The story of how Lemmy started wearing bullet belts

27/03/2021 Articles Share

Lemmy Kilmister was the very first  musician in rock n’ roll and heavy metal who used bullet belts as a part of his image. He started the trend that became widespread in heavy metal. You can see him wearing these on band photos that were taken before Fast Eddie Clarke and Phil Campbell joined the band.

Venom is another band that can be seen wearing bullet belts. Other thrash metal veterans such as Megadeth, Sodom, Destruction and others did the same since their image had to be as intense as the music.

In his book White Line Fever The Autobiography while talking about his work with Lita Ford, Lemmy gave a precious little detail about his bullet belt:  “I’d known Lita since 1975, when she was in the Runaways – at their first gig in London, Joan Jett wore my bullet belt". (page 138)


In a Motorhead documentary - Motorhead - The Guts and the Glory , Fast Eddie Clarke stated: It’s a Saturday morning, I’m lying in my bed in my flat, there was this banging on the door, like the door was going to cave in. It was eight in the morning, I’d just gone to bed. So I jumped up and when I get to the door, there’s Lemmy standing there. And he’s got a leather jacket in one hand and bullet belt in the other. And he hands them to me and says: You got the job! And walks off! It was fucking classic, man! I’m there in my underpants, thinking: Fucking great! I was over the moon!

Lemmy recalled getting bullet belts in a 1999 Reality Check interview: “Yeah, guy came into the house, I don’t know…I was living with a copule of the [Hell’s] Angels at the time and the guy came around the house with these…he was a Vietnam vet and he had these belts of like…the cartrages from Vietnam that have been used for practice ranging near the mall chrome and made it up into belts so I bought one of them for seven pounds. How sad, he was over in the same month. Real Vietnam story boys and girls, my word. How interesting…"

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Credits: Keith Morris

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