in memoriam

Ozzy Osbourne Remembers His Hero: ‘Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, That Was Lemmy’

VIP Opening Reception For
Ozzy. Photo: Frazer Harrison/2015 Getty Images

In a moving Rolling Stone interview published Tuesday evening, Ozzy Osbourne memorialized his late “hero,” Lemmy Kilmister. The iconic Motörhead front man died yesterday after a brief but fierce battle with cancer, and the Prince of Darkness, a longtime friend of Lemmy’s, was one of the first to spread the news. “I’ll miss him so much,” Ozzy told RS. “We all will. There’s a big hole in the music industry as far as I’m concerned.” In his lengthy chat with the magazine, Ozzy also recalled, among many things, the iconic singer-bassist’s insane lifestyle, seemingly boundless intelligence, and impressive songwriting skills:

On their tours

[Lemmy] was the king of partying for a long while, but I’m sure he didn’t keep it up forever. You could not do it. Lemmy was a fucking monster for it. When [Motörhead] toured with me, it was like Spinal Tap. They’d come off the stage, soaking with sweat, they’d get in the bus and just drive. They wouldn’t shower. We were doing colleges, anywhere we could play. And their rider was like a case of Jack Daniel’s, a case of vodka. Sharon says, “How much do you think we can afford to pay you?” Their rider was well more than we were paying them. They lived on vodka, orange juice, soda, and they’d walk around with bourbon all the time.

On their collaborations

I remember when [Lemmy] wrote some lyrics for me, I went over to his apartment. That place was unbelievable. There was more war memorabilia and things hanging off the wall than most museums. I’ve given him some swords and daggers over the years that I picked up. It was his hobby. We had an interest in that Second World War. But he was so intelligent about it. He knew so much about the history.

Anyway, I gave him a song that I wrote. He was great with lyrics, so I said to him, “Can you work on this?” I also gave him a book about the Second World War, about some general or something. He says, “Come back in two hours.” So I come back and he not only wrote me a bunch of lyrics, he had three sets of lyrics and he said to me, “That book was crap also.” I said, “What book?” “The one you gave me.” He had read a book in an hour. I said, “Are you kidding me?” He said, “Do you like these lyrics?” And I think it was for “Mama, I’m Coming Home.” And I said, “They’re all right.” And he goes, “What do you think about these?” He’d written me three sets of lyrics.

He wrote my song “See You on the Other Side” with me. I came up with the idea and he wrote the lyrics. He wrote, “Mama, I’m Coming Home,” “Hellraiser,” “Desire,” “I Don’t Want to Change the World.” I’d give him a song and think, “Where the fuck do you go from here?” And he’d write you like 15 other verses in such a short amount of time. I mean, if I was writing lyrics, most of the time, I go, “Well, she went to the door,” and that’s as far as I’d get. He just writes them as if he’s writing a message. And it’s like, “He wrote this in how long?” And they’re not good lyrics — they’re fucking amazing lyrics.

For the rest of the as-told-to piece, head here.

Ozzy Remembers His Hero, Lemmy, in Moving Piece