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You are in: Stoke & Staffordshire > Entertainment > Books > Lemmy: White Line Fever


Photo by Steve Plimmer

Lemmy: White Line Fever

Born in Stoke-on-Trent, Ian Fraser Kilminster - aka Lemmy - has a reputation as one of the world's greatest hellraisers. We review the autobiography of the leather clad, JD-swigging bass player, and lead singer of heavy metal band Motorhead.

The clues are really in the title of Lemmy's autobiography, which is called "White Line Fever". It's a blurry, drug induced trip of a book that moves along a pace of a Wurzel riff, but is never really that engaging a read.

It's told in a simple way - pretty much in Lemmy's own words I should guess - seeing as most of them are four lettered and begin with an 'F'. Not good reading if you're of a nervous disposition.

You can imagine Lemmy's gruff drawl recounting the tales of drunken debauchery, and life on the road, over a JD and coke (and I don't mean the fizzy drink kind.)

Reckless rebel

From early on in the book you get a picture of Lemmy as a reckless rebel even from a younger age - inspired by Little Richard and Buddy Holly to become a famous musician and trying every trick in the book in doing so.


Photo by Steve Plimmer

In fact in the early days he gives Pete Townshend a run for his money in terms of wrecking equipment... A tale of his audition for the Rocking Vicars tells of how he destroyed a grand piano to get into the band.

The book blurb says the story "is told with Lemmy's charisma and humour", and although the effin' and blinding does make you chuckle to start with, it gets a bit tiresome the further you read.

Spinal Tap-esque

There's no real laugh out loud bits, apart from the Spinal Tap-esque accidents of the Rockin Vicars drummer who falls through the stage at a gig, and the singer from Hawkwind who catches himself on fire by standing too close to a pyro which brought a smile to my face....

As did the passage in which Lemmy explains WHY he should be dead. It's like a classic Hancock half hour episode about a blood transfusion in which a doctor tells him that pure blood would kill him because his blood is too toxic...!

But of course the crux of the book is about the creation of Motorhead - after Lemmy's sacking from Hawkwind.


Photo by Steve Plimmer

They were the pioneers of the speed metal genre - climaxing probably with the breakneck speed of "Ace of Spades" in the eighties - writing over 19 albums. There is of course the traditional accounts of sex, drugs and rock and roll, but they aren't the great tales of excess that maybe you'd expect.

More of a diary

It all seems a bit too much "day in the life" and a bit blase... more of a diary account rather than Lemmy spinning out great tour stories or funny snapshots of being in a metal band.

For someone who roadied for Jimi Hendrix and toured with the wildman of rock himself Ozzy Osbourne, the accounts are never that revealing (more likely that Lemmy was soooo drunk or drugged up to take much notice of what was going on.)

Although the book is an easy read (mainly down to the large print) the problem I have is that it never gives you a candid look behind the Motorhead you see on stage.

It's a good read for all TRUE fans of Lemmy - but if you want to find out about the excesses of a rock and roll lifestyle you're better off reading a copy of Motley Crue's "The Dirt".

last updated: 08/09/2009 at 16:26
created: 08/09/2009

You are in: Stoke & Staffordshire > Entertainment > Books > Lemmy: White Line Fever

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