Enlarge Phil Campbell by Andreas Lawen

Motörhead’s Phil Campbell Shoots Down Fan’s Claim That Lemmy Was a Nazi Sympathizer: “He Was a Historian”


It’s no secret that Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister was an avid collector of Nazi war memorabilia. In fact, anyone who’s ever watched the 2010 documentary Lemmy would have a hard time not knowing this fact; Lemmy’s LA apartment is so choked with relics from the Third Reich that almost every shot has a swastika in it. This fascination also leaked through into his public persona — the original version of Motörhead’s infamous war pig mascot Snaggletooth had a swastika on its helmet (it was later removed from future editions of their self-titled record), and young Lemmy was often photographed wearing swastika necklaces and badges. But now, in response to a fan’s tweet, Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell has come out against assertions that Lemmy had personal allegiances with the Nazis.

As reported by Blabbermouth, a Venezuelan fan recently tweeted the following (translated by Twitter):

“RIP Lemmy…although he had his Nazi tendency, he always seemed to me the best rocker in history…of course after Hendrix, whose assistant he was at concerts.”

This led Campbell to responds, “FYI, Lemmy DID NOT, have any Nazi tendencies. He was a historian.”

This led Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom, who was also Lemmy’s bandmate in rockabilly act Headcat, to chime in, saying, “Phil Campbell is 100% correct & I will vouch for this true statement all day long. Best, SJP.” In response to this, Campbell wrote, “Thanks Jim, we should know.”

Even when Axl and Vince were still here, I’ve always been the biggest Motörhead diehard on the MetalSucks staff (or at least among its editors — I dunno, maybe Sargent D skulled cold ones to “Love Me Like a Reptile” a lot). And at the end of the day, I don’t think that Lemmy was a racist or idolized the Nazis, as the running themes of his work were love, the stupidity of hate, and the universal power of rock and roll.

But in my old age, it bothers me a little more. It’s the Snaggletooth one that really gets me. Line your wall with antique daggers all you want, but when you put a swastika on the helmet of your band’s mascot? Feels a little driven. That said, the swastika was removed from later editions of the album, and Lemmy notably stopped wearing them later on in his career, so maybe he was a dude who used to court that kind of bullshit, and eventually realized that that was not a message with which he wanted to be associated.

Anyway, Campbell and Slim Jim certainly DID know Lemmy better than us, so hey, believe them first. Check out the tweets below.

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