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Lemmy Kilmister stands out as one of the most iconic and influential musicians, known primarily as the frontman of Motörhead. However, before he achieved his own legendary status, Lemmy embarked on a unique journey that saw him working as a roadie for none other than the guitar God Jimi Hendrix. This is the story of Lemmy’s time as a roadie for Hendrix, a chapter that shaped his early career.

Lemmy’s Early Days and Encounter with Jimi Hendrix

In the late 1960s, Lemmy Kilmister was a young, aspiring musician who had yet to make his mark in the music industry. He found himself in London, a vibrant hub for musical experimentation and creativity. It was during this time that fate brought Lemmy into the orbit of Jimi Hendrix, who was already a big star around the world. Lemmy’s initial introduction to Hendrix was as a fan, but an unexpected opportunity would soon change the trajectory of his career.

Kilmister and Hendrix: From Fan to Roadie:

Young Lemmy Kilmister In 1969, before joined Hawkwind.
Young Lemmy Kilmister In 1969, before joined Hawkwind.
Credit: Michael Putland/Getty

Lemmy’s admiration for Jimi Hendrix’s music led him to attend multiple concerts and events where Hendrix performed. His passion caught the attention of Hendrix’s entourage, and Lemmy was offered a unique role: to join the crew as a roadie. This marked the beginning of Lemmy’s behind-the-scenes journey, where he would contribute to the logistical aspects of Hendrix’s performances, ensuring that the equipment was set up, the guitars were tuned, and the stage was ready for Hendrix’s electrifying performances.

I used to sleep on the floor of Neville Chester’s house, who was Jimi Hendrix’s roadie. He shared an apartment with Noel Redding, so I was always around whenever they needed an extra pair of hands. I didn’t get the job because of my talent or anything like that.

However, I had the chance to watch Jimi’s performances many times. Twice a night, for about three months, I saw him play. I also watched him play backstage. He had an old Epiphone guitar – a twelve-string strung like a six-string – and he used to stand on a chair backstage playing it. The reason why he stood on the chair is still a mystery to me.” – Lemmy Kilmister in a Rolling Stone interview while promoting his documentary “Lemmy”.

The Roadie Experience and Rise to Rock Stardom:

Jimi Hendrix With Lemmy Kilmister ( back left ) As His Roadie, With Thomas McNuff
Jimi Hendrix With Lemmy Kilmister ( back left ) As His Roadie, With Thomas McNuff
Credit: Pinterest

As a roadie for Jimi Hendrix, Lemmy Kilmister found himself immersed in the world of live music production and stagecraft. He worked alongside Hendrix’s team, witnessing firsthand the meticulous preparation that went into each performance. Lemmy’s role involved everything from handling instruments to troubleshooting technical issues, all of which provided him with invaluable insights into the mechanics of putting on a memorable show. The experience served as a crash course in the inner workings of the music industry, contributing to Lemmy’s later success as a musician.

While Lemmy’s stint as a roadie for Hendrix provided him with valuable insights and experiences, it was only the beginning of his journey. He eventually left the roadie role to carve his own path in the music industry. Lemmy joined the space-rock band Hawkwind before founding Motörhead, a band that would become synonymous with hard-hitting rock and a no-holds-barred attitude. Drawing from the lessons learned during his time with Hendrix, Lemmy led Motörhead to become one of the most iconic rock bands in history.

What Did Lemmy Kilmister Think About Jimi Hendrix?

But Jimi was a really nice guy. And very courteous. If a woman came into the room, he’d shoot to his feet and get a chair out for her. He was old fashioned like that” – Lemmy Kilmister in a Rolling Stone interview.

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