Funeral of rock legend Lemmy takes place

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Our entertainments reporter Sammy Jones has been gathering tributes to Ian Klimster commonly known as Lemmy including from the man who gave the rock legend his first job who now lives in Milton Keynes.

The music world has been in mourning since the news came through shortly before new year: Ian Kilmister had passed away.

Just two days after receiving diagnosis of an ‘aggressive cancer,’ the man loved and revered the world over as Lemmy, had departed this world for the rock n roll hall of fame in another place.

An outpouring of love on a scale seldom seen has filled newspaper columns and television screens since.

Everyone wanted to pay their respects to the real and true rock legend.

With his band Motörhead, Lemmy wasn’t just a part of the scene, he was a catalyst for the hard and the heavy sounds. He was an all round inspiration.

Ozzy Osborne, Alice Cooper and Gene Simmons were among the first to pay tribute to their friend, using social media to communicate their sadness.

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl let ink do his talking – and got Motörhead’s famous Ace of Spades design tattooed on his wrist.

Lemmy’s life and times have been well documented, and few tell it quite as well as the book White Line Fever, and the 2010 film, simply titled Lemmy.

One man figuring on both the page and on reel is former road manager Neville Chesters, who worked for some of the industry’s biggest players.

Neville said: “The first band I worked with as a roadie was The Merseybeats in 1963, that’s when I met Lemmy.

“I remember it well – we were playing at the Blackpool Palace Ballroom, which was a big deal in those days…

Lemmy told Neville about his band, The Rockin’ Vicars, and over backstage chats, a friendship blossomed.

“He was a little bit brazen even then, but nowhere near like he became. Every time we were in and around Liverpool or Manchester he would drop by and see me, and that went on for a long time, through my time working with The Who, and then of course the big thing happened…”

A well respected road manager during the sixties and seventies, it was Neville – now based in Milton Keynes – who gave Lemmy his now infamous job roadying for Jimi Hendrix.

“We were playing at the Empire Ballroom in Liverpool, and staying at the Adelphi Hotel, and at the end of the gig, Lemmy said ‘Are you going back to London? Can you give me a ride?’

“He had nowhere to stay and asked if he could sleep on the floor of the Adelphi, which he did,” Neville recalls.

“The next morning he asked if we could swing by his house to get a few things.

“I live just over the river, just over the Mersey,” he said.

“So we go over the river and start driving West, and go into Wales…now we’re miles away!

“He had a cheap blue cardboard suitcase and threw some things in, and we start on the way back.

“It was a long drive, and by the time we got back into London, it was early evening.

“Where do you want me to drop you?” Neville asks.

“I was hoping I could stay at your place,” Lemmy replied.

“I had just got a new flat, with three single mattresses on the floor.

“Noel (Redding, Hendrix Experience guitarist) was sharing with me, so there was a spare mattress and he was in luck.

“The next morning I asked him what he was going to do: “Can’t you wangle it so that I can be your assistant?” Lemmy asked.

And Neville swung the deal.

“…and I got myself an assistant. Not that it was any good at all because he never ever did anything! Very little. He would pick up two guitars, carry them into the gig, and then he’d disappear!

“But Lemmy just slotted in. Although he didn’t have the job for long, there wasn’t an actual end to the relationship, other than him telling me that he was going to put his own band together.

Even before his tenure with Hawkwind in the early 70s, Lemmy was getting noticed.

“He used to be in the Sunday Times, hanging out with debutantes. I can’t tell you why. But you’d look at Lemmy and think ‘How is this possible? People kept telling me ‘He’s in The Times again!’”

In 1975 though, things got serious; Motörhead debuted, and with time ‘became quite the force,’ Neville says.

The duo eventually lost touch, until Neville moved to New York in 1990.

Just as Lemmy had rocked up to those Merseybeats gigs back in the day, Neville now became a frequenter of Motörhead’s New York shows. The last time they caught up properly was a few years back at one such gig.

Reminiscing, giggles and nonsense usually ensued, and this time was no different: “I went into the back area and closed the door. Lemmy looks up, sees me and says ‘Stop, everybody…’”

And there was silence.

“He points across the room to me and says, ‘This man was the first man to give me acid!”

“What an entrance!” Neville laughs.

“But he always had a respect for me, and me for him. He was great.” To me, Lemmy was a lovable character, and a loyal friend.

“It has already been said by hundreds of people and by some very, very important people in the music industry, but Lemmy really is a legend, and I am glad to have had my association with him.

“The world is missing in icon…”

His funeral will be broadcast live on YouTube from 11pm on Saturday January 9. Click here to see it.