The Song That Got Lemmy Kilmister Fired From Hawkwind
Although Lemmy Kilmister gained a significant following as the founder, frontman, bassist, and principal lyricist of Motörhead, he also worked with the band Hawkwind between 1971 and 1975. Kilmister became an icon throughout his music career with his mutton chops, fashion sense, gravelly voice, distinctive vocals, and bass playing. Sadly, he passed away on December 28, 2015, while still a member of Motörhead.
While growing up, Kilmister was influenced by rock and roll. This influence led him to play with several rock bands in the 1960s. After working as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix, the musician joined the space rock band Hawkwind as the bassist in 1971. However, Kilmister’s tenure with the band was brief. In 1975, Hawkwind decided to fire Kilmister. While the band had their own reasons for this decision, Kilmister argued it was because of a song.
What Was Hawkwind’s Reason For Firing Lemmy Kilmister?
Lemmy Kilmister joined Hawkwind in August 1971 as a bassist and vocalist. Although Kilmister actually auditioned as a guitarist, he filled in for the bass player who didn’t show up for a gig. Despite having no previous experience as a bassist, the musician gradually developed his own playing style and contributed to the band’s efforts.
During his tenure with Hawkwind, Kilmister appeared on the double live album ‘Space Ritual,’ provided lead vocals on several songs like the hit single ‘Silver Machine,’ and worked with the band on ‘Warrior On The Edge Of Time.’ However, one day before this album’s release, Kilmister got arrested on drug possession charges.
At that time, Hawkwind was on a North American tour. Kilmister’s arrest occurred at the Canadian border in Windsor, Ontario, where the border police believed the bassist was carrying cocaine instead of amphetamine. They then kept Kilmister overnight in jail and released him without charge. However, the band was already fed up with him.
Kilmister was battling heavy drug addiction then and had a rather eventful lifestyle. After his arrest, Hawkwind and the band’s management worried that this incident might stop them from returning to the US. Besides, they were tired of Kilmister’s behavior and substance addiction, so they fired him and replaced him with Pink Fairies’ Paul Rudolph.
Lemmy Kilmister Believed Hawkwind Fired Him Due To His Song
Although Hawkwind gave Lemmy Kilmister’s arrest, wild behavior, and battle with addiction as the reasons behind their decision, Kilmister disagreed. On August 28, 2015, he spoke to Rolling Stone for an interview about the music efforts that had an important place in his career. One of those songs was ‘Motörhead,’ the song he wrote for Hawkwind.
Kilmister initially noted that he wrote it when he was a member of Hawkwind. According to the musician, they were recording ‘Warrior On The Edge Of Time’ at that time, and although they put it on the B Side of their ‘Kings Of Speed,’ Hawkwind had an issue with speeding. So, Kilmister believed they fired him for this reason.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Lemmy Kilmister said the following about ‘Motörhead’:
“I wrote that when I was in Hawkwind. We were in the studio doing the last album I was on, ‘Warrior On The Edge Of Time.’ We started playing, it caught on, and we put it on the B side of ‘Kings Of Speed.’ The song was about speed, and it was an issue to Hawkwind, and that’s why I got fired. I never asked them what they thought of Motörhead after that. I didn’t care what they thought of it. I don’t think of ‘Motörhead’ as a defining song, though. That song’s long gone for me now.”
After he was fired from Hawkwind, Lemmy Kilmister recorded this song with his band Motörhead, which he named after this song. Moreover, ‘Motörhead’ is among the best-known songs of Hawkwind, thanks to Lemmy Kilmister and Motörhead.
You can listen to ‘Motorhead’ below.