Sean McCourt

Lemmy caution


MUSIC At an age when most rock ‘n’ roll veterans are content to retire from performing live or trade in their electric guitars for acoustics and change the way they approach their material, Lemmy Kilmister continues to tour the world, bringing his blistering blend of hard rock to fans. The 63-year old leader of Motorhead has been playing music for nearly five decades and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. He and the band have hit the road for another tour.

Getting his start in a series of local bands in his native England in the early 1960s, Kilmister eventually moved to London, served a stint as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix, and performed with Hawkwind before founding his own, now legendary band in 1975. Boasting the slogan "Everything Louder Than Everything Else," Motorhead has gained the reputation for being one of the most thunderous groups ever measured in concert.

"We never planned to be the loudest band in the world, we just liked playing that way — I wasn’t trying for any titles," Kilmister explains by phone after a recent sound check in Orlando, Fla.

Though Motorhead has always revolved around Kilmister, the current lineup has been together for some time now; guitarist Phil Campbell joined in 1984 and drummer Mikkey Dee came on board in 1992. But Matt Sorum — who has played with Guns N’ Roses, the Cult, and Velvet Revolver — is filling in on drums for the band’s current tour. Dee is on a hiatus while filming a reality TV show, the Swedish version of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

"We saw Mikkey on it last night, he was riding a bike on a rope bridge 30 feet up. Unfortunately, they had a safety harness on him," Kilmister chuckles.

A documentary about the iconic frontman, simply titled Lemmy, is set for release later this year. It explores the history of a singer whose penchant for uncompromising rock ‘n’ roll and passions for drugs and women have become the stuff of legend. The film includes live performances, and interviews with various people who have played and worked with Kilmister, who is known for being affable and laid-back when offstage.

"They’ve got a lot of interviews with different people saying what a nice guy I was. It was very flattering. I had no idea I was held in such high esteem," Kilmister laughs.

Following the San Francisco show, Motorhead will be on tour until around Christmas. The group heads back into the studio to record its next album — the follow up to last year’s ferocious Motorizer (Steamhammer/CPV) — in February. That release undoubtedly will be followed by yet another whirlwind trek across the globe to play in front of faithful fans. The elder statesman of hard rock takes on a serious tone when asked if he ever tires of the relentless rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

"This is where I belong, I’m supposed to do this," Kilmister says emphatically. "I’m lucky I’ve found my place — a lot of people don’t ever find theirs. This is mine."


With Reveren Horton Heat, Nashville Pussy

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Outside Lands: Tom Jones


PREVIEW/INTERVIEW Though he may be one of the oldest performers to take the stage at this weekend’s Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Tom Jones will undoubtedly be one of the best. For more than four decades the Welsh singer’s rich vocals and electric stage presence have propelled a career that continues to produce hits even as he is less than a year away from turning 70. As he proved to a full house at the Warfield earlier this year, Sir Tom (he was knighted in 2006 by Queen Elizabeth) still has the goods when it comes time to entertain a crowd, singing old favorites such as "It’s Not Unusual," "She’s A Lady," and "What’s New Pussycat?" along with more recent hits like "Sex Bomb."

Jones pulls in a wide variety of people to his shows, ranging from kids in their early 20s to original fans near his own age. The singer still loves connecting with an audience, be it at a Vegas nightclub or an outdoor festival like Outside Lands.

"If there are people out there and they’ve come to see me, I’m going to give it the best I can — whether it be 5,000 people or 10,000, or 100,000," Jones says.

"I don’t change the show from Las Vegas to a festival because I don’t do a ‘Vegas’ act anyway. I don’t use any dancing girls — it’s a concert I’m doing. My show is basically the same, [though] I maybe make sure I cover the stage a little bit more," he laughs.

Jones, who released his latest album 24 Hours (S-Curve) last year, is already gearing up to work on a new record after he completes another tour through the U.K. and Europe. As for the tradition of female fans flinging their undergarments at him while on stage, the man known as "the Voice" looks at it from a couple of different angles. "It depends on what song I’m singing at the time. If I’m singing a serious ballad, it can break the mood," says Jones. "But I don’t think it’s for an entertainer to dictate to an audience what to do — the entertainer does what he or she does, and hopefully the people get it."

TOM JONES At Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. Fri/28, 6:50 p.m. Golden Gate Park, SF. $89.50–$225.50.