Lemmy Kilmister Explains How He Stole his First Bass Gig And How Jimi Hendrix Helped

By MICHAEL MOLENDA ,

He's on the Holiday 2015 cover of Bass Player, and he was just honored with the magazine's 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award at BASS PLAYER LIVE in Los Angeles on November 7. But it appears that Motorhead bassist Lemmy Kilmister has an act of thievery to thank for his long and storied career playing bass.

Here's his "confession" in the pages of the Holiday 2015 BP (on newsstands now), and it also seems that Jimi Hendrix may have put the seeds of musical larceny into Lemmy's head...

"I was a roadie with Hendrix," says Lemmy, "and what I learned about guitar from him was that he told me I was never going to be a good guitar player [laughs]. I was lucky, though. I joined Hawkwind for the job of the guitar player, but they had just decided they weren't going to need another guitar player—Dave [Brock, vocals] decided he was going to play the lead. But then the bass player didn't show up for a free gig because he wasn't getting paid. He left his bass and amp in the gear van like, 'Steal my gig.' So I stole his gig [laughs].

"I learned to play bass onstage with Hawkwind. I never picked one up in my life before that gig. So I walked onstage with this thing hanging around my neck — it was a Rickenbacker, too — and Nik Turner [vocals , sax, flute] said really helpful stuff [sarcastically]. He came over and said, "Make some noises in E," and then he walked away from me. None of that old-fashioned stuff like, 'Two verses and a solo.' Just 'make some noises in E.' That's really helpful.

"But it was the best way to learn, because you learn if you can do it or not right there [laughs]."

Lemmy receiving his Bass Player Lifetime Achievement Award at BPL!