Former MOTÖRHEAD and current PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS was interviewed on the December 2-4 edition of Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the Podbean widget below. A few excerpts follow.
Full Metal Jackie: We're here to talk about PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS (formerly PHIL CAMPBELL'S ALL STARR BAND). The debut self-titled EP is out now. Your band, THE BASTARD SONS, is literally your kids. How does the father-son bond change when you're in a band together?
Phil: "We've always played music together and stuff like that. I have to behave myself on tour a bit more now. I have to be a good boy on tour more; I can't get as crazy and everything. They're the ones that get crazy. I've just gotta watch them getting drunk and everything. It's just really good to play great music onstage. I'm really blessed [to be playing] with three of my kids. All THE BASTARD SONS are my children except for Mr. Neil Starr, who's the singer. And, to my knowledge, he's not my offspring. But the three boys are, yeah. My wife didn't like the change of name from the ALL STARR BAND to THE BASTARD SONS. She didn't speak to me for three days. But it actually wasn't my idea; my kids came up with the idea. So my wife wasn't too pleased with the change of name. But she's getting used to it now, I think.
Full Metal Jackie: Phil, MOTÖRHEAD had a very distinct style. Even though THE BASTARD SONS is a little different, what will MOTÖRHEAD fans like about it?
Phil: "I think MOTÖRHEAD fans, hopefully they'll like the honesty and just the balls-out rock and roll sound. I mean, some stuff's gonna sound a little bit like MOTÖRHEAD, 'cause, obviously, I wrote nearly all of the riffs in MOTÖRHEAD. We're just trying to write good songs, good rock songs — heavy rock songs, heavy metal, heavy rock, whatever. Do some bits and other bits and pieces, surprising ones. Like there's a different track on the EP, there's one that's called 'Life In Space', which is a little bit different, track five, which is a beautiful song. MOTÖRHEAD fans have been amazing, amazing to myself and to the band for years, so we don't intend putting out any shit. I never have done intentionally, and I never will. So we'll try it anyway."
Full Metal Jackie: You've been working on a solo album. How much will the music that you grew up with, like THE ALLMAN BROTHERS and PINK FLOYD, influence the album?
Phil: "My early influences will be well — I should think — they'll be well documented on my solo record. It's not all written yet. I've written about seven tracks for it, but all them tracks, they're all gonna be messed with and stuff like that. Early influences, they stick with you for a lifetime. Speaking for myself anyway, they shape what I do today more than modern influences. Like a certain smell, or a certain moment in time when you listen to stuff. So, yeah, they've influenced the solo record a lot, I think — my early heroes and songs and musicians which I looked up to then. I'm looking forward to getting the album out, finishing it. I don't know what it's gonna sound like yet. I've got a bunch of stuff recorded, I've got a couple of guests recorded. I'm not quite sure. But it's way off — it's gonna take another ten or twelve months — but I'm gonna enjoy doing it. And hopefully people will enjoy it. If not, tough shit. As long as I think it's good, I'll do [it]. As long as I'm pleased with it, it will be a worthwhile project."
Full Metal Jackie: That seems to be how you guys in MOTÖRHEAD had always treated your records and it seems [that you always had that same] attitude. You wrote for yourselves and you never tried to do anything that didn't represent who MOTÖRHEAD always was.
Phil: "The three of us had a vision of what we wanted. And with no disrespect to anyone else, we didn't write for fans, we didn't write for a record company, we didn't write for the managers, we didn't write for our families. 'Cause then you lose the purity. I'll give you an example. Years ago, I'd play a guitar solo and I'd say, 'What do you think of that, guys?' Someone would say, 'Oh, that sounds great, Phil.' And somebody would say, 'Oh, I don't like that.' And somebody would say, 'Oh, it sounds like complete crap.' And you're left wondering: 'What is it? Is it good?' So, many years ago, I decided, just go with what's in the heart and bollocks to everyone else, basically. And that's what we always did. And it was impossible trying to change Lem's [late MOTÖRHEAD frontman Lemmy Kilmister] point of view as well. So it was good. It was a good mix. We did have arguments writing the songs, but that's only because we cared about the music. We didn't have so many fights or arguments. We had a few debates, you could put it that way, but no more than most bands. And it's only because we gave a shit about the music. If we didn't care about the music, we'd say, 'Ah, do whatever.' That's why the band lasted as long as it did — because people appreciated that, or the fans out there appreciated the honesty and the purity and the untampered-with rock and roll sound and songs, I think."
