Lemmy rocks drugs debate

11th November 2005 at 00:00
He wears an immaculate pinstriped suit with a flower in his lapel, is a justice of the peace, and is known as the gentleman of Welsh Assembly politics.

So when Conservative education spokesman William Graham met up with the tattooed, long-haired, leather-clad rocker from heavy-metal band Motorhead it seemed an improbable meeting of minds.

Lemmy, complete with his trademark cowboy hat, took time out of Motorhead's 30th birthday celebrations to share an anti-drugs platform with Mr Graham at a press conference intended to kick off an anti-drugs campaign by the Tories.

Mr Graham's researcher Paul Williams, an ex-roadie and Lemmy fan, brought the unlikely pair together. And it was not long before their views clashed - especially over legalising heroin.

The Motorhead frontman, who ignored the Assembly's anti-smoking policy, argued that heroin should be legalised. He claimed it would keep junkies away from unscrupulous dealers, allowing the drug to be taxed and regulated.

Mr Graham politely said he had "alternative views" and suggested decriminalisation instead. He also called for "treatment rather than punishment" for heroin users brought before the court.

Lemmy grew up in Anglesey, north Wales, and started touring with bands in 1967. He was invited because Mr Graham believed schoolchildren were more likely to listen to his anti-heroin message than to politicians. Lemmy told journalists he had met many junkies on his rise to stardom.

The straight-talking rocker recalled that a former heroin-addict lover had died from an overdose. He also said he had "grassed" a dealer to police because he hated the drug so much.

Lemmy said: "It turns people into thieves and liars. It removes them from the social circle - all they are thinking of is junk.

But he maintained that heavier policing had failed to beat drugs and there was more heroin on the streets than ever. He declined to make his views known on other drugs.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today