Hawkwind’s Dave Brock reveals why Lemmy was kicked out of the band

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The weathered features of Lemmy Kilmister are inseparable from the heavy metal stylings of Motörhead. The band, formed in 1975, was virtually indistinguishable from the man himself; imbued with a ‘live fast, live loud’ manifesto that would follow the musician until his death in 2015. Although it might be difficult to imagine Lemmy in any other band, it was the space rock of Hawkwind that set him on a path to musical stardom until he was kicked out. 

Lemmy had always maintained that, if he was not kicked out of Hawkwind, he probably would have continued to play with them into his old age, and Motörhead would have never existed. In his autobiography, White Line Fever, he revealed the reasons for the rift between himself and the rest of the hippie rockers, saying, “the band dismissed me for doing the wrong drugs”. Now, nearly 50 years later, Hawkwind’s Dave Brock has shed some light on why Lemmy had to leave.

Brock had formed Hawkwind in 1969 amid the illustrious surroundings of Ladbroke Grove. Since then, he has remained the only constant member within the band’s long and storied career, as they moved from psychedelia to proto-punk, hard rock and, most troublingly, prog.

Lemmy was brought on-board in 1971, proving to be a natural fit for the space rockers. However, his drug habits and wild lifestyle soon proved annoying for the rest of the band, and tensions came to a head in the spring of 1975.

Ahead of Hawkwind’s upcoming tour, Brock spoke to The Telegraph, recounting the disastrous tour that led to Lemmy’s sacking. As they drove through the USA, heading for the Canadian border, Hawkwind’s manager had already warned the group not to have any drugs on them, as a van full of long-haired English musicians would undoubtedly get stopped by border guards.

“I was driving and Lemmy was sitting next to us.” Brock explained, “He’d fallen asleep… he was dribbling a bit. The guards must have said, there’s a load of long-haired hippies in there, we’ll have them. And they opened the car door and Lemmy fell out!” It was then that Lemmy was found with amphetamines on him, leading to a few nights in a cell and some cancelled concerts for Hawkwind.

That was the last straw, as far as Brock was concerned, “He was flown back to England.” Apparently, though, there was no bad blood between the two, “A year later Motörhead were supporting Hawkwind! Me and Lemmy were on good terms right up until he died. We were always alright.”

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