Saturday, June 18, 2011


Lately, while listening to the radioshows I usually listen to (Benji B, Gilles P, amongst others), I hear the word "legend" too much. "The lengendary this, the outstanding that, this cat is pure legend" are words that are coming very often in one's mouth. If the word fits for the late Gil Scott Heron (for example) or for Lolleata Holloway (Rest In Power, both of you), I don't think it fits when one talks about dubstep or electro artists that released the huge amount of 3 twelve inches and/or half a decent album. Put it on the speed of the 2.0 digital life nowadays, or the need to create characters that stand out; but I trully believe that, for most of those cats, the title "Legend" comes far too early. I even know a belgian deejay that hails himself as a legend in interviews and on posters. When I read or hear that, I have to hold my breath not to die laughing.

Real legends are capable of persistance and stamina; real legends reinvent themselves every so often by adding a sustantial element to their carreer. Real legends are key and influential figures in what they create. Real legends stand the test of time. Wankers eventually stand the test of hype. And when, a legend disappoints, it goes down to a very nice souvenir. Like Rakim, for example. Amongst others. Recently, I went to attend a show by Slayer with Megadeth as an opening act. Two of the Big 4 in thrash metal (along with Anthrax and Metallica). Megadeth went down in the rankings and became a nice memory. Slayer stepped up.

So, on thursday night, my better half took me to the movies. Not to any movie, but to a movie whose subject is a real legend. You may have heard about him. He is called Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister. 49% motherfucker; 51% son of a bitch, as the title of the movie suggests. The man's carreer spans almost 40 years. In bands that made the legend in their own game ... Hawkwind, Mötörhead ... I mean, yo !

Those who know me personaly know that I grew up on rock n roll as much as on hip hop, soul and jazz. You also know I've been to 25 (or so) Mötorhead shows. My son has the name Lemmy as 4th name. Yes, I'm a fan. Althought, I don't buy and listen to their albums (except for the "Live at Hammersmith").

His legend starts being the roadie for Jimi Hendrix, but the carreer started a few years before. Playing in small time bands. Someone suggested that the rest in just bonus. Sorry James but I can't agree on that point of view. The rest is where the real legend begins. And it is still in the making. The stamina, the perseverance, becoming an icon. There stands the legend. Not before. Not further. As Dave Grohl puts it : "while the so-called legends are living the big life in the most expensive hotels in Paris, dating top models and sipping champagne, touring every so often, Lemmy is probalbly drinking Jack and Coke on the road and producing another record". Everything is said in that quote. Lemmy keeps on doing what he needs to do, what he does best. So should I ... so should you. Pursuing the need, the vow of integrity, no matter the changes of hype and fashion.

I organise my beliefs in a very pagan way. Around trees and other natural beauties (I prayed when I first saw the Fish River Canyon in Namibia), musicians, authors, film makers. And I firmly believe that concert halls and sport arenas are the cathedrals of our times. Attending a show by the Beastie Boys, George Clinton, or Mötorhead are pagan celebrations in their own right, attend a football game at Camp Nou with the FC Barcelona Cuvée 2009-11 is a pagan celebration in its own right. Going there, watch a movie by, or with, Clint Eastwood, read a book by James Ellroy or Gary Victor is equivalent to going to church in my opinion. And as much as Church can be an institution, those who remain wild and pagan remain the real guards of the temple. By being so, they open the doors, add new ways of doing things, they make the institution move forward. They make the insiders of the institution look back at it and start the process of improving it. Because they are very much looked at and observed.

Hagiographers tend to be very fast at giving one the status of a legend. Especially when one passed away. It is their core business to do so. But looking back at that point of view should lead you to the conclusion thatAs hagiographical as this movie can be, the legend was made before the film makers even thought about making it. And Lemmy is still alive and kicking. Without him, the world of rock n roll wouldn't be the same. It wouldn't have evolved to what it is nowadays. Lemmy is the guardian of the Rock N Roll temple. Because of his integrity. The rest is history.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...