'He and I shared a love of Little Richard' — Dave Grohl's eulogy for Lemmy Kilmister
Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead was farewelled on this day, eight years ago. Dave Grohl wrote and delivered a speech that ticks every box for a great eulogy.
It’s the speechaversary of one of the great rock n roll speeches, and probably my favourite rock eulogy. I’ve said it in other posts, maybe I say it in every post, but speeches are storytelling, and they work best when the sentiment is buried in amongst the stories. Sometimes, you don’t even have to say what the person meant to you, because it’s clear from the story of what they did for you, or you did for them.
Things to watch out for:
How we met stories are a great way to start eulogies;
Repetition of compelling lines (songwriters know a bit about this!) - ‘And in that moment he revealed this gun-slinging, whiskey-drinking badass, motherfucking rock star to be this gun slinging whiskey drinking badass mother fucking rockstar with a heart’;
Rough diamond stories of kindness pack a real punch;
A funny, weird, incredible Little Richard anecdote, that can tee up the tearjerking gospel lyrics to finish.
It is nice to have something formal, a quote, a lyric, a saying, a send off, to complete a eulogy.
Anyway, it’s an incredibly skilful piece of speechmaking, by a guy who is loaded with as much charisma as anyone on the planet. Read on if you’re a fan, or for that matter (especially!) if you’re not.
Speakola newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Latest episode of Speakola podcast: Julia Zemiro and Brian Nankervis
Full transcript on Speakola, or become a paying subscriber to read it here.
10 January 2016, Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery, Los Angeles, USA
The funeral streaming had technical difficulties during the amazing Dave Grohl eulogy. It's worth persevering, and the beautiful, tears-inducing Little Richard finale is in full sound from 7.00.
There’s not enough time for me to tell you how much Lemmy meant to me, and all the amazing experiences I had with him.
The first time I met Lemmy was at fucken Crazy Girls about twenty years ago, and I was walking back from the Mens’ room, and on the way back, I looked to my left and I saw Lemmy by himself in the corner on a video game. And it blew my mind. I knew that I couldn’t just go say something because he was on his own in the corner. On the way out I thought, ‘I have to say something. He’s my hero. He’s the one true rock ’n ’roller that bridged my love of ACDC and Sabbath and Zeppelin with my love of GBH and the Ramones and Black Flag. So I walked up and said, ‘Excuse me Lemmy, I don’t want to bother you, but you’ve influenced me so much, you’re my musical hero. I’m a musician. I play in the Foo Fighters, and I was in Nirvana. And he looked up from the video game, and the first thing he ever said to me, he said, ‘sorry about your friend Kurt’.
And in that moment he revealed this gun-slinging, whiskey-drinking badass, motherfucking rock star to be this gun slinging whiskey drinking badass mother fucking rockstar with a heart, and I walked away thinking if I never see him again, that’s enough, for the rest of my life.