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Iconic 80s metal band member reveals tattoo with rock star pal’s ashes

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Iconic 80s metal band member reveals tattoo with rock star pal’s ashes

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Leading heavy metal star James Hetfield of Metallica has shown off his new ink (Picture: Tim Saccenti)

An iconic metal band’s frontman has opted to pay tribute to one of his closest pals, and a fellow musical heavyweight, in a unique way.

Metallica singer James Hetfield has chosen to remember late friend Lemmy by using some of the Motörhead star’s ashes in his latest tattoo.

In a post to Instagram, Hetfield showed off the new design of an ace of spades inside what appears to be an iron cross inked on to his middle finger.

He posed with his middle finger raised to the camera while he pulled one of his trademark faces and also lifted a glass box holding a bullet case labelled ‘Lemmy’ in his other hand.

The US heavy metal band star revealed he had the ink mixed with a ‘pinch’ of his friend’s remains, which he was given after the veteran rocker died in 2015 aged 70.

‘A salute to my friend and inspiration Mr. Lemmy Kilmister,’ he wrote alongside the post.

The finger tattoo is a tribute to Motorhead’s Lemmy, with the singer revealing it was mixed with his ashes (Picture: Getty)
Hetfield declared there would be ‘no Metallica’ without the inspiration of his late friend (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

‘Without him, there would be NO Metallica.

‘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,’ he added.

He said his friend, tattoo artist Corey Miller, helped create the artwork with his ‘steady hand’.

The design appears to be a clear nod to Motorhead’s hit track Ace Of Spades, the title track of their fourth album.

Singer and bassist Lemmy – whose real name was Ian Kilmister – was best known as the only continuous member of British rock band Motörhead, which he co-founded in 1975.

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The band helped pioneer heavy metal music in Britain with a string of albums including 1980 hit Ace Of Spades.

The rocker had suffered failing health since August 2015 and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer on Boxing Day that year, just 48 hours before he died.

Motörhead’s guitarist ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, bassist and singer Lemmy and drummer Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor in 1978 (Picture: Keith Morris/Redferns)
Lemmy, who died in 2015, was the only continuous member of the British band (pictured with Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee)

His Hollywood funeral saw rock leaders including Nirvana and Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash and Metallica members Lars Ulrich and Robert Trujillo pay tribute.

Hetfield is also not the first person to permanently ink Lemmy into their skin.

Marking the sixth anniversary of his death back in 2021, Motörhead’s tour manager and production assistant Eddie Rocha and Emma Cederblad also included him in their latest tattoos.

The British rock star’s ashes are also going on display at the legendary West Hollywood rock n’ roll bar Rainbow Bar and Grill, where they’ll be put inside an urn. 

US rockers Metallica rose to become one of the biggest heavy metal bands in the world after forming in the 1980s.

Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, Rob Trujillo and James Hetfield of Metallica in March 2024 (Picture: Taylor Hill/WireImage)

The title track from their third album, 1986’s Master of Puppets, which brought them their first commercial success, received a major boost up the charts via hit Netflix TV show Stranger Things in summer 2022, when character Eddie Munson (Jospeh Quinn) was seen enjoying an epic guitar solo moment.

The nine-time Grammy winning group, who have released a host of chart-topping albums after finding mainstream success in 1991, have previously discussed how Motorhead influenced their sound.

They clinched their most recent UK number one with 11th studio album 72 Seasons in April 2023, the first time they had topped the charts in 15 years.

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