Since I turned 14 and my blood turned from milk to battery acid, the soundtrack to my life has been continuously orchestrated by Motorhead. It is the music of late night make out sessions, of class-cutting adventures and of wild nights the bar with my fake ID. On occasion, I was known to play “Overkill” over and over and over on the jukebox, pumping out every inch of air in the room and replacing it with nasty, delicious noise. No one ever complained.
My dear friend Lindsay feels much the same way. This music brought us together.
For those who don't know the story: I met Lindsay Shaver when I was 16 years old, a sophomore. I had just moved from Atascadero to Redondo Beach and was enrolled at Redondo Union High School, where I knew absolutely no one. I had a new home, a new family dynamic, and a newly-shaved head. I wore a Motorhead war pig patch on my jean jacket that I had acid-washed myself. You know, because it was 2004.
Iguess I thought I was pretty tough, or thought that if I pretended hard enough, I could be.
We met in history class. I was reading a zine that had lost any semblance of relevance in the mid-to-late 80s and planning my next escape. Lindsay, who donned an impressively trashy punk rock look, made the first move. We were peacocks among the sea of normal kids and Motorhead was our secret code. How could we not become fast friends?
“You should hang out with me and my friends at lunch. We hangout by THE WALL,” Lindsay said, acting much tougher than what she herself was: A 100 pound girl in heavy eyeliner and a bondage belt. And so, we became fast friends, our “lunch crew” forming a band together. Fierce, multicolored-haired Kerry on vox, Tattiana “Tittie” on drums (yes, she is well endowed), Lindsay on bass and yours truly on guitar, which I plated way too fast, as I was sort of “an introverted extrovert” but did not know this yet.
Motorhead was a huge inspiration, and it was the fast, loud, trashy and repetitious melodies, mixed with Lemmy’s raspy world-weary voice, that gave me strength through that strange first year in Redondo Beach. Lindsay and I blasted “Ace of Spades” as we sped down PCH, on our way to El Burrito Junior. It felt like complete, unadulterated freedom.
To say I was dealing with family and emotional turmoil would be a vast understatement. These moments made all the difference. Maybe if I had been listening to something else, this whole story would be different.
I would spend late nights hanging out with Lindsay (who, miraculously, ended up being my neighbor in Redondo Beach), and she would shave my head, or we would talk about boys and bands. We dreamed. I wanted to be a writer and how she wanted to start her own business. To this day, we are both doing what we said we would. Maybe it was Motorhead's thumping bass and growling guitar that said we could do it, damn whoever got in our way?
This is gross, but totally true: I had a serious crush on this old, tweeked out, grandpa with warts on his face. Like, a romantic crush. Lindsay knew it, because whenever "Jailbait" came on, I would swoon. When I discovered Hawkwind, I nearly died with joy. There was more to love!
When Motorhead hit the marquee at the Wiltern Theater, Lindsay and I were ready. We weren't yet 21, still figuring out life. We lived for the weekend, and this was going to be THE weekend.
With zero tickets but hearts full of hope, we headed out to the show. When we arrived, we saw, to our complete horror, that the gig was SOLD OUT. How could we be so dumb? Hundreds upon hundreds of people were there for the same reason we were. Hears sank. We turned to go.
But the spirit of rock n roll was with us, dear reader.
By some stroke of luck, a random door guy cherry picked our group out of the crowd (probably due to our strange look and my boyfriend's foot-tall red mohawk) and slapped us with FRONT ROW wristbands. Not just front row, but VIP. This was a shocking turn of events.
To this day, I don't know why this happened. It felt magical. My boyfriend at the time was equally stunned, and it was one of the best times we had together during what would become a rocky, 7-year relationship. I mean, his very first tattoo was a big black ace of spades located just under his right armpit. It looked like it was wearing an armpit hair hat. But I am getting into the weeds here. The band meant something different to all of us, but, in general, it meant: LIVE FAST, HAVE FUN, KICK ASS, EAT THE RICH!!!
We did not waste those VIP tickets. In the spacious front row (roped off from the rest of the crazy masses, which included Dave Grohl?), we danced, cried and gawked at Lemmy’s junk as he writhed in the tightest black jeans we’d ever seen. I have seen Motorhead since, but never like that night. We were mere feet away and the band was on fire. We left sweat-soaked and victorious. Life had thrown us a bone!
Flash forward 10 years and Lindsay, always the dutiful friend, had organized an over-the-top bachelorette party for me in L. A. Now we were 26ish, but just as goofy and strangely hopeful. An electricity crackled in the smoggy air. Tonight could be the night. It would be the night. I was going to meet Lemmy.
See, during all my years living in the L.A. area and frequenting Hollywood dives, I had never once met the man. The crazy part: most of my close friends had. Whether it be at Jumbo’s Clown Room strip club or The Rainbow Room or some dank nightclub on a Tuesday night, it was always the same story: "Hey, Lemmy super nice! Check out this picture of us! Weird, right?!"
At age 22 I moved from Long Beach back to the Central Coast and gave up on my dream of running into the cowboy-hatted rocker. Lindsay was having none of this. The itinerary for my bachelorette party was set: After drinks at my friend Leslie’s (she had also ran into Lemmy at Jumbo’s years ago), we would step into our limo and arrive at the Rainbow Room on Sunset Boulevard. Here, Lemmy had his very own "reserved" bar stool since 1980something. This was public knowledge.
Did we find Lemmy? Did I get to shake my rock n roll hero’s hand? No. His barstool was indeed empty that evening. I didn't dwell on it, but, looking back, that would have been then night to give him a kiss on the wart. Right before becoming a wedded wife!
Lemmy would have been glad to know that this group of girls still ripped up the "dance floor" like it was 1981. Later in the night, I DID get a lapdance by a mohawked stripper named Malice, who probably had her own epic Lemmy story. Maybe I should reach out to her and ask...
See, the yearning never left. I'm still searching, still grasping for a mythic creature that represents all of the piss and vinegar in the world.
Better to have loved and lost, right?
It’s the kind of feeling you usually get to experience once, when you’re a kid and your heart is open and searching for something raw and powerful.
It’s the way I imagine some fans felt about Jim Morrison or The Beatles. If you’re lucky, that dangerous, mysterious longing lingers on…long after the “fun” of rock n roll has faded. No one can ever really meet their heroes. That's the point.
Lemmy never faded.
And we're still looking for you, friend.
Hayley Cain and Lindsay Shaver