[Books] White Line Fever: The Autobiography by Lemmy Kilmister

The difference between an authorized biography and an un-authorized one lies in the appeal of the « truth ». The un-authorized biography should contain more controversial elements but will also run the risk of containing half truth whereas the authorized one will have been checked for elements not too pleasing to the memory of the artist, be her/him alive or dead. In reality, an authorized biography like The Dirt, Motley Crue retelling of their excesses and abuses, would be intolerable if a writer had added more raw material to a festival or orgies, depression and dramatic accidents. On the other, un-authorized biographies that i do not dare to name because they were so bad (but also because they were in french and are probably no longer in print) were exercised in fan-boyism without any merit other than to provide the publisher with a set of pages to put on the shelves of a few fan. A cash brag if you will.

White line fever lies somewhere between the two as Lemmy tells the story of his life, makes excuses with people he has hurt along the way and chastise ex-members for the crime of being either ego driven, maniacs with no sense of direction in their life or just ill fitting for the Motorhead machine. Therefore, the appreciation of the biography will be determined by how much of a fan of the man you are since the book is told in a style close to the man’s own voice. It is however precisely what makes this book so entertaining is that it feels like an evening spent with Lemmy, listening to his war stories, laughing at his many digressions and crying with him at the many regrets the man had towards woman he wishes he had said more to or friends he would like to reconnect with.

Published in 2004 by Citadel, twelve years before the man’s passing, the volume still feels like the man’s reflection on his past life and less like the enthusiastic retelling of past glories while awaiting to experience more. If Lemmy wasn’t completely honest to the reader, he was still honest to himself as he does not try to sugarcoat his life of abuse and their consequence on his life. Therefore, even if the book is not the complete truth about Motorhead, there are a couple of life lessons to get away from it such as you can be a blunt old man who uses all the wrong word but still not be a bigot, or never to bring your family on tour if you want to build a good team spirit in a band. Musicians, fans and just people looking for a sincere book from one of Rock and Roll’s legend will welcome this experience. A touching volume from every long haired’s favorite uncle, grandad, or unknown father (you never know).

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