EXCLUSIVE: Lemmy Talks about the Decay of Good Strip Clubs in LA, Asshole Politicians, and What He's Reading Right Now ("Winnie the Pooh"--No, Really)
Gustavo TurnerAt the Rainbow: Lemmy's buddy Scottie, Lemmy's son Paul Inder, Lemmy's movie co-director Greg Olliver, lovely Rainbow bartender Kristin, some English dude, Lemmy's movie co-director Wes Orshoski
Last week, more than usual, it was Lemmy-Geddon in L.A. Starting with the icon-studded premiere at the Vista in Los Feliz of the movie officially titled Lemmy: 49% Motherf***er, 51% Son of a Bitch but more widely known as Lemmy: The Movie or "that awesome Lemmy movie," and with an upcoming showing of the film on VH1, Lemmy is getting the superstar treatment he's long deserved.
The movie, made by really nice guys Wes Orshoski and Greg Olliver, could be described as "Anvil without the failure." It's really, really good and a greatly entertaining saga even for non-metalheads. (Lots of amazing interviews with members of Hawkwind as well!).
Lemmy: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son of a Bitch begins a one-week engagement at Sunset 5 tomorrow.
But here's the best part: we were summoned to the Rainbow on the Sunset Strip for an audience with Lemmy. Lemmy lives nearby and hangs out at the Rainbow all the time with his mate/associate/buddy, the blond-tressed, regalia-attired Scottie. Since this was the afternoon after the Vista screening, nobody had slept much and Lemmy was joined by his son, Scottie, and the two movie directors. All enjoying hair-of-the-dog drinks served by the Rainbow's very able bartender Kristin, Beauty Queen of the Sunset Strip servers (see pic above. She's the one who doesn't look like she's been on a bender).
And so we began our chat with Lemmy:
LA Weekly: One of my favorite LA stories... one day I went to Jumbo's Clown Room. I thought the bouncer was sitting there and handed my ID, and it was you. You're like, 'I'm not the bouncer, mate.' We wanted to ask you questions about the gentlemen's clubs of L.A., if you would like to talk about that.
Lemmy: Alright. [indistinct mumbling]. Ya, I mean I don't know the airport ones, so, you know. Uh, I used to like Crazy Girls, but it's gone 'round the toilet since it changed hands, you know.
How did it change?
Uh, Well, they took the pool table out and they took the touch-screen games out and they changed it all to pink and put the lights down and it looked just like a Lounge Lizard place, and it looks like a typical expensive strip joint, you know, and they put the prices up further... So the only good one left now is probably Jumbo's and Cheetahs, and that's about it.
Cheetahs has also changed now, right? They made it more upscale.
Well they changed, and the doors opened like that and they took the pool table out. I don't know what's the matter with these people. I mean that was, ah, you would go there if you played pool more than you would go there without it, right. I don't know, they take all the attractions out apart from the women, and let's face it, half the women at any strip club at any time are not going to be the best chicks you ever see, right. So you play pool till the other chick comes out [laughs] and you know...
How does the talent pool in L.A. compare with other towns.
Oh it's great. All those hopeful actresses... Thousands of them, thousands of beautiful women in this town, uh, but there's thousands of beautiful women in any town, you know. I've been to most cities in America by now. And uh (mumbles).
How about the music they pick?
Uh, well, Cheetahs is a real unfortunate there. A lot of hip hop, you know. But that's what people like, so you can't bitch, you know, I guess. Understand that. I don't like it, but a lot of people do, so I don't know. Anyway, I'm not really going there for the music.
How long have you been in L.A.?
20 years now.
What made you come to L.A.?
Well, there's the music scene, there's the music business, so it makes sense from that point of view. And also, when you've grown up in dingy rain-sodden England there's all this pictures about this sunshine, palm-trees, swimming-pool place, you think, I wonder if it's really that nice. And then we came here on tour and it was, you know.
Cause you have no idea the difference, you know, the difference in mindset, the sunshine nearly all year round. In England it's drizzlin' rain all year round, right, so you know. And people say, 'oh, it's so green.' Say no wonder, it's all the fuckin' water out there, you know [laughs].
Gustavo TurnerLemmy, Lemmy's buddy Scottie, and Lemmy's son Paul Inder in their natural habitat at the Rainbow
How often do you go back to Britain?
Only when we're working there really.
You don't keep a home there?
No, not at the moment. I gotta get one, you know.
Have you noticed a lot of change in LA in the last 20 years?
I mean, there comes somebody trying to stop you having a good time, you know it's incredible. And all the businesses close, not at 2... they close at 1:30. Some of them close at 1 even, you know. It's a shame, you know. I don't know what. They live in paradise and they keep shootin' themselves in the foot, you know. I don't get it.
And how California can be in debt is beyond me. I mean, it's the richest state in the union and it's like trillions of dollars in debt. What kind of clowns are they voting for to represent them, you know. Wasting all that bread?
Do you get to vote here?
No. I don't wanna vote. Who'd you vote for? There's only the lesser of two evils to vote for in any system and that's not good enough for me. There's nothing I believe in in the political scene anymore.
You study a lot of history...
That's why I know about politicians.
Do you go book browsing here? Or do you go on the Internet? How do you get your books?
Um, I go to bookstores when we're on tour, you know, quite a bit. And uh, I dunno, there's a bookstore just down the road here which is really good, Book Soup. It's a good book store. And there's a lot of newsstands around, you know, around this area, and that's really good too. Good magazines. You know, I like to read a lot. I usually have three books at the same time.
What are you reading now?
