All of our heroes are leaving. I guess we’re at that age; our rock gods are in their dotage and there are no new deities to take their place. The loss permeates our daily existence. I can’t even talk about how rock is dead anymore. We’ve talked the death of rock to death.

I have acceptance. I’ve mourned my neighborhood, my city, my subculture, all of it, for quite a while, and now I’m in a fairly serene mental state over it. I still mutter under my breath at screeching sorority girls when I’m walking through my neighborhood on a Saturday night, but for the most part I know it’s their hood now and that’s the nature of things. I’m old enough to stop taking the cycle of life so personally

This December the world lost the one rock god I knew personally, Lemmy Kilmeister. Many writers have listed his accomplishments and planet-wide influence, his integrity, intelligence, individuality, sense of humor and talent. There will never be another like him and it’s wonderful that much of the world knows it and mourns his passing

I have documented him often in this blog, and friends already know the stories well enough: CSFH toured with Motorhead in 1991 and the band was very good to us. It was a hilarious few months, and I learned more about being a proper rock musician during that brief time than in all my other earth-hours combined. Lemmy took a shine to me in particular, enough to mention a crush in his autobiography. I probably should have gone for it when he leaned in on our second night in London and whisper/growled into my ear, “I fancy you, Raffie.” But he scared me; I liked pretty boys that I could share clothes with and control.

I politely declined.  He didn’t mind; he had plenty of other appealing opportunities, although he never gave up the good fight. We got close as we traveled and remained friends throughout his life. Not enough to speak on the phone regularly, I can’t say I was one of his closest, but enough that I sent him text messages on birthdays and holidays, and saw him and the band when they played New York. After the shows Lemmy usually allowed me and a couple of his other female friends into the dressing room first. He liked the feminine attention; beyond that I think he simply wanted to unwind with people he knew before the inevitable hand-shaking and fielding of repetitive backstage comments and questions from mostly strangers. Whatever his reasons were, he treated me like a queen. He always made me feel special, he often said, “I love you.” upon parting.  I know I am not alone in this experience.

The night Lemmy died I got a call from a mutual friend that he had left the planet some 10 minutes before. The friend wanted to tell me before it hit the public. I felt kind of room-spinny, overwhelmed by the information. I spent the rest of the night skimming the surface of my thoughts and emotions; not allowing myself to drop into the truth of it too deeply. I was afraid of the depth of that emotional hole. The next day I took irrational offense to any facebook post not having to do with him. How could people act normal or pay attention to their dumb food photos when he had died.

I saw Lemmy three months prior, in September 2015 when Motorhead played Jones Beach. He was visibly not in the best of health: the show was short, they didn’t play a lot of the faster songs, and he seemed weary, his energy and body smaller than it used to be. Afterward he allowed only a very small inner circle into his dressing room, about five people, plus a couple of our guests.

Lemmy’s dressing rooms were usually full of his exuberant energy, friends, fans, groupies, and food and alcohol–primarily his beloved Jack Daniels, surrounded by large bottles of Coke. I hate the hangover that comes from that combo but I drank it anyway when Motorhead played. Plus he would always let me nab his own newly made drink and quietly make another one for himself. I liked drinking his drinks rather than my own. It was another unspoken way in which he allowed me to feel special.

This time there was no whiskey, no large tables of food or drinks for a horde. Just some cups and ice and vodka and Lem sitting down, looking weary. He said hi and got his hugs from everyone and we settled in. I poured myself a vodka on the rocks and sat across from him. I put my hands on his knees and looked him in the eyes and said, “How are you feeling?”

He cocked his head and said, “Eh…”

I said, “What are you gonna do?”

He replied, “I’m gonna keep going. Drop dead onstage.”

I said, “Okay, then.” And swung around and sat on his chair with him and took this selfie. I love his sweet and open expression here.


Everyone stayed for some chit chat and photos, but we were all conscious of overtaxing him and didn’t stay overlong. Before we left I looked deeply in his eyes and said, “I love you, Lem. Take care of yourself.” I worried afterward that I was too heavy in that goodbye, my demeanor too indicative of fear about his health instead of upbeat and encouraging. But that was how I felt at the moment and it wasn’t a surprise to him anyway.

