Metallica's James Hetfield Gets Inked With Lemmy Kilmister's Ashes

18 April 2024 | 4:06 pm | Mary Varvaris

A “pinch” of Lemmy’s cremated ashes was mixed with black ink, so now, technically, James Hetfield has the Motörhead vocalist’s DNA inside him.

James Hetfield, Lemmy

James Hetfield, Lemmy (Credit: Andrew Boyle, Supplied)

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Metallica singer James Hetfield has paid tribute to his idol, Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, by getting a new tattoo that celebrates Lemmy’s celebrated Ace Of Spades logo.

But there’s a catch: Hetfield had a “pinch” of Lemmy’s cremated ashes mixed with the black ink, so now, technically, he has the Motörhead vocalist’s DNA inside him.

Hetfield revealed the tattoo's existence on Metallica’s Instagram page. The Ace Of Spades logo is on the Harvester Of Sorrow singer’s middle finger, which he conveniently showed off to the world.

“With the steady hand of friend and tattoo artist Corey Miller, this tattoo. A salute to my friend and inspiration Mr. Lemmy Kilmister. Without him, there would be NO Metallica,” the band’s Instagram post caption reads.

Hetfield added, “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.”

Lemmy Kilmister passed away “following a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer” at 70 years old in December 2015. Motörhead subsequently disbanded, with drummer Mikkey Dee saying, “Motörhead is over, of course.

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“Lemmy was Motörhead. We won't be doing any more tours or anything. And there won't be any more records. But the brand survives, and Lemmy lives on in the hearts of everyone.”

Last year, Lemmy was honoured at Germany’s premier metal music festival, Wacken, with the titular days-long celebration (Lemmy Forever). His ashes (clearly not all of them) were scattered across the festival grounds.

Wacken Open Air co-organiser Thomas Jensen said, via NME, “Lemmy coming back to Wacken is an enormous honour for us — words can hardly express how enormous. We will create a place of remembrance for him that does justice to his significance for an entire genre and beyond.”

The statement continued, “There has always been a special connection between Motörhead and Wacken Open Air; hardly any band has played here more often. The fact that his journey also ends here will forever hold a special meaning.”

Last month, Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo toured Australia as part of Infectious Grooves. You can find The Music’s photo gallery here and read what his new bandmate Jay Weinberg had to say about working with him here.

72 Seasons, Metallica’s 11th studio album, was released last year and debuted at the top of the ARIA Albums Chart in its first week.

In a glowing review of the album, The Music’s Kristen S. Hé wrote: “Four decades after they kicked the doors down in their early twenties with Kill ’Em All, Metallica have come full circle in a way that no one could have predicted.

“Lyrically, 72 Seasons is about how the struggles of one’s first 18 years can reverberate into adulthood. But musically, it’s about reconnecting with their earliest influences and finding new meaning in them once again—with no interest in simply recapturing past glories.”