“In the summer of 1981, I followed MOTÖRHEAD around on tour,” METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich addd . “That was what made me want to be in a band. When I came back to Southern California and called up James and said, ‘Listen, we’ve got to give this a shot,’ … MOTÖRHEAD is the catalyst.”
Shortly after Lemmy’s passing, Ulrich penned a lengthy tribute to the MOTÖRHEAD mainman in which looked back on the influence Lemmy had not just on METALLICA but also on him personally.
“I was down at [Lemmy’s] 70th party [on December 13, 2015 at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood], and I got a chance to sit with him for about ten minutes, just him and me. I told him that his obligation to the rock and roll community was to live forever because his birthday party was like a hard-rock class reunion,” he wrote in part. “Everybody was there because Lemmy’s one of the few people we can all agree on who is just the coolest guy ever. We would all show up. I told him it was his obligation to live forever, because he was the reason we could all get together and celebrate hard rock and celebrate MOTÖRHEAD and see familiar faces because we’re all so scattered now. Obviously I could tell that he was in deteriorating health but we had a close bond, one that didn’t necessarily need to be reaffirmed or articulated. The less we said the more we knew the connection was there.”
Lars added: “Whenever METALLICA played L.A., [Lemmy] would always come and watch us, and whenever MOTÖRHEAD was up here, we’d always go and see them play. We probably crossed paths 50 to 100 times in the last 20 years, and he came and played with us onstage multiple times. It was a bond that deep and it goes back to the crazy summer of 1981.
“I will always appreciate and forever cherish all the great times we had together, but especially those early days. We were so vulnerable, so moldable because a significant part of who we’ve become, both in the band and as people, is directly due to not just him but all the rest of the people who were inspired and drank from the same bottles and shared the same stories and same space. His spirit will always live in us.”
MOTÖRHEAD won the “Best Metal Performance” Grammy in 2005 for its cover version of the METALLICA song “Whiplash”.
At a 1995 gig at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, members of METALLICA celebrated Lemmy’s 50th birthday by taking the stage as a wigged tribute band dubbed the LEMMYS.
In a 2011 interview with Metal Insider, Lemmy said: “You can’t top METALLICA. They’re really a fucking excellent band. I’m delighted that they said that I was one of their influences. Like, they have all of their influences, and you can’t hear the influences in them, which is great. They’ve become their own people, and that’s great. I like them a lot. I’ve spent a lot of time with those boys.”