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Lemmy memories for Les Best as funeral takes place today of Motorhead legend

By Bess Browning

For Les Best, 63, his rock and roll days rubbing shoulders with Hollywood A-listers and royalty are firmly in the past.

But the death of Motorhead’s Lemmy has prompted him to make sure his memories of their time together are not confined to history.

Ian Fraser ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister will be remembered as one of the greatest rockstars of all time after he died on December 28 aged 70, but it was before the fame and fortune when he and Les became great friends.

Les Best with his guitar
Les Best with his guitar

Now, as the rock legend's funeral is set to be live-streamed on YouTube today, Les shared his thoughts.

Les, of Park Avenue in Whitstable, who owns Hatters Hall record shop in Preston Street, Faversham, met the idol when they were in their 20s when promoted Lemmy’s first band Hawkwind.

Their mutual friend Steve Peregrin Took, who was one half of T Rex with Mark Bolan, introduced them to one another and soon Les and Lemmy were sharing a flat in Maida Vale, London.

Les said: “There are many theories about how Lemmy got his nickname.

“He woke me up one night climbing in through the window of the flat. He was desperate to go back out to Fleet Street and get the papers to see how they had rated his tour with Hawkwind, but he didn’t have any money.

“He said ‘lend me 10p’. He was always ‘lemmy a fiver’!”

It soon became his nickname and he has forever been known as Lemmy. But Les says that Motorhead hasn’t always had that name.

He said: “When he formed Motorhead, he didn’t initially call it Motorhead. He wanted to call it Bastard. I said Lemmy, you can’t call your band Bastard.

Lemmy
Lemmy

“It took a lot of persuading that it wasn’t right! He went for Motorhead in the end.”

Les describes Lemmy as a true rock and roller, often disappearing for four days at a time on a speed binge, drinking heavily and partying with hundreds of girls.

He said: “We had some crazy parties at our house. We had one once when a snake was loose in the house!

“He had women running around him, even before he became famous. I don’t know what it was about him but he seemed to attract all the women. He was that sort of guy.

“He was a wild guy. Outrageous and the band never stopped partying. They went for three to four days at a time. But he was a nice guy as well, and modest.

"The band never had a lot of money. They came from nowhere and managed to get it together.

“Lemmy always spoke his mind. He always said grab every opportunity today before it’s gone tomorrow. That really stuck with me. He was clever, philosophical.”

Les, who has promoted the likes of David Bowie and Roxy Music, often got on stage with Hawkwind and joined in with Motorhead in the early days.

Les Best, on the right, back in the day with Lemmy on the left
Les Best, on the right, back in the day with Lemmy on the left

Lemmy would say ‘c’mon Les, you know how to play the tambourine. Get on stage!”

The friends hadn’t seen each other for 12 years but had planned to meet up four years ago. Les says Lemmy wasn’t just a kind man, he was generous too.

Les said: “For Paul’s (Lemmy’s son) fifth birthday, he bought him this incredible silver bike, just days after Hawkwind’s hit Silver Machine had been released. For Steve Peregrin Took’s funeral, Lemmy sent a huge guitar made completely of white carnations.”

Les heard about Lemmy’s death an hour before it hit the media and he says it took a while to sink in.

He said: “With Lemmy, you could not see him for five years and it would still feel like you were best mates. I thought I would see him again.

“I was in shock for a while. It wasn’t something we were expecting. I felt an emptiness. There’s a void now without Lemmy in our lives.”

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