By Jonah Kondro
An old co-worker and friend has spent tens of thousands of dollars on stereo technology to listen to old vinyl albums. I’m not quite that hard core about my stereo. I do, however, have a pretty decent array of equipment for blasting out tunes at home. I’ve put in serious amounts of time in front of the speakers listening to the big names of music (I’m sure by now my neighbours have pulled out a lot of their hair).
My own musical taste includes many of the classic rock ’n’roll artists. My coffee table usually has an array of CDs scattered about. Some albums get listened to every once and awhile when a certain mood descends my spirits; others only come out on the weekends; and some never get put away.
Elvis performed a lot of good tunes; so did Chuck Berry, Little Richard and The Beatles. That list is epic in its own right, but it also leaves out many eminent musicians that have transformed millions of rock’n’roll fans.
I seem to think that after a passing glance, my exterior appearance would reveal that I’m a fan of Motörhead. Band inspired tattoos and a black denim vest with logo patches gives that trivia answer away. The artists and groups I’ve listened to have changed many times throughout my teenage and young adult life, but my love for Motörhead has been kept up with thes ame enthusiasm I experienced when I first listened to the Ace of Spades album.
Listening to Motörhead is like eating haggis: it’s not for everyone. The lyrics, instrumental styling, and Lemmy’s Marlboro infused voice mash together to form music that has blown a few sets of my speakers—the same speakers that Elvis, ChuckBerry, Little Richard, and The Beatles get played through.
Any work by a modern philosopher can be spiralled back to the great thinkers: Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato. A little bit of research shows that Lemmy’s musical influences are attributed to the great rock’n’roll musicians that came before him. Just like how my copies of Joyce, Steinbeck, and Palahniuk sit among my philosophy textbooks, my Motörhead CDs get stacked with the great rock’n’roll albums I listen to.
You don’t have to take a philosophical stroll through the courtyard of an Athenian academy to have been influenced by Plato, nor do you have to stand in front of flood lights, Marshall Amplifiers, and a stage to be influenced by Motörhead (but it helps).
There is an argument out there claiming rock’n’roll hasn’t been the same since Buddy Holly died. I simply think that the influence of music has spread and swelled to create genres upon genres of new listening pleasure. The literary impacts from the first thinkers and writers keep propagating new prose; and the shudders from Lemmy’s Rickenbacker bass guitar will reverberate through impressionable new musicians.
On December 28, 2015 Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister died of an aggressive cancer. He was the front man of Motörhead and heliked to play rock’n’roll. Philosophers have their rhetoric and musicians have their lyrics.
Immortality comes to very few.