LEMMY's ashes used for his statue at France's HELLFEST
The legendary Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, founder of MOTÖRHEAD and cultural icon, has had a portion of his ashes enshrined at this year’s Hellfest in Clisson, France within a new, giant statue of the man, and the official ceremony to recognize this unique memorialization will occur on June 23. After the SCORPIONS — whose current lineup includes former MOTÖRHEAD drummer Mikkey Dee — close the show, Dee and former MOTÖRHEAD guitarist Phil Campbell will say a few words, a tribute video to Lemmy will play, and Phil and Mikkey will raise a toast to the immortal and eternally popular Kilmister at the monument itself. The ceremony formally recognizes Lemmy’s love of both the road and the fans, which is where he always felt most comfortable.
Hellfest was one of Lemmy’s favorite festivals (MOTÖRHEAD played the first-ever Hellfest and was a staple of the festival ever since),and the band has always had a tremendous bond with its French rock and roll family. It is therefore fitting that Lemmy will forever be present at the site, with fans able to congregate and pay their respects to him at every Hellfest from here on out. This ceremony will also give fans an opportunity to participate in their own memorialization of Lemmy and see a miniature replica of the custom urn that houses Lemmy’s ashes at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood, California.
Fans who wish to share their own tributes, memories, experiences or pay their respects can post using the hashtag #LemmyLivesAtHellfest.
This year’s edition of Hellfest is taking place over two weekends in June. Hellfest is an annual open-air festival held in Clisson, and one of the biggest metal festivals in all of Europe.
The all-new Lemmy statue replaces the previous sculpture of the MÖTÖRHEAD mainman which was erected six years ago but was reportedly falling apart due to the fact that the plaster, of which it was partly composed, was seriously crumbling.
The upgraded Lemmy statue is the creation of Caroline Brisset, an emerging French sculptor who has exhibited her work in France and Belgium. Primarily inspired by energy over form and viewing the human as a subject of both fascination and fear, she constructs steel works that marry the concrete and the abstract to achieve a dreamlike effect.
Brisset was approached by Hellfest organizer Ben Barbaud last November about creating the Lemmy sculpture and she immediately agreed to get involved.
“I said yes because it was a great project,” she told Ouest-France. “And it was also quite a challenge to make such a big statue in such a short time.”
A smaller Lemmy statue was unveiled at his favorite drinking establishment, West Hollywood, California’s Rainbow Bar & Grill, in August 2016. Fans raised $23,000 to fund the sculpture. That same year, Rainbow Bar & Grill dedicated its patio to Lemmy and re-named it “Lemmy’s Lounge.”
Lemmy, who celebrated his 70th birthday on December 24, 2015, learned two days later that he was afflicted with an aggressive form of cancer. He died two days later, on December 28, 2015, at his home in Los Angeles.
Lemmy had dealt with several health issues in the few years before his death, including heart trouble, forcing him to cut back on his famous smoking and Jack Daniel’s habits.
MÖTÖRHEAD was forced to cancel a number of shows in 2015 due to Lemmy’s failing health, although they did manage to complete one final European tour just two weeks prior to his passing.
In June 2020, it was announced that Lemmy will get the biopic treatment. The upcoming film, “Lemmy”, will be directed by Greg Olliver, who previously helmed the 2010 documentary of the same name, “Lemmy”.
“Lemmy” will follow Kilmister’s life growing up in Stoke-on-Trent, becoming a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and a member of seminal psychedelic rock band HAWKWIND before forming MOTÖRHEAD.
A custom-made urn containing Lemmy’s ashes is on permanent display in a columbarium at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood, California.
In a 2015 interview with Kerrang! magazine, Lemmy was asked how it makes him feel when people call him a legend. He responded: “As long as they don’t believe it, that’s alright.” He continued: “Who wouldn’t want a hero somewhere in their lives? And it might as well be me, ‘cause I don’t take the piss out of them for it, and I don’t laugh at them because of it.” But he added, “I’m not a legend. I never thought of myself as being special in particular. Maybe I make brilliant music, but that’s about it.”
Photo credit (above): Clovis Christian and Caroline Brisset