'Lemmy' (Entertainment One) Print E-mail
Written by Craggy   
Tuesday, 18 January 2011 05:00

LemmyMoviePosterMany years ago my Dad bought me one of those "Greatest Rock Albums In The Universe" double CDs, with many of the bands featured becoming the first stepping stones to the music that would go on to shape my life. One of the few that stuck with me was Motörhead. It was, of course, 'Ace Of Spades' that was the chosen title for this compilation, and something about that song made it stand out against the rest. 'Paranoid' and 'Born To Be Wild' almost kept up, but years later it is still the anarchic, explosive attitude of 'Ace Of Spades' that sends shivers up my spine.


It is the music you hear when you're young that is the best, so Lemmy states in the new documentary on his life, subtitled '49% Motherfucker, 51% Son of a Bitch'. His absolute and honest love of rock 'n' roll is the enduring theme in Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski's extensive look into the life of one of rock's most loved icons. Little Richard, Elvis and Chuck Berry are all referred to extensively, as are The Beatles. Indeed, the audience is reminded of the fact that Lemmy witnessed The Beatles before they'd even made a record, just giving some sense of how much the Motörhead frontman has seen in his vast career.


Taking a look into his childhood, and his discovery of the music that would shape his life, there is a sense of Lemmy's youthful romance coming to the fore in the film, as it is when he is talking about his influences that he often seems most engaged. One of the most interesting aspects of the film is seeing Lemmy as the fan, rather than the rock star, expressed most vividly when he is purchasing a Beatles collection in a record store, early on in the film.


However, Lemmy is, of course, the star of the film. The feature is studded with stars from Dave Grohl to Ozzy Osbourne, all discussing his friendship and his impact on the face of rock 'n' roll over the many years that he has been strumming strings, from the Rockin' Vicars to Motörhead, via Hawkwind, The Damned and many more. Interviews with actor Billy Bob Thorlemmy_blu-raynton and wrestler Triple H also go some way to show how Lemmy has become a huge name outside of the confines of rock 'n' roll. It is perhaps the interview with CC Deville, accessible through the extensive set of extras, that is most entertaining, leaving you laughing with the question: "what the fuck did that guy just say?..."


And this documentary is for the most part a piece of comedic entertainment, showing that in this industry you absolutely have to be able to poke fun at yourself, which Lemmy and the film makers do with complete integrity. It's no car-crash filmmaking like the heartrending, but equally excellent, 'Anvil! The Story Of Anvil'. This is no send up of Lemmy or the world of rock 'n' roll. It is a reflective and respectful look at one of rock's most interesting characters.


Truly the feature does have its serious moments, and these are also well covered, with Lemmy often talking openly and honestly about the more negative events of his life. In the end, however, it is perhaps inevitable that as a man of few words, Lemmy reveals little about his inner thoughts - there is no great epiphany in here, no enlightenment on the man behind the legend. Instead it merely acts as a medium with which to spend some time with the Motörhead frontman, hearing entertaining stories from his colourful life.


The timing of this documentary is apt, as Motörhead have hit a real run of form with their last few albums. For dedicated Motörhead followers, there is little that this DVD can tell them that they may not already know. However, 'Lemmy' is a well filmed piece of rock 'n' roll entertainment, with enough content to engage both fans and travellers alike. Insights into Motörhead's creative process, extensive on-the-road footage and contributions from a myriad of stars make this release a rousing success. Throw in the truck-load of extras and you approved_image_lrghave a complete visual package, celebrating the life and times of a true standard bearer of rock 'n' roll.