humbling and scary, but truly awesome

By Randy Gerritse

Not long after the world lost the icon that was Motörhead's Lemmy Killmister, word came to us that a man named John Wright was petitioning to get an element on the periodic table, a heavy metal to be exact, named after Lemmy. With great success even, many great names in rock and metal already seemed to support his quest to get Lemmium on the charts. We decided to get in contact with John to learn a bit more about this awesome idea.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! We at Metal On Loud Magazine love your campaign to name a heavy metal element on the periodic table after the late Lemmy Killmister from Motörhead!

How did you land on this idea?

Now I must confess that the name Lemmium that wasn’t me, it was a joke a radio guy chucked out on air here in the UK in an item talking about the discovery of the new heavy metals and I thought that’s not a joke mate that’s a brilliant idea.  I shared it with a couple of people and they thought so too so the petition was launched and the whole thing just exploded within a matter of 24 hours.  Anyway a couple of days later we were approaching 100,000 signatures and I got invited to be interviewed on this national radio show where I had first heard the name.  And they seemed a bit annoyed and took great pains to make sure everyone knew they had thought of it but so what I never claimed that I just did something about it. We thanked the guy in public and on our website so its cool.  Anyway the Wright Brothers didn’t come up with the idea of the aeroplane but they were the ones who made it actually become a reality, so we think it is what you do with ideas that makes the difference

The idea really went viral! What big rock and metal names have contacted you so far to pledge support?

Personally no one directly but I’m not sure it works that way, we have had support stuff online, particularly Duff McKagan and Phil Campbell but it has been great to get encouragement from the likes of Dave Mustaine, Dee Snider, Billy Idol, Matt Sorum and a host of metal bands such as Kraptor and Sixx AM.  We are now looking to talk to their management companies to see how they can get more involved in the campaign.  There is still a number of people we would love to get involved but I am not going to name them but watch Lemmy The Movie and the memorial service on Youtube and you can probably guess which A listers we are stalking!

The amount of attention this project gets shows how much sympathy Lemmy has created in his lifetime. What were the most awesome responses you received to this project?

Obviously people would expect to say the ones from the rock and metal royalty and they give you us massive boost, particularly as everyone involved on the campaign is working for free but for me it is the messages from the fans that I find really awesome.  If you are Dave Mustaine and you want to talk people are going to listen – same with those with massive followings online. So we decided early on that if you have something you want to say about Lemmy, Motorhead or the campaign we will post it.  Obviously you can’t post all of them but where people make an effort and do something from the heart we will always put stuff up on our site and who knows maybe a rockstar will Retweet them.  The most awesome response is without doubt the trust people have put into us to do this right, it is humbling and it is scary but it is truly awesome.

For you personally, what makes Lemmium the perfect name for this element?

Basically two things – firstly it is just the coolest name and it sounds like a metal already so that should be enough in itself but secondly because it makes people smile and it gets people talking, particularly about science,  The world needs young people to engage with science and technology, they love the gadgets but the subjects or more to the point the teaching is often a big turn off for people.  We think we can help make science a lot more engaging through our work developing some really cool stuff.  We are already working on stuff now for our website with some wonderfully creative people

How many signatures have you gathered so far?

As of today we are at 152,674 and it is still growing, a bit more slowly but when you have gained 30,000 in a day you can really see the power of social media and people sharing stuff.  

What will the process look like to get this name on the periodic table?

Basically the team that discovered the element get to propose the name and obviously we will be encouraging them the choose Lemmium but before that can happen we need to get a slight change to the naming rules so that is the main focus of our activity. We need to get the science community behind us so if you are studying or teaching Physics or Chemistry please can you get in touch through @lemmiummetal

What can the community do to help you out? How can we make this happen?

We really hope that people keep signing it.  It will run until the end of February and it would be wonderful to get somewhere close to 200,000 so put it in front of everyone you know – thing is with Lemmy he actually appealed to lots of people that would have never dreamed of listening to Motorhead.  He was an icon and I guess that is why so many people want to do something.  There is loads of work in the campaign to do particularly fundraising.  We don’t want to ask for people to just give us money we want them have a good time remembering Lem so we want bands to put on fundraiser gigs to help raise funds for the campaign. So if you are in a rock or metal band or you know someone who is why not get in touch at makeithappen@lemmium.org

How big do you think the chance is you actually make this happen?

We have a chance because they have to name it something and there is a choice to be made here about whether you play and safe or you try to do something different that will engage an awful lot of young people that might otherwise be turned off the subject.  Obviously we will be pushing for that but who knows all we can do is make the argument

If you succeed, what's next? Dionium? Dimeium? We would sign for those petitions too!

Now theres an idea!  No if we pull this off I will write a book telling people how we did it and then hand it over to them – one global campaign is enough

Any last words for our readers?

Thanks for reading this – love the mag and if you haven’t already join us on Twitter @lemmiummetal, our Lemmium Facebook page and our website www.lemmium.org.  Get involved!

Thank you for your time John, we will keep following your progress with great interest!

Metal On Loud!

Randy Gerritse