MOTÖRHEAD guitarist Phil Campbell says that he nearly retired from playing music after the death of Lemmy Kilmister. He also admits it took him months to get over the shock of his bandmate's December 2015 passing, even though he knew Lemmy had been ill for months.
Campbell tells WalesOnline: "I knew Lem wasn't well. I knew the day would come at some point, but it happened so quickly.
"He was playing better in the winter, a few weeks before he passed away, than he was in the summer. I think I started to romanticize, thinking, was he really indestructible?
"When he got up on stage, he rocked like an 18-year-old. Even though it must have been paining him inside, he still did it. It was unbelievable."
He continues: "I had the call saying Lem was not very well at all, and telling us to fly over. But our manager called a day later saying he'd gone peacefully in his sleep. It was all pretty sudden."
Campbell describes the global outpouring of grief as "something else" and adds: "The first three months, personally, I was in shock. I knew MOTÖRHEAD had great support all these years, but the extent just blew my mind.
"After the first three months, I cried more. That was when Lem's death started to sink in and I really began to miss him. Reality kicked in and it was hard to take.
"It wasn't all about playing on stage with him — I miss not being able to call him up. He was such a knowledgable and funny guy. I spent more time with him than I did my wife and family."
The guitarist, who had to miss Lemmy's funeral due to his own ill health — something he says that he was "gutted" about — didn't discuss health issues with Lemmy. "We just talked about the next gig, next song, next album. Lem wanted to carry on and wanted to play.
"He didn't want to sit around the house waiting to die. He wanted to go out on a high."
One of Campbell's favorite memories of Lemmy took place on tour a few years ago. "He called me in my hotel room and said, 'Phil, come down to my room now,'" Campbell recalls. "I thought, 'What have I done wrong now?'
"I was expecting him to say, 'I listened back to last night's tape and you played like shit.' But he said, 'I just wanted you to know, never once in all this time have I regretted having you in the band. You're a good man, Phil.'
"I've been blessed for the life I had with him. I wouldn't have missed it for the world."
Campbell spent the last few months touring with PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS (formerly PHIL CAMPBELL'S ALL STARR BAND), the band he formed with his sons Todd, Dane and Tyla, plus vocalist Neil Starr.
"I was planning on semi-retiring after MOTÖRHEAD finished — but I can't see that happening now," he says. "We're going to have some fun with this. Getting back on stage has been good for me."
PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS will release their self-titled EP on November 18 via Motörhead Music.