Lemmy Kilmister is a rock god and a sex legend. So what’s the Motörhead frontman doing at the least sexy (unless you get aroused by very large television sets), least rock ‘n’ roll event on the planet, the Consumer Electronics Show?
Actually, His Metalness’s presence there is something of a gimmick. The bassist-cum-frontman is promoting merch, specifically, a new line of headphones and earbuds called (what else?) Motörheadphones.
And while Lemmy might not be eager to discuss all the gory specs or the fine points of why Motörheadphones are better than, say, Monster Beats by Dr. Dre, he’s more than happy to tell you about CES needing more women, the indescribable superiority of a good vinyl record to a collection of MP3s, and the everlasting value of loudness.
VentureBeat: For the guys who were making the headphones, what specific things did you tell them to do?
Lemmy Kilmister: You want people to hear the mid-range. And we wanted them to be loud.
VentureBeat: A lot of the guys in the rap industry have their own lines of headphones — Dr. Dre, Kanye West. How are these headphones better for rockers, or even better in general?
Kilmister: Because their stuff is so bass heavy that you can’t hear any other instrument. You can’t even hear the drums on some of ’em. And when you hear the band playing, most of it’s digital as well.
VentureBeat: How important is loudness?
Kilmister: It’s important to me because I’m deaf. [Laughs] Rock ‘n’ roll should be loud. It should be allowed to be loud.
VentureBeat: Have you tried them out, and if so, do you have a favorite model? Would you use them in the studio?
Kilmister: I like the ones that cover your ears up so you get total immersion. Those in-ear things — I’ve got the wrong ears for ’em.
VentureBeat: Speaking of the studio, aren’t you getting ready to go record your new album this month? What are some of the songs about?
Kilmister: We’re starting in February. We go in the studio for four weeks and record it. We don’t write anything before; we’re doing other work.
VentureBeat: One big complaint everyone has about CES is that it doesn’t enough chicks — it’s all a bunch of nerdy, white guys.
Kilmister: You’re right. I mean, if you’re a guy, a nerdy guy, even nerdy girls would be better.
VentureBeat: So, you’ve got a line of wine and beer. You’ve got a line of headphones. Is Motorhead selling out?
Kilmister: Nobody’s offered us any money to sell out. [Laughs] We’re taking advantage a little bit; we’re gently draining the market. We’ve got some wine out, some vodka, and we’re bringing out some bourbon. But it’ll be hard to get that in the States; it’s really nailed down.
VentureBeat: You’ve been in the music business for 40 years now. What’s the best or worst thing about having your catalog as digital MP3s now instead of analog records or tapes?
Kilmister: I don’t think that you get the real feel of it through MP3s and things like that. You don’t get the raw power. The sound that comes through MP3s, it’s been sanitized. … I’m against Dolby. Records take up more storage space — they’re a bit heavier — but fuck it.
VentureBeat: Besides Motörhead, what are your favorite bands to listen to right now?
Kilmister: I listen to the old stuff, a little bit of new stuff. I like Skunk Anansie. They’ve got a great girl singer. They’re not metal; you can’t compare ’em to anyone else. They’re not on the radio, either; that’s all controlled, and it’s all the same.
VentureBeat: I’m a bass player and also a frontwoman. Any performance advice?
Kilmister: Just be cool, you know? Wear black — it lasts longer. The main thing is to look as if you mean it. Really commit to it. Give it to ’em straight in the eyes.
When we were in Japan, we met these three little girls. They said, “Hey, Lemmy, we’re in a rock ‘n’ roll band called Thug Murder!” [Laughs] And they’re all 4-foot-6. But they were good!
Image credit: All images courtesy of Motörhead
More: MobileBeat 2016 is focused on the paradigm shift from apps to AI, messaging, and chatbots. Don't miss this opportunity: July 12 and 13 in San Francisco.