What the Ace of Spades Meant to Lemmy?

Lemmy, the man who defined a generation, was a gambling man. His Ace of Spades album has successfully captured his passions.

Motörhead ‘s Love for Online Blackjack as Seen in Ace of Spades

‘If you like to gamble, I tell you – I am your man,’ Lemmy Kilmister sings in the generation-defining Ace of Spades, the opening song in the eponymous album by Motörhead. Now enjoying himself in the great rock’n’roll beyond, Lemmy was one of the most iconic musicians for a number of generations. Above his love for music, Lemmy was also known in online blackjack, and blackjack in general. He even wrote Ace of Spades as a way to dissect the human psyche and tell you with unrivalled expertise what it meant to be a gambling man.

Was Lemmy a Gambling Man?

True, Lemmy had his own quirks and perhaps foibles, but he was always portrayed as a kind person who just wanted to get on with his life and hang at the Rainbow Bar & Grill in Los Angeles. In fact, Lemmy even bought an apartment right above the bar so he could spend his days having a good drink himself when he was off touring and chatting with whoever came his way.

And yet, one of the lasting legacies of Kilmister seems to be the Ace of Spades album released in 1980 that still sounds as if it were released today. It’s a difficult album for so many reasons. What it does immediately, however, is to introduce you to the man who Lemmy truly was.

There are stories of love and mistakes being made, a perhaps unsavory addiction to gambling and even a smack of ambition in ‘Live to Win’. Ace of Spades is the Almanac of every old rascal who carried a good heart and was loved by everyone.

‘You win some, lose some, all the same to me,’ Kilmister sings in the song and then continues to deliver with heart-felt accuracy why people gamble in the first place ‘The pleasure is to play, makes no difference what you say […]’

What a remarkable insight right there in the first song. While Lemmy is no Dostoyevsky, he still tells universal human truths, playing fine riffs off his guitar, and that’s simply beautiful. ‘I don’t share your greed, the only card I need is the Ace of Spades…’ sums it up all – Lemmy isn’t after money or fame. He loves life and everyone in it. Plain and simple.

Live To Win

We all have our crosses to bear, and Lemmy is open about his, ‘Hey baby you’re a sweet young thing’ the text of Jailbait goes. Is Lemmy inviting dangerous passions to dictate his actions? So it would seem, and yet his passions have only been constrained to music, or so it would appear.

Ace of Spades runs the full gamut of titles and life’s all strange encounters. In Fire, Fire, Lemmy talks about revenge. He asks for ‘a light’, and when refused, he states ‘I am a match for you’. The unmistakable fast-paced rock continues to fill the song as Kilmister goes on to defy anyone who is prepared to listen ‘You can’t put me out, […] You ain’t nowhere near safe with me’.

Despite all odds, and Kilmister knows about odds, having played so much Blackjack in his time, Ace of Spades isn’t about the ramblings of a rock’n’roll dinosaur who has a few unfulfilled passions. Lemmy could come across as uncouth for his lyrics, but there is a lot of emotion with each line, and all the songs on the album talk about love.

In ‘The Chase Is Better Than The Catch’ Lemmy admits that ‘I love you baby, love you too much’. And yet, the defining feature of this album is passion – unbridled and undirected. Lemmy throws himself at life and claims his fair share of it. It seems like Lemmy would have approved of his late passing. And while we spend time missing him and re-listening the brilliant Ace of Spades, just keep in mind that he has said: ‘I don’t care, I get my share.’

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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