The proud patriarch of the Welsh Campbell clan, legendary Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell has launched into a solo career with the release of his debut single ‘These Old Boots’, taken from his first-ever solo record, ‘Old Lions Still Roar’ (reviewed elsewhere in this issue). Phil has called upon the likes of fellow ‘Kings of Rock’ Alice Cooper, Rob Halford, Dee Snider, Mick Mars and Chris Fehn, amongst others, to add their unique talents to the new record and will be going on the road with his Bastard Sons for a UK tour that will see them play ten dates nationwide with support from NWOCR heavyweights King Creature. We caught up with Phil pre-tour for some insights into his extraordinary life and career.
In August you released the debut single, ‘These Old Boots’, lifted from your first-ever solo record ‘Old Lions Still Roar’ featuring Dee Snider, Mick Mars and Chris Fehn – how did the collaboration come about?
I just thought they would be the best guys for the song – it’s a great track and they all added their signature sound to it. Chris actually came down to our studio in Wales as he was playing in Cardiff with Slipknot the next day. It was great to hang out with him, as I hadn’t seen him for a good few years.
Your solo album includes guest appearances by other renowned artists such as Rob Halford and Alice Cooper – is there anyone you haven’t yet worked with that you’d like to in the future?
There are loads of people that I would love to work with, but if I had to name just two people it would be Todd Rundgren, who I named my eldest son after, and Jimmy Page. They are both experts in their crafts and if I ever had the chance to work with either of them I would grab it with both hands.
After two very successful releases with The Bastard Sons, why did you decide to record a solo album?
Releasing a solo album is something I’ve wanted to do for many years but I could never find the time. I actually found a magazine from 1999 in our studio that includes an old interview with me and I mention the solo album in that interview! So that means I’ve been talking about it for almost 20 years and it’s great to finally release it. It’s been great to write some songs that I wouldn’t have had a chance to do in Motorhead.
You spent 32 years with Motorhead and co-wrote 90% of the band’s studio output – what are your favourite Motorhead songs and which ones do you most enjoy playing live?
There are so many great Motorhead songs and there are also a lot of cool songs that we never got the chance to play live. I always wanted to play ‘Snake Bite Love’ but we never got the chance to play it in Motorhead. You never know, we might play it one day with The Bastard Sons! As long as you get a great reaction from the crowd that’s all that matters to me.
What were your most memorable experiences with Motorhead?
It was all one great experience and it was a great achievement staying together in Motorhead for all those years.
What changes have you witnessed in the music industry over the years?
Due to social media these days, it seems to be a lot easier to market things which means it’s a lot easier to market crap product too! Obviously the main change has been the decrease in album sales and increase in streaming, which has its pros and cons but let’s not get into that right now…
What advice would you give to new Rock bands and artists who are just starting out?
Write material you enjoy playing, keep your sense of humour, always read the small print and always take proper legal advice. Most of all just have fun in what you are doing and don’t take everything too seriously.
Is it true that you’re El Presedente of the Campbell Comedy Corporation? What does that entail?
It was just an excuse for me to prank people on tour! I had business cards made and everything but unfortunately I think I’ve run out of them!
You were voted No. 20 in a poll of top 100 Welsh heroes – who would be your No. 1 Welsh hero and why?
Any one of the ‘70s Welsh rugby team would be a worthy candidate but I think Sir Gareth Edwards would have to be top of the list.
WORDS : ANNE ESTELLA / PHOTOGRAPHY : SIMON DUNKERLEY