Motorhead legend Phil Campbell was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio program. The guitarist discussed his newest band, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons and their debut album, The Age of Absurdity. He chatted a bit about his late friend and bandmate, Lemmy, and the Motorhead days as well. Check out the conversation below.
We’re talking about the new album, The Age Of Absurdity which is a real high-energy album. Was there a lot of spontaneity or did you have a clear idea in mind all along for how you wanted it to turn out?
We just, we just tried to write this song by song. I mean just, just you know, amazing. Luckily a lot of – all of the reviews have been on our side, they’ve been fantastic. I think with any good music, I think you just try and write the best you can. We wanted to make a good hard rock album and these things did go out about a life now and everything. But we just planned on writing a good song and then put a lot of good songs together, try and put them in a decent order, so they work and everything, yeah? But no no no, we just try and write good music, you know, that’s the basis of it.
There’s an old adage, never go into business with family. What’s the upside to being in a band with your sons?
Well, at least I can remember their names. No, it’s great. We’ve been playing music together as a family off and on you know, for many years. Like since they’re all– all the kids were like all of five years old. They would have a guitar in their hands or little drum kit and they used to come to some of my pub gigs and sing and now they’ve grown up listening to music around the house so it’s good. We have, I guess just a kind of understanding, a family understanding which is quite undefinable.
If we do have a big disagreement, just one of the drawbacks, then, it’s not like you know, here’s a father and there’s a problem. But it works out great 98 percent of the time. We basically just have disagreements over the music which is good, I think. We all try and chip in, say what we think we need to say to make it a better product.
In addition to The Bastards Sons you’ve also been working on a solo album. Musically what separates that from what you’re doing with your sons?
For my solo album, I had to put it on a bit of a hold to finish writing with the boys and recording the album, the Bastard Sons album. I’ve got loads of heroes of mine and friends on the album which I’m so lucky. I cannot believe that they’ve actually performed on my record. This is different, I’m playing piano on it a little bit, really bad piano, by the way. And I’ve still got a few songs to write on it. I don’t know what it will be like in the end. It will be a bit different.
I don’t know what people expect really, you know. I don’t know. I’ll just wait and see. That’s the excitement of music. You don’t know what’s going to come out the end of the rainbow. I would like, in a perfect world, to have it out sometime 2018, this year, if it’s ready. If not, if not possible, well yeah it’s still going it will come out, it will come out at some point. It’s been a long time in the making. Believe me.
Phil, Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine” is a song very much associated with Lemmy. What made you decide to cover that song as a bonus track?
Well, it’s a great song and I’ve always loved “Silver Machine.” We did it with Motorhead for I think, three to four years somewhere around 15 years ago. I think Lem used to quite enjoy singing it, actually. He didn’t complain that much. The crowd loved it. So when my band came together with the all-star band as it was called then, we just were like a party band doing covers. That was one of the songs I suggested. I still enjoy playing it until this day. And we’ve done a few shows with Hawkwind.
We were lucky enough to play support with them and they were amazing. So we asked Dave one day. We were going to put this on as a special track on our debut album. What do you want to play on it? It was raining that day. By the end of the day, he had done it. He called me up and said, ‘Well I’d done it already Phil. It was raining today. Nothing to do on the farm. So I had done some synthesizer, guitar, and some vocals.’ And we all feel really honored to have Dave on our version of Silver Machine. It’s incredible.
You played in Motorhead in over half your life. What was the biggest adjustment after it ended?
It’s like, I lost my friend. It’s not being able to pick up the phone or tell Lemmy to turn his bass down. That was a bit of a shock, I used to tell him that most days. With Motorhead, Lemmy and myself – we never talked about the end of the band like we talked about the next tour, song or video, the next movie we were gonna watch. It was never an end to it.
We all knew it was going to come at some point. But, luckily we had music as therapy. It all helped. I’m in a great family of musicians with a great wife and everything. It helped get me through it. It was a bit of blur. I used to have my own posh dressing rooms with Motorhead and with The Bastard Sons, we’re not quite there yet. As long as the music is good, that is the main thing. A good crowd, a good receptive crowd and if you’ve got a good band, it’s not really an adjustment. You’re playing to people who really appreciate what you’re trying to do. If it’s in a small venue or massive venue, it’s not a lot of difference really. Obviously, what I’m saying to an extreme, there is a big difference. I think Lem and all these Motorhead members would be proud of what I’m doing at the moment with the boys. I think they’d be banging their beer glasses down to the beat.
Tell us what are the plans for touring?
We just got the album out now, we’re gonna do our own tour for a month. Then in April, we’re gonna do some shows with Ugly Kid Joe in Europe, good friends. Then the usual festivals in the summer, which I’m not quite sure which ones we’re doing yet. We have the Chris Jericho rock and wrestling cruise booked for the end of October, that’ll be a lot of fun. Chris has always been – it’s gonna be a good brilliant of rock and comedy. Lots of other stuff coming in. And we keep writing songs for the band and I’m going to try to finish my solo record. It’s looking pretty busy, we’ve had a great response from people who have heard the album and everything. So, fingers crossed. Usual rock ‘n’ roll day at the office – they last a year.
Thanks to Loudwire.com for the feature.