We Play Rock and Roll
Two years ago today I woke up in a hotel room in Antwerp, Belgium to the news that Lemmy Kilmister had died. Before I say anything more, I should probably note that I was on vacation, I didn’t happen to just wake up in a Belgian hotel… Anyway, I was immediately bummed out and began thinking about my one and only interaction I ever had with him and how fucking weird and incredible — it was. I wrote it down and shared it on my personal social media and shared it this day last year as well.
This year, I figured I’d share it with all of you fine people.
One of the first jobs I had when I moved to Minneapolis was as a bellman at a fancy downtown hotel. Yes, I wore the marching band-esque get-up. No, I didn’t wear a hat or white gloves. Since it was a pretty nice place and close to a lot of venues, we often had celebrities and musicians staying with us. Some were great, some were terrible (Sheryl Crow was wretched, Nickleback and Creed were just as shitty as you’d think, and Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga were incredibly pleasant.) At the beginning of one particular shift, I was told that we had a large group staying with us. Some band. “Motörface or something like that,” according to the front desk agent.
Now, I didn’t ever really get starstruck by anyone that stayed at the hotel but HOLY SHIT… MOTÖRHEAD WAS STAYING WITH US!
Their buses pulled up and I went outside to help load luggage carts and start bringing people up to their rooms. The first person I got to help: none other than Lemmy himself.
As we were in the elevator, I was stupidly nervous and didn’t really know what to do with myself. I looked for literally anything to make small talk about… including his shoes apparently. I noticed that he had sharpied an “L” and an “R” on each of his shoes. After chatting back and forth a little bit, I decided to ask him about it. I say, “L and R? Shouldn’t that be L and K for your initials?”
Though it was a stupid question, his response may be the greatest thing I’ve heard to this day. He looked down at his shoes, then back up at me, then back at his shoes. As he slowly turned and looked at me again, he said, “Nah, iss fer left an right…Ah git confused.”
Pure fucking gold. I didn’t know what to say…
The elevator doors open and I bring him to his room. As I’m explaining things about the room and the hotel, he interrupts me and says, “ya comin to the show”
I couldn’t really tell if he was asking me if I was going or if he was telling me I was going. “I’d like to but I didn’t get tickets and I’m pretty sure it’s sold out.”
“Ah’ll put ya on me list. Whadya go by?”
Holy shit. Lemmy’s guest list?! I thanked him immensely and told him my name, then turned to leave in disbelief.
“Thas it? Jus you? You don’t have no fuckin’ friends?”
I told him I wasn’t trying to overstep my bounds on his list.
“Aaaaadon’ worry abouit. Ah can put as many on mah list as ah want. Bring a coupla friends.”
I told him the first two names that came to mind and thanked him again. As soon as I left the room, I pulled out my phone and texted the two people whose names I’d given and told them to cancel any plans they had for the night because we were on Lemmy’s guest list.
Understandably, they thought I was full of shit.
I couldn’t really believe it myself and definitely had my doubts as we walked up to the box office at First Ave. When I told them my name and that I was on Lemmy’s guest list, I got the biggest eye roll I think I’ve ever seen from the lady in the booth.
Again, totally understandable.
But there it was. Lemmy was a man of his word and put all of us on the guest list. We walked in right as Reverend Horton Heat was starting with Motörhead following them. To this day, I think that night was the best show I’ve ever been to and will certainly always be the most memorable.
RIP Lemmy, you weird, weird man.
Now, clear the next hour and a half of your day and watch the master at work.