Lemmy always saw through the “badass” trappings I put forth and understood a deeper truth. He gave me the original mock up of the 1916 CD cover (sent to him for approval before it went to print) and wrote on it, “To the Slut who is not, from one original to another. Love, Lemmy.” It’s framed and hangs over my bed.

This is a story that only my band and a handful of those closest know. I’m telling it now to illustrate the kind of person he was and why he meant so much to me personally.

I was a mess on that tour. My father had died unexpectedly a few years beforehand and I wasn’t even close to processing it. I had just been through a nasty break up with someone I loved desperately that sent me into a years-long spiral. I didn’t know who I was; I hated myself and was acting out in the usual ways–drinking and smoking too much primarily. And then there’s my personal favorite: numbing pain by using people as drugs.

I couldn’t stand my thoughts when I was alone; I wasn’t comfortable without distraction. And being on tour, even though you’re constantly surrounded by people, is essentially lonely. So I picked the likeliest candidate among our band of travelers to be my tour boyfriend. We weren’t compatible in any real way; no history, no thoughts or ideas in common. He was simply attractive enough and in the right place at the right time. I don’t think he knew what hit him.

It got volatile almost as soon as it began. It scared me and I knew I wanted out after a week. But we were on the road in foreign countries and all trapped together and I felt terrible about being so unprofessional and about bringing this energy to my band. I was willing to deal with anything as long as I could keep it outwardly peaceful and away from my band.

Lemmy and the other members of the band (Phil primarily, sometimes Wurzel and Philthy) and a couple members of their crew would often ride overnight on the Slut’s tour bus. They wanted to be near the girls and we loved watching them pile on with their overnight bags. Lemmy never slept anyway, he would sit with the driver or in the overhead front lounge, watching oncoming traffic, smoking cigarettes, drinking Jack. He saw everything that was happening with me and in quieter moments he chided, always gently. He was never annoyed that I chose someone else, he just rolled his eyes and whispered things like, “You can’t be serious…”

One night he bought a pink pacifier at a truck stop in Germany and left it in my bunk next to me while I slept. I knew it was from him the moment I opened my eyes. I got the message. I wish I’d kept it.

Somewhere in France there was an extremely drunken night exacerbated by the fact that the tour boyfriend was angry at me about an incident that had happened earlier in the day. As we sat in a club drinking, he reached out and smeared my red lipstick across my mouth and up across my face. I took out a mirror, wiped my face clean, and reapplied the lipstick. He repeated the smear. I took a deep breath, took out my mirror and repeated the clean up. He reached out and repeated the smear.

I dumped my drink in his lap and stood up to leave. He stood up and slapped me so violently across the face that I saw stars. Then he took a cue ball off a nearby pool table and threw it at full velocity through a room crowded full of people. It cracked a hole in the wall and stuck there. Someone could have been killed. He was hauled out immediately and I stayed behind to clean myself up and give people a chance to calm him down before we all had to get on the bus again.

I was weepy and Lemmy was furious. I’ve never seen him so angry before or since. He took me into a corner and wrapped his arms around me. I pressed my face into his chest and he said, “No man ever hits a woman. Ever. Not on my tour; not in my presence.” He didn’t tell me that he told me so, that there are consequences to poor decision-making. He didn’t ask me what I did to instigate the fight. He just took over and took care of me and made me feel safe, probably for the first time in years. For a few moments he filled in for the father I desperately needed but didn’t have. At his core he was a gentleman who loved and respected women, and he understood me better than I did myself.

My band generously allowed me to make the choice on how to proceed, meaning whether we fired the guy and hobbled on without him, or kept him on and I had to deal with it. I chose to forget the night and get on with the tour. Lemmy didn’t say much more about it. He knew I’d learned a lesson and I stuck as close as I could to him for the rest of our time on the road. He hated that I kept my glasses on and didn’t dress up on travel days, he regaled us with history lessons, and he sang all the lyrics to Orgasmatron (the song he was most proud to have written) into my ear as we all drank in the back of the tour bus listening to tapes made of the shows each night.

