Lemmy may have shuffled off this mortal coil three years ago but his life remains among our culture’s richest repository of batshit crazy rock stories.
To wit – this week in an interview with Landry Audio (us neither), guitarist and drably-monikered Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian recounted the tale of how Lemmy nearly lost ‘a couple’ of toes to diabetes, yet managed to dodge the surgeon’s scalpel the old fashioned rockstar way – by being a belligerent entitled arse.
“He literally almost lost a couple of toes, because when he was in the throes of figuring out the diabetes and all that, a couple of his toes went black from bad circulation and all this,” Scott recalls, at a stroke putting everybody within earshot off their lunchtime chocolate bar.
“He goes to have the surgery done and he’s sitting in this office and he’s smoking a cigarette. And someone [quite reasonably] tells him, ‘You’re not allowed to smoke in here. What are you — crazy? You can’t smoke in this office.’
"And he said, ‘Well, if I’m gonna fucking lose a toe, I’m gonna have a fucking cigarette.’”
It’s that kind of thinking that leads to semi-mummified extremities, but anyway do go on.
“And long story short, they said, ‘You can’t smoke in here.’ And he said, ‘Well, then I won’t be in here.’ And he left.”
Here comes the best bit.
“He ended up seeing another doctor, and they literally told him, ‘You just need to change this or this in your diet, and your feet are gonna be fine.’ And he changed his diet, and he didn’t have to have his toes cut off.
“A cigarette literally saved him from having a part of his body amputated.”
So there you have it, kids – when in doubt, light up a snout.