When Lemmy Kilmister Called Sid Vicious ‘Hopeless’


Throughout his 60 years of music career, Lemmy Kilmister became a huge inspiration for many musicians from various genres. His raspy voice, distinctive bass playing, and stage style gained him great success in the rock scene. Along with his contributions to Hawkwind, Lemmy also significantly impacted the music scene by forming Motörhead in 1975. The rocker left a considerable influence on the musicians with his unique personality.

Lemmy became like a teacher for the upcoming generations with his talent. Especially his bass playing was considered among the most impactful ones. The bassist brought innovations to rock music by experimenting with distorted sound on his bass. Many bassists were inspired by his playing style and applied his technique to their sound. Lemmy gave bass lessons to Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious in the past, but he was hopeless, according to the Motörhead bassist.

Teaching Sid Vicious How To Play Bass Was Impossible For Lemmy Kilmister


Although Sid Vicious passed away at 21, he remained a vital punk rock icon, especially as the bassist of Sex Pistols. He played bass on the song ‘Bodies’ from the band’s only studio album ‘Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.’ He had credit for two tracks from this album. Despite his lack of instrument knowledge, Vicious became a prominent figure in the punk genre with his savage personality.

Lemmy Kilmister talked about punk music and Sid Vicious in a 2011 interview with Louder Than War. He stated that the punk genre was a great discovery when the rock and roll scene needed it. The rocker counted Ramones & The Damned among the most significant punk acts. He also noted that despite his different style, Motörhead was suitable for the punk rock genre.

Kilmister talked about punk music:

“Punk was great. It was what rock n’ roll needed at that point in time. I never had time for the Clash and their pretend politics, but the Damned and the Ramones were great rock n’ roll bands. Motörhead fitted right in. We may have had long hair, but the punks understood us. Johnny Rotten used to go and see Hawkwind play. I remember him turning up in his long hair and great coat at London gigs.”

The rocker also revealed that he tried to teach bass to Sid Vicious while living in his flat. However, he was a hopeless case in playing it, according to the Motörhead icon. When Sid conveyed the news about his joining the Sex Pistols, Lemmy shared his excitement but told him, laughing, that he could not even play bass and was hopeless, as he mentioned in the interview.

Talking about Sid Vicious, Kilmister continued:

“Sid Vicious lived in my flat for a couple of months, and I tried to teach him a bass, but he was hopeless. One day he came rushing onto the flight all excited, saying, ‘Lemmy, I got the job with the Sex Pistols,’ and I said, ‘Great, as part of the road crew,’ and I laughed, ‘You can’t even play the bass, you’re hopeless.’”

Sid Vicious gained great recognition with his appearance in Sex Pistols. However, fame was not easy for him due to the hardships that came with it. On the other side, his extensive drug use in his relationship with Nancy Spungen started to affect his mental health. Unfortunately, the punk rock icon passed away on February 2, 1979, due to a drug overdose.