I'm reading the report about the Dresden bombing. It's a good one, the new one. And uh, what else am I reading? I'm reading Winne the Pooh for the first time. It wasn't written for kids, believe me. I mean the TV show, the Disney show is fuckin' atrocious. It's an abomination. The book is fantastic, it's so sarcastic.
That's where Brian Jones died, right? In the Winnie the Pooh house.
In the Milne house, yeah. And the gardener killed him.
He confessed on his death bed, yeah. You never know who you hire, do ya? [says something slurred] [laughs].
Do you ever check out bands in LA?
Yeah, I go to the Roxy now and again, and the Key Club. The Whiskey sometime. And of course there's the Viper Room across the street. I live just down the street.
Have you seen anything in the last year or so that impressed you?
Yeah, there's a lot of good bands around. I don't always remember who they are. There's one called the Sex Slaves from up in North LA, they're really good. Um, who else? I dunno man, I see a lot of bands. There's a lot of good bands around. There's no end to good bands, always coming up, though a lot of them don't last because they don't get any attention. After a couple years they just play and then die, you know because you get depressed. Although I didn't. But I was in England, it like rains all the time there anyways, so you're depressed in the first place [laughs].
Ever go to the Eastside clubs?
Lemmy: No, I've been to the Nokia a few times, you know, and we played there a few times. The Wiltern theater is a nice one. I used to go to the Palladium and it's such a terrible sound.
Finally the wooden paneling is gone now.
Bob Dylan opened the last tour there with one of his best sounding bands in 2009 and it sounded like shit.
Oh yeah? If it could've sounded good, I'm pretty sure it would've. You can't get a good sound in there. Yeah, it's all top end as well.
Now they have this thing where the fire marshall makes people not stand in the corridor, so there's like an army of disgruntled, underpaid people in polo-shirts shoving you out of the lanes.
Why would you go there? People should strike on the shit and say, 'No, I'm not going in there, I didn't join the army. I'm not in jail.'
They're bigger than you though.
That's not the point. The place itself should learn that you don't treat people like that and charge them over the price for the fuckin' ticket. It's bullshit man. Seems to be endemic to a lot of California, that treatment. Having the help go to town on you for nothing.
So you have more fun when you go out into the "blue states"?
Yeah, it's good. I mean, we played in Boise, Idaho. I've never, ever played in Boise, Idaho, believe me. And that was really good. It was really nice up there. You get a sense of... they're really thrilled that somebody showed up to play for them, you know, cause not many people go there, right. Idaho, you know.
Motorhead is huge in the middle of the country.
Yeah, there's like Montana and Wyoming and Idaho, and what else? Iowa. And people don't play in those places that much. There's a big belt of like, you know, like only local bands playing, and there's mostly tribute bands these days.
Have you ever seen a Motorhead tribute band?
We saw Morehead and Moosehead... yeah, we've seen a few.
Have you seen their faces when you walk in?
Yeah, just [drops jaw]
When did you first realize you were such an icon? I mean, in the '60s you used to be one of the crowd, hippie guys playing hard rock. Then suddenly you become this icon.
Only in the media. You know, I'm not dressin' any different from what I dress all the time. I mean I don't put on my rock 'n' roll clothes. This is it. What you see is what you get. So, this has become an icon, I was always dressin' like this... Except there's more better used clothes over here. [laughs]. I mean, we're in Hollywood. The costume capital of the world. Plenty of second-hand shit out here. This is an old Beatles hat [points at hat]. This belonged to Ringo Starr.
Yeah, his daughter gave it to me 25 years ago. That's why it's so fucked.
I can't imagine Ringo wearing that. That's totally a Lemmy hat.
Think about it. Magical Mystery Tour and all that.
OK, yeah, I guess. Great movie.
Good for concealing the [makes vague joint-like gesture] in the hat.
How about the rest of your military outfit and your interest in the Civil War and World War II? Why do you think this war theme keeps coming back with British artists of your generation? Roger Waters seems fixated on it. Pete Townshend...
This is from a guy in a country that's at war in Iraq and Afghanistan! That's a good question. Because they keep doing it, that's why. Because we can't stop ourselves. We can't stop ourselves killing each other for no reason except ideology usually, religion, like it is in those places. Your still fightin' about fuckin' religion. I just don't get it, you know. What's a matter, you fuckin' stupid or something?
So, studying the wars of the 20th century helps you understand about the wars now?
As you collect war relics and memorabilia you, like, you have to learn about the war itself. There's a whole lot to it. You have to find out about everything, and all I found out about the second world war was that everybody in it was fuckin' completely unprepared for it, said shit about the other side that they were doin' themselves, you know.
And then the victors judged the losers and hanged 'em before they could say anything. [laughs]. You know, the whole thing, politics is bullshit. And the world has got even more political since then. And it's not doing us any favors. Politics is crap. All politicians are assholes. Imagine wanting to be a politician. What kind of fuckin' mindset must that be?
I wanna kiss other peoples' babies for five years, and then get into a high position and retire? Great. And steal everybody's money. Or rather spend everybody's money. Same thing. It's fuckin' disgraceful, isn't it? Politicians. Look at California. Like I was saying, the debt in California. That guy over there. He didn't spend 50 billion dollars or whatever it is. I didn't do it. Those guys behind the counter [at the Rainbow] didn't do it. So what the fuck, who did it? Some asshole in a suit with a John F. Kennedy hairstyle, you know.
Gustavo TurnerYoung kids: if you get into rock n roll and become an icon, breathtakingly beautiful Hollywood beauties will get cozy with you (even if you're 65 and dressed like a confederate soldier!)
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