No one in Motörhead could claim to be the sensitive type. Throughout decades of rock and roll excess, Lemmy Kilmister’s songs about hard partying and living on the road were about as close to reality as possible, not being that far off from the life he led on and off the stage. That doesn’t always make for the healthiest band environment, and Mikkey Dee remembered just how scary it could get when someone got on Lemmy’s bad side.
Dee had been drumming with hard rock icon King Diamond for years before getting the call to join Motörhead after Phil Taylor was fired by Lemmy for allegedly having a fling with his girlfriend. Though Dee may have been reluctant to join a band that intense, he didn’t miss a beat, matching Taylor’s fills note for note with the same intensity as on the recorded versions of ‘Overkill’ and ‘Ace of Spades’. While Dee had the stamina to keep up with those tempos, he may have overdone it looking on one of their biggest gigs.
When speaking to Drum for the Song, Dee remembers things coming to a head when Lemmy had a cold during a show at Bloodstock in 2011, recalling: “He had an absolute normal cold, nothing dangerous, but he was sick as a dog. He had a fever; he could barely speak; he was in a shitty fucking mood. I said, ‘Lemmy, we have to cancel. You cannot do this show’. And he insisted on doing this show.”
Though Lemmy might have been a warhorse through most of Motörhead’s career, he couldn’t keep up with the normal tempos that night, often venturing to the back of the stage to tell Dee to slow things down so he could keep up. This finally came to a head when Lemmy laid into Dee as guitarist Phil Campbell swapped guitars. As Dee continues: “I had a bucket of ice where I had a towel in, and I took the towel and I fucking threw it right in his face, with ice and everything, and told him to fuck off, and I left the stage.”
While it takes the courage of 20 men to stand up to Lemmy, Dee remembers everything going south after the ice incident, saying, “I walked on stage, and we finished the show,” he said, “but it was horrendous; it was terrible. I was throwing drumsticks at Lemmy; I was throwing towels. He was yelling at me throughout the show. It was just terrible. [It was a] very, very important [show].”
Then again, no amount of petty arguments would slow Motörhead down for a minute. After Lemmy recovered, the next few years brought even more Motörhead albums like The World Is Yours and Bad Magic before Lemmy’s tragic death in 2015. Even though Lemmy might not have been up for that particular gig in Bloodstock, nothing was going to keep him from playing music for the fans. Lemmy was one of the ultimate rock and rollers, and he would rather go out onstage doing what he loved than have to disappoint his fans because of a little cold.