By Scott Reeder
I’ve been asked to contribute a few quick words on Lemmy, just as the music world is also being blindsided by the passing of another icon, David Bowie. It’s difficult to put the feelings I have into words…
When I was playing in bands in our desert’s punk scene in the early 80’s, Motörhead’s infamy was already rapidly spreading, and I remember being amazed that their appeal was embraced by the punks in our scene, as well as by the rocker kids. There was this guy on my school bus, Vince, that somehow made it to EVERY concert nearby! On Monday mornings, he usually had some great stories, like seeing AC/DC at the Swing Auditorium with a crowd that was so packed upon entering the venue that he was squished between people and was lifted off his feet for awhile going in. His tale of Motörhead in ’82 was simple – it was the loudest band he’d ever seen, and his ears were still ringing! The legend was growing!
Years later, one of my bands had already opened for Motörhead, and yet I hadn’t met Lemmy. It wasn’t until I attended the release party for Dave Grohl’s Probot record, and I went to the bar to grab a couple of drinks for me and my wife, Renee, that I realized that Lemmy was sitting right next to me! I froze. His persona was just so fucking huge to me! I just had nothing on top of nothing to say that he hadn’t already heard a million times. I respectfully just walked away, as I didn’t want to disturb him. It took me years to realize how dumb that was. Lemmy was actually the most easy going, down-to-earth guy you could ever meet.
Fast forward 10 years: I’d recorded a song with Fireball Ministry, after working with their singer, Jim Rota. He was a producer of the Sound City film, on which I’d recorded some bass for the soundtrack album. After not being on the road for 14 years, Jim called and said that Fireball Ministry was invited by Motörhead to play on their upcoming rock cruise, called Motörhead’s Motörboat Cruise and the bass position was mine if I could do it. F**K YES! Thanks to Lemmy for having us, my ass got dragged out of semi-retirement, and I had the time of my life! We’ve been playing, writing, and recording ever since!
A few months later, we had the HUGE honor of opening for Lemmy’s other band, The Head Cat, who was making a rare appearance at a small gig at The Roxy in Hollywood. They’re more a rockabilly thing, featuring Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats, and Danny B. Harvey of The Rockats. After their sound check, we started rolling our gear onto the stage in front of The Head Cat’s backline. Lemmy was still checking a few things on my side of the stage, and he walked over to me and asked me about my gear. Immediately, my self-built, towering and paralyzing wall of awe between us had completely crumbled down, and we were just two guys sharing the stage on a little gig for a few mutual friends. It was fucking awesome. We talked about the first Motörboat cruise and how much fun it was, and how we looked forward to doing the second one.
We both made it to that cruise the end of September, 2015. Great times! Lifelong friendships forged! Motörhead celebrated their 40th anniversary on that boat, and we partied like pirates! This was the most un-inhibited group of lovely people that I’ve ever been around! Our Captain Lemmy was mingling amongst the sailors quite a bit, and never soured when anyone and everyone wanted a quick photo with him.
One month later, in November, I was there when Bass Player Magazine honored Lemmy with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He got in, and got out very quickly. He didn’t look well at all. He was just on the other side of a backstage curtain afterwards, but I didn’t want to hog any of his time, which was fine; I’d already got to say my thanks to him.
I’d sensed that his time was near, but it was still a big shock when I heard that he’d actually passed. That English gentleman was the most bad-ass, yet humble, straight up, uncompromising, endearingly sarcastic, not-giving-a-fuck, bass ripping, soul baring, honest man. THAT’s the thing… he was HONEST. No airs, whatsoever. What you saw, was what you got, which is sadly so fucking rare these days.
We won’t see the likes of Lemmy ever again. I’m so thankful, that at age 50, I got to learn a few big lessons from my brief time around him. He will be sorely missed, and never forgotten. And as brother, Mike Inez said at Lemmy’s memorial the other day, we also mourn the loss of Motörhead, the band. It’s so hard to comprehend, as they’ve been at the heart of rock and roll for so many years. Regardless, generations to come will inevitably embrace them. I don’t think it gets any sweeter than that! Long live Lemmy and Motörhead!
Scott Reeder is a musician, recording engineer and producer who has played bass with well- known bands such as The Obsessed and Kyuss. Reeder co-wrote “From Can To Can’t” on the Grammy winning, Sound City album with Grohl, Corey Taylor, and Cheap Trick’s Rick Neilson. He produced the British hard rock band, Orange Goblin’s album, Coup De Grace, with John Garcia on guest vocals. Reeder was among eight bassists, including Robert Trujillo and Pepper Keenan, to audition for Metallica in 2002. Short excerpts from Reeder’s meeting with Metallica can be seen in the documentary Some Kind of Monster. Reeder handled production and bass duties for Bütcher and appeared on their album Auricle in 2005. Reeder recently produced the album Wyllt for LA band, Black Math Horseman. In 2006, Reeder released his first solo album TunnelVision Brilliance on which he wrote and performed all tracks by himself. In summer 2011 he was featured in select shows of Kyuss Lives!