I just heard the news today that Lemmy passed away after an all to short bout with a very aggressive cancer. Though Motorhead is more heavy metal, there are a lot of similarities to punk. More so, as I reflected on a man that influenced music for so long, playing still at his age, I considered one of my favorite spoken word poems from Neil Hilborn called Punk Rock John.
Specifically the lines as follows;
John told us, “the church of punk rock was always open. If you wanna pray, just crank up the stereo until your ears bleed. If you wanna pray, just grab your brothers and sing. Sing out of tune, sing the wrong words, just sing… LOUD!”
This also leads me to remembering the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductions from last year. Lou Reed’s wife Laurie was giving a speech for the rocker who had passed away. She spoke of the idea that a person dies three times. The first is when your heart stops, the second when you are buried or cremated and the final time is the last time someone speaks your name. From out in the crowd you’d hear yells of “Lou!” and she even lead the room in a call of his name at the end of her speech.
For an artist, I propose an adjustment to the third death. I pose that the final time a person dies is the last time their name is spoken, their novel read, their painting admired or their song played.
Today while I work I intend to pray at the church of metal. I will turn my iPod (the modern day stereo for you kids to young to get the reference) and turn it up until I can’t hear shit. And you can bet that Lemmy will be pulling the baseline more than once today.