The Essence of Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Essence of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Worth It
Aug 17, 2011
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I recently had the opportunity to catch the celebrated documentary, clinic Lemmy, focusing on the iconic master of heavy metal. This 63 year old rock veteran is still kickin’ out the jams and living like there’s no tomorrow.

As the one remaining founding member of Motörhead, Lemmy is renowned for being the central influence behind some of the biggest heavy metal bands ever (Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeath, etc…). The film features countless members from these and other bands, all praising Lemmy for his contribution to the culture of rock and roll. From David Grohl to Alice Cooper to Ozzy Osbourne, the number of A-list rock stars is staggering. It’s also a serious testament to the legacy of this rock icon.

Lemmy is a well-paced and balanced rockumentary following it’s namesake as he hangs out in his packed, little apartment in downtown L.A., frequents the local watering holes and does the odd tour here and there. The perspective we get is that this seemingly bad-ass, mother-$*@*$ is really just a straight-shooting Brit who has lived life the way he’s chosen and he really doesn’t care what anyone has to say about it. His honesty is refreshing because he’s not out to hurt anyone. He is who is and he makes no apologies. Why should he? He’s not out to bash anyone’s name or talk trash. He’s humble. He’s eccentric. And he still rocks like nobody’s business. We also see that he is a man with vices. But, then again, we all have our demons. Most of us take great lengths to keep ours hidden. Not Lemmy. He really doesn’t care what others think of his gambling, boozing, etc… To be honest, there’s a level of integrity in how he lives.  Far more integrity than most “holier-than-thou”s who would wag their collective finger at him for living a so-called debauched lifestyle.

I suppose Lemmy, the film, is more about the heart of rock ‘n’ roll than anything else. The live-and-let-live approach to life. It’s that part in all of us that wants to stand up against oppression of any sort and say, “It’s my life and I’m going to choose how to live it.” Lemmy, the man, is just the perfect vehicle through which to study the essence of rock. This documentary does an amazing job at just that. While, on the surface, it studies one man’s life, and we learn plenty about him, it is ultimately an examination of rock and roll. Lemmy has no fireworks, sparkle or polish. It is a straight-forward look at one man and his impact on a sub-culture. It’s the perfect reflection of Lemmy himself. What you see is what you get. And what we get is excellent.

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Craig the Critic

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