Motörhead’s Phil Campbell Recalls Finding Out That Lemmy Had Died

Jessica Branstetter, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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This December 28th marks the fifth anniversary of Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister’s untimely death. For countless fans, Lemmy passing was the end of an era; for the ultimate indestructible rock god to die meant they, too, were mortal. Now, in a new interview, Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell recalls the story of where he was when he got the bad news.

As transcribed by Blabbermouth, in a recent interview with Eddie Trunk on his SiriusXM’s ‘Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk’, Phil remembered how he’d learned about the extent of Lemmy’s sickness — and, soon after, his death. “I called Lem on his birthday [December 24th], as usual, and there was no answer on his phone,” says Phil. “So I spoke to [Motörhead’s manager] Todd [Singerman] and said, ‘How’s Lem doing?’ And he said, ‘Oh, he’s not doing so well. Maybe you and [Mikkey Dee, Motörhead’s drummer] should come out and come see him, come cheer him up,’ or whatever…and then about 30 minutes later, Todd called me and said the bad news. So he must have gone really, really quick at the end, which is probably the best way.”

Phil goes on to admit that Lemmy was having a hard time at some of the band’s gigs towards the end, though he wouldn’t go so far as to call any of them ‘bad’ shows. “It was just that we cocked up a couple of odd songs here and there, but the general gigs, right up to the end, were fantastic. But you did feel for Lem, just giving it his all. But he wouldn’t be the first person in the world to cock up the odd song. Plenty of us have cocked them up. It wasn’t a lot, really. It’s probably been over-exaggerated. The gigs were really good.”

Make sure to mark your calendars on December 28th so you can pour one out for Lem.


Words by Chris Krovatin