When our record company refused to cough up for hotel rooms on occasion, Motorhead paid for them rather than allowing us to sleep in a cold bus parked for the night. On the last night of the tour the Paradiso in Amsterdam neglected to put in an extension to the front of their stage so that CSFH had room to play in front of all of Motorhead’s extensive gear. Lemmy cancelled the show, causing a full blown fan riot. They set things on fire and broke up the place. He didn’t give a fuck. if we couldn’t play, they wouldn’t play. We had to sneak out of the place with hoodies on and then went out and got way too high on space cake instead.

I will never forget his kindness, his friendship, his wit, and his generosity of spirit. He was a true rock star in every sense of the word. I hope I get to see him on the other side.

I’ve posted this one many times. It’s my favorite, standard bus shenanigans.
Somewhere in France. Just found this one, it feels like a little nudge from beyond.
Backstage convo, standard Kilmeister light reading on the table. 

Update: 1/27/16: I’ve had a few messages regarding the tour boyfriend and I’d like to clarify. He is a great person, we are still friends and there is no ill will. Things just got too crazy. I don’t want to vilify anyone over one mistake they made 25 years ago. 

Lem and Me

I have already blogged a few times about Motorhead and their frontman Lemmy Kilmeister, but after Monday’s show in New York I feel inspired to do so once again, in a slightly more personal fashion.

Every time that Motorhead comes to New York I go through the mental machinations: “Should I buy tickets, who should I hit up for aftershow? Am I going to get to get backstage? Should I call him? I don’t want to bug him. Should I show up at soundcheck? No, that would be too much. How am I going to work this out in the least obtrusive way possible?”

Which is pretty silly, because the man has been my friend for 20 years and he’s never once been flaky or dismissive. But I still don’t trust that it’s real until I’m actually sitting there talking to him. It dawned (once again) that I am an idiot, because each time I come to a show he sends for me afterward for a private audience for a few minutes before anyone else is allowed in the dressing room. It’s just me and whoever my guest is and him, and I get to tell him what I’m doing and hear how he is feeling with no outside interruption. Then he lets everyone else in and people take photos with him and I end up drinking his drink because he is indulgent and I’m too lazy to get up and make my own. I am not telling you any of this to brag, but to explain that I am such an insecure nerd in my core that even with this kind of attention I still don’t feel that it’s true until it’s in progress.

So on the heels of what was a typically killer show and a nice, quiet hang backstage, I thought I’d outline the anatomy of this friendship, which is something I haven’t done yet, either for myself or others:

Cycle Sluts from Hell only did one major tour during our brief career. Our record label dropped us before the record was released and the only professional foray that Sony Records funded prior to that unceremonious boot was one in Europe, opening for Motorhead. We opened for many other famous bands, but Motorhead was the only band that we traveled with for any substantial amount of time.
CSFH sucked the first night of the tour, which was in London. It was a big theater and we were completely green and terrified at having to win over an audience other than our usual enthusiastic New York fans and friends. We stood behind our mikes making minimal movement while the sparse-for-the-opening-band crowd sat back in their seats and stared silently back at us, openly disdainful. The whole thing was dismal and we knew it, but we were still psyched to be on the tour and even more psyched when Motorhead came backstage to introduce themselves. 
At that time the band consisted of Lemmy, Philthy, Wurzel, and Phil Campbell. Each one of them would turn out to be funny and fun and generous in their own way. That night Lemmy handed me a beer and said to all of us, “You don’t have to do that much, but you have to move around. You can’t stay behind the mike like a statue, you have to make the connection with your audience. Just walk to the front of the stage and walk back, that’s enough.” He was right, of course, and we took his advice and stepped out tentatively the following night. 
By the end of the tour we were in sneakers racing back and forth across the stage like the idiots that we were. Lemmy hated the sneakers and told us to get white boots, which we did, and wore as a joke when the band was being filmed in Munich:

Lemmy wore that slut t-shirt because, although we were pretty well received elsewhere, the Munich audience hated us as openers and pelted us with candy. It was his way of showing support. Phil wore a CSFH hat as well,  you can see it throughout the movie.

