Lemmy DVD (2011) Review

Lemmy DVD (2011)

I borrowed my copy via my Netflix subscription. It is DVD only and not streaming on Netflix. It is also available Amazon.com and other outlets. This is more documentary than music, but music is peppered throughout the nearly two hour film. There is also a bonus section that contains 8 songs performed live.

This documentary follows Lemmy Kilmister around the world for three years, although most of the filming was done in the Los Angeles area where his primarily lives now. The man is timeless, a classic throwback, but current at the same time, and set in his ways. It’s hard to believe that Lemmy is the same age as my mother. I remember at one time I joked that if things didn’t work out with my step-dad, we could see if she could hook up with Lemmy. She took one look at his photo and laughed. But Lemmy will never marry. The reason is nearly self-evident in the documentary when we learn about his first love who overdosed on heroin when she was seventeen. Plus, this also explains why heroin is the only illicit drug that he has never touched. Sad, but something like that can affect your psyche for the rest of your life.

Lemmy’s style of dress is rooted in 1950’s, but it is his own and timeless. He has his leather goods, including his boots, custom made, from designs he creates and gives to his leather artisan. He is not afraid to wear short cutoff jeans much to the chagrin of those around him. In this woman’s opinion, Lemmy has nice legs for a man his age.

“I remember before there was rock and roll” as discussed by Henry Rollins. For his age, not shocking. Lemmy was there in the beginning and helped to make metal what it is today, as it grew out of and separated itself from rock-n-roll in the early 1970’s.

Lemmy does have 2 sons, by different mothers. One, Paul Inder, appeared on this tape. The second one was discussed but he was adopted out. The interaction between Paul and Lemmy is a good relationship. It is evident that Lemmy was involved in Paul’s life from the time he was 6. Paul takes after his father and earns the comment that “he’s a great musician.” This is by far one of the better segments the biopic.

Lemmy’s house looks like a pack rat’s house, but a lot of it is just the fact that there is no woman or house cleaner in his life. Probably because he doesn’t want anyone to mess with his stuff? But he doesn’t seem embarrassed by the comment. He collects stuff and not just his own memorabilia. One of Lemmy’s hobbies outside of music, is collecting war and Nazi memorabilia.

But back to the music, Lemmy’s time with Hawkwind was certainly foundational. Dave Brock (“We’re a space rock band”) at the time pushed the envelope and is the band that truly put Lemmy Kilmister on the map. But focus quickly shifts to how Lemmy was cut from Hawkwind by being left on the side of the road in Michigan. One of the sad points on the DVD. However, this served to be the turning point that prompted the formation of Motorhead and the birth of heavy metal.

David Ellefson (Megadeth) sports a Macabre t-shirt as he talks about Motorhead being the root band of punk, thrash, metal and every subdivision thereof. Lemmy may not be the inspiration but he’s the “Okay sign.” Slash discusses Lemmy’s approach to bass guitar – picking versus playing it like a guitar. Personally, I never really thought about that, but it is true. Which contributes to the loudness, of course. Fans outside a Motorhead show somewhere in England, based on the accent: “Every time you see [them] live they make you deaf. I don’t have to listen to my wife. So for about five days out of every year my wife is totally ignored.”

As for the music on the DVD: There is a full length live song of Lemmy performing with Metallica. There are snippets throughout of jam sessions, studio time, and other samples. More songs are contained in the Bonus section. There are six songs, classics, recorded at a festival – clearly as the sun was setting given the lighting. The final two of the eight are mostly rehearsal/soundcheck interspersed with scenes of the actual show at an indoor arena. These two are blues rock songs: “Whorehouse Blues” which features Lemmy’s harmonica work and “Back Door Man.”

Overall, this is a good insight into what makes the man tick -as if most of us couldn’t figure it out already. I noted on Amazon that it is also available on BluRay, and is priced reasonably. I would have liked to have seen it paired with a full concert DVD and not just the six song teaser as bonus material.

5 out of 5 PBR Pint Rating

Viewing/Listening notes: DVD as borrowed via Netflix that arrived in near perfect condition. Sony DVD player (not an HD), viewed on Samsung 43″ plasma television, through the factory speakers on the telly.

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About Kirsten Tautfest

Writer. I've done a lot of living in almost 40 years. My first two self-published books in print/Kindle are what I have termed serial soccer fiction. Red Tales is based around a professional soccer team, set in 1998 their inaugural year, and traces the lives of the players, staff, and fans and how they all intertwine and collide for better or for worse.
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