Flashback: Lemmy, Slash and Dave Grohl Play Rumbling ‘Ace of Spades’
A half a decade before Lemmy Kilmster‘s death last month, the rocker led a couple of his famous fans in a run-through of Motörhead‘s calling card: 1980′s “Ace of Spades.” At the 2010 Revolver Golden Gods Awards, which focuses on honoring hard-rock and heavy-metal musicians, Slash (on lead guitar) and Dave Grohl (on drums) fueled the tune’s breakneck pace with help from Slash’s then-rhythm guitarist Bobby Schneck as Kilmister leaned his head back and growled into the microphone.
When it came to the breakdown, Kilmister improvised. After singing the original lyrics, “You know I’m born to lose, and gambling’s for fools/But that’s the way I like it, baby, I don’t want to live forever,” he goes rogue: “That’s right, babe … but apparently I am.”
Slash then took center stage for a bluesy, lyrical solo that recalls some of his work with Guns N’ Roses – and suggests the influence that Motörhead’s music had on his style – before stepping back just in time for Kilmister to go back into the verse. Grohl, throughout the entire song, is an animalistic mess of hair until the song ends and he and Slash make eye contact and grin at each other, as Kilmister thanks the crowd.
Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian was present at the event and captured a blurry, noisy yet still revealing backstage look at the performance. “I only caught the second half as I was running for the stage from the dressing room,” he wrote on YouTube. “Grohl’s the man!!!”
That year, Grohl presented Kilmister with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and the two met backstage for an interview. “If there’s one band that everyone I know loves, it’s Motörhead,” Grohl said. “[It] doesn’t matter if you love rock & roll, you love Chuck Berry, you love punk rock … ” Lemmy interrupts, “Let that be a lesson to you.”
“Every musician wishes he were you,” Grohl told Kilmister.
“No, he doesn’t.”
“Yeah, they do.”
“Not the lead guitar players.”
“Yeah, fuck them. Assholes,” Grohl says, and they laughed.
Kilmister died on December 28th, 2015 of an “extremely aggressive” form of cancer at age 70. Many rockers, ranging from Ozzy Osbourne to Metallica, offered up remembrances of how the Motörhead singer changed their lives. On New Year’s Eve, Slash paid tribute to Kilmister by again playing “Ace of Spades,” this time with his solo band. A memorial service for Kilmister will stream live on Saturday.