Lemmy and I felt an immediate connection upon meeting, one of those recognitions that you have with people where you look at them and think, “Oh yeah, you again.” Each member of the band chose a girl to work on, and I got Lemmy. He was relentlessly charming and constantly whispering in my ear. But I had already started sleeping with someone on the tour. I was not a wise soul in those days, and my immediate reaction to feeling uncomfortable in any situation was to grab myself a boyfriend. So I literally chose the nearest available candidate, who turned out to be fairly volatile and someone with whom I had nothing in common. Lemmy knew it was ridiculous, saw exactly what I was doing, and told me as much.

Pretty quickly into the tour I realized that I’d really done myself a disservice by not simply enjoying this time on the road, but I could not extricate myself without hurting my band and creating chaos. I just had to ride this thing out without making waves, and it was not comfortable for me in any way. One night things got particularly ugly and this person threw a cueball across a crowded room and slapped me hard across the face. It was shocking to everyone. I was stunned, scared, embarrassed, and relieved that no one in the room was hurt by the ball, which created a hole in the wall when it landed.

Lemmy was outraged. He was absolutely furious and took me aside and wiped my tears and told me that hitting a woman was bullshit and that I could not allow anyone to do so ever again, and that if it happened again on the tour he was going to step in himself. The next day my band told me that they would support in whatever way possible whatever decision I made, meaning that they would find a way to pick up the slack if I chose to have this person kicked off the tour. Motorhead offered whatever help they could as well.
I simply couldn’t do it to them as friends or as professionals. The tour was such a big deal, and it was my fault; I had made this incredibly juvenile choice and I had to live with the consequences. So I rode it out and it was difficult at times, but it was the right thing to do. And it was a little easier knowing that my band supported me, and knowing that I could confide in Lemmy at any time. He cracked jokes that I had picked the wrong man to sleep with and could still have my chance to amend that error, but he remained consistent as a friend and a confidant throughout that tour. I took comfort in his presence. His advice was always sane and sage, no matter how loaded we were, and we were loaded plenty. Or at least the rest of us were, Lemmy never seemed to flinch no matter what was being consumed. 
One afternoon after a hard night of playing and partying I woke up in my bunk and found a pacifier next to my head. He hadn’t slept and had gone shopping as the tour buses sat on a ferry. I got the message, and I thought it was pretty funny. When his book “White Line Fever” came out I was excited to see that he mentioned me as the Cycle Slut that got away. He didn’t state my name but I knew he threw it in there as a little nod, more evidence of generosity of spirit.
Over the years we haven’t communicated much except for those few minutes after the show. We exchanged numbers a few years back and he sent me a Happy New Year text this year, and recently we had a conversation about a book someone thought he might want to buy. Nothing too deep. A couple of years ago he said, “I love you, you know. You’re family.” And that’s been enough, he doesn’t need to repeat it and I don’t wish to be someone who abuses the privilege of being in his periphery by overloading him with requests for attention when he’s here, or overloading him with texts and emails when he’s not. 

This week I asked, “How is it going? Is it really crazy with the movie making you so popular?” And he said, “You have no idea. It’s nonstop.” I can see it. I work for someone famous in another venue and I see how rabid people get at certain events when she appears. I can’t imagine doing it on a nightly basis with a tour when you have reached the age of retirement.
It’s a good thing, though, he deserves the recognition and the accolades, the movie and the rock stars hailing his every move, past and present. He remains solid throughout, much more than other people I know with much less smoke being blown up their asses, probably because he’s ridden the roller coaster often enough to know that it’s nothing but a ride. I’m simply grateful that I get to play a cameo in the excellent adventure that is his life, and when I watch him onstage, or on film, or in person handing over his drink once again, I feel nothing but love. 

