KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons has paid tribute to Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, saying that the iconic MOTÖRHEAD frontman was “a special kind of a guy” who “deserves a lot more kudos than he’s gotten.”
During a December 29 appearance on Ozzy’s Boneyard (SiriusXM channel 38), Simmons said about Lemmy (hear audio below): “Although most people wanna mourn Lemmy‘s death, and rightfully so, maybe a brighter thing to do is to celebrate his life. Because our history with Lemmy goes all the way back to HAWKWIND. KISS took HAWKWIND out way in the early days when Stacia was a dancer with the band. In fact, Stacy and I used to hang and just talk, and she always used to talk about Lemmy. And then, slowly but surely, I got to know Lemmy through the years.”
He continued: “The guy that knew, that I was lucky enough and proud enough to know, may be a different kind of a guy than what fans may think of him. You think of him as a badass, won’t take any crap from anybody… That’s all true. But I will tell you as a guy that’s known him for decades, he’s always been a marshmallow, a softie on the inside, always putting a helping hand out to anybody. [He] treated fans the best. This badass guy who always looked out, cared so much about the fans and would always give a helping hand to new bands. [He] hardly ever said anything bad about anybody for press’s sake. If he didn’t like you, he’d tell you to your face, not behind your back. A gentleman with a kind heart, dressed in armor, like most nights were. He was a special kind of a guy and he deserves a lot more kudos than he’s gotten, unfortunately.”
Gene also talked about Lemmy‘s wit, honesty and undying devotion to his friends. He said: “Lemmy, and Ozzy has this too, this kind of… If they like something, it doesn’t matter if it’s from the same genre. Ozzy will point his finger at THE BEATLES, whereas lots of other guys who turn up the guitar — whether you call it hard rock or heavy metal or thrash or take you pick — are afraid to actually say, ‘Yeah, I like ABBA.’ Lemmy was honest through and through. His insides, his heart and his mouth and his mind were connected. And truth is a hard thing to find, ’cause everybody is trying to negotiate: ‘How do I negotiate these streets to have people think I’m cool?’ He didn’t give a squat. He basically took a very individual kind of… ‘Hey, this is who I am. I don’t care if it’s popular to be a hair band or [wear] lipstick. I’m Lemmy. That’s who I am.’ And maybe we should all learn something from that.”
Lemmy, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Christmas Eve (December 24), learned two days later that he was afflicted with an aggressive form of cancer. He died two days later, on December 28, at his home in Los Angeles.
Lemmy had dealt with several health issues over the past few years, including heart trouble, forcing him to cut back on his famous smoking and Jack Daniels habits.
The band was forced to cancel a number of shows last year, although they did manage to complete one final European tour on December 11.