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The Antiplant Band. My Annual Obituary for Lemmy Kilmister

Veröffentlicht am 28.12.2020

Since 2015, the year of Lemmy Kilmister’s death, I have published an annual obituary for the late Pope-meets-anti-pope of Rock ’n’ Roll. Each obituary is dedicated to a different topic, e.g. to Motörhead and feminism (http://joergscheller.de/blog/lemmy-feminism-ambivalence/). This year’s obituary focuses on an even more controversial topic: the role of plants in Motörhead music.

Plants? Motörhead? WTF! Well, here’s some background info. In 2002, I did what I usually did in winter: I went to see a Motörhead show with my girlfriend (what keeps relationships going...). The band played the Filharmonie, a dreary multipurpose hall on the outskirts of the Swabian metropolis Stuttgart. I probably would remember the event as just another Motörhead show, hadn’t there been a detail that still haunts me, even in my dreams: for some obscure reason, a home plant was positioned right next to Mikkey Dee’s drum set. A HOME PLANT. On STAGE. At a MOTÖRHEAD show.

I don’t remember what plant it was exactly (repression, I guess). Maybe a ficus. Certainly something ficusish. In any case, it was a very, very homely home plant. It would have fitted well in Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying. In fact, it was the weirdest thing I had ever seen and have ever seen since. Thinking of this traumatic experience 18 years later, I still wonder: what was the Motörficus all about?

Close to madness, I scrambled through all my Motörhead records today, searching the lyrics and cover pictures for signs of vegetable life. This is what I found out: Motörhead were the ultimate antiplant band. Lemmy's music is about human bodies, animals and machines, about sex, ecstasy and the industrial apocalypse. There’s sublime imagery of the ocean, there’s horror and war stories, there’s anarchist rants against religion, businessmen and politics. Plants, however, hardly ever appear. When they appear, either as erotic metaphors ("passion flower" in "I’m Your Witch") or, surprise, as drugs: morphia ("Lost Johnny"), cocaine ("White Line Fever"), hops ("Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers"), cannabis ("America"). Plants-as-plants? Negative.

Maybe the ficus was a timid attempt to break with the antiplant tradition. To become softer. Greener. More frugal. Fortunately, it didn’t work out.

R.I.P. Lemmy. May all the plants on your grave rot.