Full Metal Jackie: People like Rob Halford [JUDAS PRIEST], Chris Fehn from SLIPKNOT have already been mentioned as likely guests on your solo album. Who else would you like to be on it?
Phil: "Jimi Hendrix, but I can't see that happening. There's too many to say, really. I couldn't really answer that; we'd be here all night. Luckily, a few of my friends and heroes from — people I looked up to, which some people now will know — friends or close friends, they've agreed to play on it, and I've given them some tracks. I don't wanna say too much at the moment, in case things change, I don't wanna get people too excited. But I'm excited about the record. It would have to be a six-album set to get everyone I'd like to play on it, and I don't think I should be doing that for a first solo album. There are so many great musicians out there, and I'm just happy to be able to record with them."
Full Metal Jackie: Phil, after so many years with MOTÖRHEAD, what's been the hardest adjustment now that Lemmy is gone?
Phil: "Just the day-to-day stuff — just going to his room in a hotel and just saying, 'Hey, Lemmy, are you coming out to the club tonight?' Just hanging out with him, basically. Or calling him up while we're on tour and asking him how he's doing. Just a mate — I've lost a great mate. And also, playing onstage with him every night and shouting at each other for playing too loud. It's a lot, really. I was with him for 32 years. As you can imagine, I spent more time with him than I did with my wife and my family. But we made good music and I have many, many fond memories. That's what happens, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. But he's here with me every day in my brain, telling me to turn it down, or whatever he does."
Full Metal Jackie: Phil, your book of anecdotes and funny stories is in the works. Could you share one of the funniest things that you've ever done that will be in the book?
Phil: "I'll tell you one I did in California, if you're interested. We were playing in the Shoreline Amphitheater, which is somewhere outside of San Francisco; I'm sure you know. There was TESTAMENT, MOTÖRHEAD, HEAVEN & HELL and JUDAS PRIEST. The night before the last gig, we were in Irvine Meadows, and Chuck Billy [TESTAMENT singer] said to me, 'Oh, we're gonna fuck you up tomorrow, Campbell. It's the last gig tomorrow. We've got surprises for you. We're gonna make fun of you onstage.' And I said, 'Oh, Chuck, just go away. I'm in a different league than everybody. You have no idea who you're dealing with here.' So I rented a full-size horse when they [TESTAMENT] were onstage, and I rode it onstage in an orange dress that Ronnie Dio had bought me and a shocking blue wig right in the middle of their set. And [Chuck] bowed down to me then. Yeah, he worships me now, Chuck. And then HEAVEN & HELL were on after, so I had already ordered from a runner 25 USA Today newspapers. So after the TESTAMENT prank, I got changed, did the MOTÖRHEAD set, and I ran straight out into the crowd at the Shoreline, and I distributed a page each to the first 20 rows. And I said, 'As soon as HEAVEN & HELL come on stage, it's the last gig today, just start reading the newspapers.' So HEAVEN & HELL came on and Tony [Iommi] was there, and Ronnie, and all the first 25 rows were reading the newspapers. They looked across at me, and I just gave them a thumbs up and a smile. They knew it was me straight away. I don't think JUDAS PRIEST… It was rumored they wanted to cancel. They were terrified of me, but they did the gig anyway. But that was just an average night. Campbell Comedy Corporation, yeah."