Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Motorhead Legend Lemmy Had Links to Pittsburgh

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Motorhead Legend Lemmy Had Links to Pittsburgh

Article excerpt

You don't have to be a Motorhead fan to understand how Lemmy Kilmister personified rock 'n' roll.

You didn't even have to HEAR Motorhead to realize that. You could tell by those scowling photos of him with the black biker jacket, cowboy hat, unsightly moles and wild look in his eye.

The British metal icon died Monday four days after his 70th birthday and a mere two days after learning of his cancer diagnosis.

Born Ian Fraser Kilmister in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, in 1945, Lemmy's musical ambitions began when he saw the Beatles at the Cavern Club at 16. He became a part of the Manchester and London music scenes, and also served as a roadie for the Jimi Hendrix Experience in the late '60s.

His breakthrough was as bassist and sometime vocalist for British space-rock pioneers Hawkwind from 1972 to 1975. He was booted from Hawkwind after he was arrested on drug charges. As it's explained in the 2010 doc "Lemmy," while Hawkwind was big on psychedelics, he favored amphetamines.

Bridging the gap between punk and metal, he formed Motorhead in 1975 intent on making it the loudest band anywhere. "It will be so loud," the guitarist once said, "that if we move in next door to you, your lawn will die." Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian says in "Lemmy," "You could definitely say, that without Motorhead, there's no Metallica, ther"s no Anthrax, no Megadeth, no Slayer."

Lemmy killed lawns and endangered eardrums over 22 Motorhead albums, from 1976's "On Parole" to this year's "Bad Magic."

His first trips to Pittsburgh were in the '80s at the Stanley Theater and Syria Mosque Ballroom. Motorhead opened for Judas Priest at Star Lake in 1991 and played Ozzfest in 1998, along with making a few '90s stops at Metropol. The band also opened for Iron Maiden and Dio at the Pavilion in 2003, for Heaven & Hell in 2008 and Slayer in 2012.

Lemmy made a few Pittsburgh connections along the way. Pittsburgh guitarist Danny Stag (nee Steigerwald), who played in the national band Kingdom Come, hung out with him at his favorite haunt, the Rainbow, during the heyday of the LA scene from around 1972 to 1980.

"He would join me at my table, and we would hang out for hours, drinking and discussing high subjects. …

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