Motorhead, ‘Nuff Said

I know some of you are waiting for the report on the Motorhead show on Saturday, so here’s what I’ve got fer ye:

Made up my mind this time that I was not going to stress out about who didn’t get along with who, and how/if I was going to be a part of any aftershow or backstage hooplah. I knew KEVIN was driving the band to an instore but I didn’t send a message to them through him because I didn’t want to be another clamoring dick. I figured I’d know someone and something would work itself out. I just set my intention for a happy night and left it to the Universe to sort out the details and the passes. And I bought tickets ahead of time rather than try to finagle guest list, because it’s fucking Motorhead and they deserve the money. I had an extra ticket for CID and told her I’d meet her there, VAS checked in and I met her there too.

On my way in the cab I got a text from DANO saying “Kevin mentioned to Lemmy that you’re coming to the show and he definitely wants to see you.” I got another text from someone else saying, “Lemmy wants you there!” Woo hoo! I was already set and wasn’t even out of the cab. Thank you, Universe!

Kevin met us at the door to make sure we got in easily, then ran off to do his job. We went to the back bar and some random guy I’ve never met bought shots for about 6 of us, and then disappeared when we weren’t looking. The Jager Fairy. Although he was pretty big and manly looking, maybe the Jager Genie? In any case he was a nice guy with no agenda and set the tone of the night right from the start.

I’m happy to say the place was jam packed, and the ladies in our group all remarked that we felt VERY popular that evening, with lots of “How you doin’s” and drink offers coming at us from all sides. If I’m ever single again I’m going on the road with Motorhead one more time. Truthfully it was probably more quantity than quality, but still–free booze! Constant compliments! Bring it on!

The band was perfect, of course. The new record has a lot of great songs, and the old songs would make me weep if I wasn’t so busy jumping up and down and shouting the lyrics. I can’t tell you how nice it is to hear the booming bass of Metropolis wash over you when you’ve spent the last two years up to your eyeballs in socialites and hipsters and models in headbands and mash-up dj’s and bad imitations of the already awful Strokes. Motorhead all loud and live like that makes my heart sing, it’s a step into the warm comfort of home, it’s where I want to live, where I’ve always wanted to live, where people like us belong.

After the show Kevin came and collected us and spent the next 20 minutes at the backstage door shouting at various security who wanted to bounce us, “This is Raff and Lemmy wants to see her!” It was a zoo and he was tired and wanted to go home, but he had a mission to complete and would not stray from bound duty. Thank you, Kevin.

The tour manager (who is very cool and who I’ve met before but stupidly always forget his name) came out and bellowed, “Raff and Donna. He only wants to see Raff and Donna right now!” DONNA and I were ushered into Lemmy’s dressing room and were granted an audience with the Lemster in his underwear and socks. This was not a shock to either one of us as this is his standard aftershow ensemble and we saw it every night on the road with MH, sometimes accompanied by a towel around his head turban style. Lemmy’s a clean man and he likes to take a shower directly after playing and before socializing, he’s got good legs and damn it, he likes to show ’em off.

We toasted with some Jack Daniels (of course), Donna gave Lemmy some presents, he gave us tees, and we shot the shit a little. It was really lovely to connect with him in such an intimate setting, and I’m more than grateful for his generosity. He always takes care of his friends. Then Lemmy put his jeans on and Vas (he hadn’t known she was outside) and the rest of the crew came in, except for poor Cid who had had her $3000 chain necklace confiscated at the door because it looked “dangerous”, and was busy trying to retrieve it.

I got totally silly on Jack and Coke, just like I did the last time I was at a Motorhead show. It always seems like a good idea when it’s being offered to you by Lemmy Kilmeister, and then 15 minutes later I’m bouncing off the walls from all the sugar and caffeine. I get very chipper and can’t feel that I’m drunk. I don’t know how he does it.

There was a pretty funny moment when the dressing room door flew open and Steve Poss waved his arms and yelled, “Raff! HELP! RAAAAAAFFFF!!!” as security dragged him away. Poor Poss, knowing him I wasn’t going to get involved in that one.

Lemmy was obviously pretty tired from the show, though. He’s not the youngest of men, although he does still deal pretty well. People were talking about afterparties and I leaned in and asked him quietly, “You don’t really want to go out, do you?” And he said “No. I’m well shagged from the show. I just want to go back to the hotel.” Fair enough, rock star. You’ve done enough for us tonight.

