“Most bass players are boring, standing at the back. I’m not like that because I was a guitarist first”: Lemmy, the godfather of heavy rock, on why he switched from guitar to bass

Phil Campbell and Lemmy Kilmister (R) of Motorhead perform live on stage at Sonisphere Festival on July 10, 2011.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

From his beginnings as a guitarist and roadie, through his initial experience playing bass guitar in Hawkwind, to the leading figure in British heavy rock outfit Motörhead, the much-missed Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister had done it all.

His famously filthy bass sound – not, as he revealed to us a couple of years back, the result of any effects, just wide-open mids and volume – isn’t for everyone, but for millions of Motörhead acolytes the world over, it’s nothing less than the sweetest sound ever committed to vinyl.

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.