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Metallica’s James Hetfield has a new tattoo with Lemmy’s ashes in it

Metallica frontman James Hetfield has shown off his latest tattoo, which is a tribute to late Motörhead legend Lemmy Kilmister.

  • READ MORE: Metallica – ’72 Seasons’ review: metal masters make a relentless return

Today (April 17), Hetfield took to Metallica’s Instagram to show off the tattoo, etched on his middle finger. The tattoo is of a spade inside what appears to be an iron cross symbol – a symbol that Hetfield has incorporated on his guitars in the past. The singer also a tattoo of an iron cross on his elbow.

However, the tattoo isn’t a regular tribute to Lemmy, it also contains the remains of Kilmister himself, according to Hetfield. The Metallica veteran wrote on Instagram: “With the steady hand of friend and tattoo artist @coreymillertattoo, this tattoo. A salute to my friend and inspiration Mr. Lemmy Kilmister. 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.”

See Hetfield’s new tattoo below.

Metallica have been vocal about the role Lemmy Kilmister has played in their history as a band ever since the Motörhead singer and bassist died of cancer in 2015. Hetfield and Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich have stated previously that Mötörhead were the inspiration behind Metallica forming.

  • READ MORE: Ian Fraser ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister 1945-2015 – A Life in Rock N Roll

Speaking on Lemmy’s death in 2016, Hetfield reflected on his influence. “I was pretty distraught when he passed,” Hetfield said. “My vision of him was as a statue of a man that was immortal. When he passed it scared me, like, ‘where’s our captain now?’ He’s been a godfather to us. There’s no doubt that without him there wouldn’t be a Metallica. When he was around, it just felt like things were going to be okay.”

Studio portrait of Lemmy Kilmister (1945 – 2015) of hard rock band Motorhead, United Kingdom, 7th November 2010. (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)

In March this year, it was announced that some of Lemmy’s ashes will be housed at the Rock City venue in Nottingham, as well as at the Derbyshire-based metal festival, Bloodstock. Last summer, it was revealed that Lemmy had more of his ashes scattered in the mud at Germany’s Wacken Open Air festival, following Motörhead playing countless shows there.

In February, it was confirmed that plans to erect a statue of the Motörhead frontman in the town where he was born have been approved by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

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