Vas and I said our goodbyes and Lemmy said, “I love you, you know. You’re family.”

And that made my year. Thanks again, Lem. I love you forever.

Turns Out I’m Actually Very Shallow After All

So I’ve been in a horrible, depressed funk all week long and going through all sorts of inner dialogue about what I want and need in my life. Turns out I just needed to get drunk have a good time. Who knew?

Went to Motorhead last night and screamed A LOT. I am a fan of the high-pitched “Wooooooooo!!!”, while my new best friend Corinne favors the more guttural and plaintive, “Lemmmmyyyyy!!” My brother uses the standard male shout of “Yeah!!”. And since we kept making our friend Mike go get the beer he had no time to shout anything but “Corona?!”.

Afterwards I abandoned my friends and family like the shallow rock whore that I am and finagled my way backstage. This involved much trying to look nonchalantly hot while standing behind others more famous than me who did the talking. Once we got back there it was the usual clusterfuck of road crew trying to do their job, rock and roll types blocking the way looking for action, and giant security jerks barking at everyone to move. Good times.

Ended up alone w/Lemmy for a few minutes in his dressing room, I sat on his lap like a good girl and he poured me a jack and coke. We had an interesting talk about his having a vein cauterized in his heart, they had to go through a vein in his leg. Turns out 30 years of constant speed usage can cause arrhythmia. Again, I must use the phrase: who knew?

I told him I think he’s going to just go and go like a motherfucker until he drops one day, and he agreed. I have a friend who said that this is the kind of conversation that everyone dreams of having with Lemmy Kilmeister. I think you just have to catch him when he’s feeling contented. I haven’t had a real conversation w/him for years so it was a nice surprise.

He has three loves—sex, drugs, and rock and roll. And while he’s the coolest guy on the planet, if you’re not providing one of those things he doesn’t have time to slow down for your ass. I’ve never been a fan of speedy powders and he gave up on trying to get me in the sack a long time ago, so it was wonderful to hang alone w/him for a minute. He is not a close friend in the every day sense of the phrase, but I have a great fondness in my heart for him. To me he is the embodiment of rock and roll spirit, and is a true gentleman to boot.

Then it was on to some of the usual bars to meet up with my patient friends, where I continued to drink jack and coke in honor of the evening, completely forgetting that I have a low tolerance for whiskey, sugar and caffeine. So within a very short period of time I was not only completely loaded, but bouncing off the walls like an eight year old the day after Halloween. I was FLYING. Again, good times.

Well, for me anyway: my boyfriend Drew hooked up with us halfway through the night and I could see the terror in his eyes as I spun around the room. That man suffers! He claimed it was all very Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but it’s his own fault. When we first hooked up my brother took him aside and said, “Run, man! Run while you can. You don’t know what you’re getting into. She’s smarter and meaner than you, and you don’t stand a chance!” So he knew what he was getting into.

Anyway, at some point Mike just stopped making any sense but wouldn’t shut up, so I decided to lick his forehead in a sugar and bourbon fueled attempt to affectionately slime some cohesion into his wasted brain. Drew said he wouldn’t kiss me if I didn’t stop licking Mike’s head and Mike just continued to talk nonsense, so eventually that plan had to be abandoned in failure.

We didn’t see Motorhead again that night. There was some talk of them going to Snitch, but I later heard that Phil Campbell and Mickey the drummer ended up at Niagara, and that Lemmy went to Scores w/my myspace acquaintance Rocka Rolla and her girlfriends. I think she’ll probably post a blog later on if you’re interested.

So I am feeling so much more cheerful than I have all week long. Turns out there was no existential crisis, I was just too sober and not getting enough attention from aging rock stars. Maybe all that sugar helped, too. And just when I was feeling all deep and ready to do some very serious blogging…

As I type this, Mike is at his desk at his job with his head in his hands. He claims he has no recollection of the head licking and doesn’t remember what was so all fired important that he couldn’t stop talking about it. Here is the one photo I got from last night. I look absolutely terrible in this one, but Lemmy seems pretty perky, no?

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