Metallica’s James Hetfield reveals Lemmy tribute tattoo with unusual feature

Metallica frontman James Hetfield has unveiled a new tattoo dedicated to late rocker Lemmy, without whom he declared “there would be NO Metallica”.

Hetfield, 60, shared a photo of the black spade tattoo on his middle finger and revealed that it was completed using black ink mixed “with a pinch of his cremation ashes that were so graciously given to me”.

“So now, he is still able to fly the bird at the world,” the heavy metal singer said.

Hetfield credited prominent tattoo artist Corey Miller, who owns the tattoo shop Six Feed Under in Upland, California and featured in the reality show LA Ink, for the work.

Born Ian Fraser Kilmister, Lemmy was a member of the British space-rock band Hawkwind from 1971 until he was fired in 1975. He was infamous for his hard-living lifestyle that involved chain-smoking and excessive drugs and alcohol consumption.

After he was kicked out of Hawkwind (following his arrest for drugs possession while the band were crossing the US-Canada border), he went on to form Motörhead, named after the last song he wrote for his former band.

In a recent interview, Hawkwind frontman Dave Brock said Lemmy was “aghast” at being fired but ultimately went on to achieve greatest success with Motörhead.

“He was flown back to England,” he continued. “But a year later Motörhead [Lemmy’s subsequent, highly successful band] were supporting Hawkwind! Then he did better than us! And then Hawkwind were supporting Motörhead! But me and Lemmy were on good terms right up until he died. We were always all right.”

In a 2011 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Lemmy, who died aged 70 in 2015 shortly after being diagnosed with cancer, said he believed he would have stayed with the band had he not been kicked out.

Lemmy was kicked out of Hawkwind after the Canada incident in 1975 (Getty)
Lemmy was kicked out of Hawkwind after the Canada incident in 1975 (Getty)

“I did like being in Hawkwind, and I believe I’d still be playing with them today if I hadn’t been kicked out,” he said. “It was fun onstage, not so much offstage. They didn’t want to mesh with me. Musically, I loved the drummer, the guitar player. It was a great band.”

Brock said he and Lemmy remained on “great terms” until the rock musician’s death in 2015, shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer.