive for rock ‘n’ roll stardom cut through like a knife and make the book an instant classic.

Below you can find a selection of my favourite quotes from the book. Have fun and don’t forget, ‘Double up or quit, double stake or split, the only thing you see, you know it’s gonna be, The Ace Of Spades…

My favourite quotes from «Lemmy: White Line Fever»

When we got to the fabled Radio City (Home of the Stars!), everyone was dressed in hired penguin tuxedos, trying to look as much as possible like the motherfuckers who were stealing their money! I don’t wear tuxes – I don’t think it’s really me, you know? And I don’t think the ushers liked the Iron Cross. (p.4)

See, that fuckin’ shows your age – I saw Buddy Holly live! Nevertheless, I must say, my street rep is impeccable! … See, albums in those days were different: an album could be a collection of the last six hit singles and the B-sides. (p.13)

Back in those days, the most impressive band, hands down, was the Beatles. They were the best band in the world. There will never be anything like the Beatles, and you really had to be there to understand what I’ve just said. (p.27)

I didn’t like singing much – I still don’t, but I’ve gotten used to it by now, obviously. (p.33)

Everywhere you looked, there were good bands coming up. It’s depressing nowadays because you have to dig to find a really great band, and there seem to be thousands of awful ones. (p.57)

I mean, I’m a poseur – what are you doing in this business if you’re not a poseur, right? (p.61)

The album covers in the early seventies were so much better than they are now – the designs were much more elaborate. … Nowadays with CDs, everything’s smaller and the record companies are so fucking miserable and cheap and nasty. (p.81)

That was when I came up with the famous quote that first appeared in Sounds: ‘It’ll be the dirtiest rock ’n’ roll band in the world. If we moved in next door your lawn would die!’ (p.99)

That show earned us a new reputation and our own category in the Sounds poll for that year! WE were voted ‘Best Worst Band in the World’! (p. 101)

Then the assholes at United Artists began hedging about the record’s release. For months they fed us numerous lies, while still keeping us signed to the label. That, of course, kept us from being able to record with any other company. They wound up putting out On Parole four years later, long after we’d finally been released for our contract. … That was the beginning of our fucked-up dealing with record companies. (p.105-106)

[W]e finished up mixing Bomber and [the record company] threw us a record release party at London’s Bandwagon Heavy Metal Soundhouse. That was awful – I always hated those things. You’re supposed to be all things to all people all night, which is impossible and fucking unpleasant besides. Phone bullshit is what it is. We were far more exited about going back on the road. (p.133)

[T]he band was generating quite a bit of money – for somebody, not for us. … In July we played Stafford Bingley Hall and we were presented with silver discs for Bomber – it had sold over 250,000 records. (p.134-135)

An American label, Mercury, had picked up Ace of Spades, but nobody seemed to know about that. The label did absolutely nothing to promote the record (and what else is new?). So we were this strange, unknown entity every time we hit the stage. (p.149)

When it came to chicks, we weren’t really worried about quality in my band. And, actually, quality is certainly in the eye of the beholder. (p.153)

Another problem with being very popular is that some people claim that you’ve sold out. But really, that’s more their problem, not mine. Commercial is whatever people are buying, that’s all. (p.154)

Radio people are notoriously unsympathetic to anything you’re doing, because they’re so self-important. (p.159)

[W]hat has civilization done for us? Blunted our sensibilities and made us less open and tolerant. Civilization is apparently a curse – God bless the open market! (p.183)

The physical requirements for touring are unique (we’re no good for anything else). You’ve got to get up on stage every night and suddenly be energetic within minutes or everybody in the world is gonna die! (p.207)

I thought Lita [Ford] was the best thing in the band [The Runaways]: she had great tits and played mean guitar. (p.209)

Quite a lot of 1916 was exactly what our fans had come to expect from us, only better, of course. (p.228)

Sebastiano Mereu

YouTuber + host of the #FHTZ online music show with co-producer @simonkurt + marketing & digital content producer + university lecturer