Phil Campbell‘s scene is “in his head”. The legendary guitarist of MOTÖRHEAD and of Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons states: “My scene is couch potato laziness right now. With a hint of professional dog walker as well. Nothing bizarre, nothing bizarre… Not at my age. I stopped drinking. So I try and avoid them places. So I make my scene in my head.”
Wise words from Campbell as he reminisces about the last time MOTÖRHEAD were in Australia, with Motley Crue: “The party in the hotel foyer, it was after the last gig. They wouldn’t let me play the hotel piano. So I threw a wine glass, it bounced off a pillar, and it flung stuff into the pond, and I killed two Koi carp. Then I was marched up into the elevator by two, seven-foot bouncers. And I woke up with the biggest hang over you could ever imagine.”
“That’s all you’re getting,” Campbell adds with a laugh.
Nowadays, Campbell’s scene is less dramatic but not less interesting. The Covid-19 outbreak, along with its restrictions, may have stopped the touring but did not stop the creativity and the recording of new music. Campbell states: “We’re okay. I’m still doing recordings for friends and people ask me because we’ve got our own studio and that. It’s just a lack of gigs for everyone, for the road crews and for everyone. It’s just affected the whole world really, so the quicker this gets sorted out the better for all concerned. At least we’ve managed to come out with a killer album this year, 13 brand new songs. So, it hasn’t been an entire washout of a year for us. I’m really proud of this album, and the songs are amazing. The production is massive on it.”
Recorded and engineered during lockdown by guitarist and Campbell’s son Todd Campbell. Pride is evident as Campbell states: “He’s been producing bands for 15 years. He didn’t want to do the first album. He decided to do this one. He knows our playing, and he knows what tones I like more than anyone. He’s the perfect choice. He did my solo record last year as well.”
“Then of course, early March, mid-March all hell broke loose with the lockdown. We went in the studio one of us at a time or whatever was needed. It was totally distanced and we used different rooms. We weren’t rushed so we made the album we wanted to make. There were no deadlines or anything particularly. We were lucky. Yeah, it turned out great. When we had the rough songs done, we’d send it all over to Neil [Starr] for a few weeks to listen to. And then when Neil was ready then he went in the studio and did his magic on them.”
Campbell sometimes has “ideas for subject matter” but leaves the lyrics to Neil. Destroyed was in fact one of Campbell’s. He states: “We wanted to write something in a different key actually. We had a lot of songs in similar keys at one point. So I went in my kitchen and slashed about on the guitar one afternoon. Then we took that one down to the studio and recorded that. Bit of punk, something a bit different. Yeah, it’s one of my favourites, that one. It’s a great bass riff it starts off with, and that sets up the entire song. And Neil did some great melodies, chorus, and the verses on that and really catchy. And yeah, it’s a different groove, a bit more Pink Floyd than punk. It’s a good way to fade the album out I think.”
As for touring Australia, the band has been “in talks”. Campbell states: “Dane went on a holiday but his brothers have never been down there. Neil has been there. Neil did one of the festivals down there, but it’d be great to take the band down and do some shows. And then we’d go to Japan after that- that’s what bands normally do. Australia and Japan, and then go home for a big rest. That’d be great. Australia has some really hardcore rock fans. They don’t suffer fools gladly with rock music.”
Campbell concludes: “It’d be great to come down there sooner rather than later. And keep flying the flag for the Bastard Sons.”
A great flag to fly.
Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons featuring legendary MOTÖRHEAD guitarist Phil Campbell release their new album ‘We’re The Bastards’ via Nuclear Blast on 13th November.
Pre-order your copy of We’re The Bastards on iTunes here:
Pre-save the album on all digital streaming platforms here:
Postscript: Anyone who is a MOTÖRHEAD fan remembers the first time they heard one of their songs. Campbell was forthcoming with their song ;Ramones’, first introduced to me by my brother. He stated, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, we wrote that in the style of ZZ Top actually. Then we just set it up… the music. Yeah, I came up with a thing… Yeah, it was like half the speed, like ZZ top. But then Lem said, ‘Ah, it’s a bit slow so let’s double-speed it’. Put some lyrics on top, and that’s how it came about.”
As for the “double-speed” whilst playing live, Campbell states: “It varies each night, and then sometimes it gets ridiculously fast and everyone’s shouting under each other, ‘You’re playing too fast’ and they say, ‘No, I’m not’ because it’s like a comedy show on some nights.”
The band also launched the sale of an exclusive band shirt last week to help their crew financially through the COVID-19 crisis. Their statement:
“We’ve just released a We’re the Bastards crew t shirt where all the profits will go towards our amazing and extremely hard working road crew during this tough time with no live touring.”
Get your shirt here: https://philcampbell.myshopify.com/
The band’s drummer Dane Campbell has used his time during the pandemic to start his own podcast called ‘Drum For The Song’ which is available from all the usual outlets and YouTube. There are already many episodes featuring great drummers like Matt Sorum, Nigel Glockler, Mark Richardson, Moose Thomas and more. Find it here on Spotify and on Youtube.
The tracklist reads as follows:
1. We’re The Bastards
2. Son Of A Gun
3. Promises Are Poison
4. Born To Roam
6. Bite My Tongue
7. Desert Song
8. Keep Your Jacket On
9. Lie To Me
10. Riding Straight To Hell
11. Hate Machine
Bonus tracks [limited digipak]:
14. Big Mouth (Live)
15. Freak Show (Live)
16. Dark Days (Live)
17. Rock ‘n’ Roll (Live)
Formed in the aftermath of MOTÖRHEAD’s dissolution, following the death of Lemmy Kilmister in 2016, PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS were always going to draw a crowd at any discerning rock or metal festival. Led by one of the genre’s most respected guitarists and completed by his sons Todd (guitar), Tyla (bass) and Dane (drums) and powerhouse frontman Neil Starr, the band emerged onto the 2017 touring circuit powered by a huge amount of good will, a smattering of MOTÖRHEAD covers and a handful of new songs that crackled with passion and swagger. Landing themselves a prestigious support slot on GUNS N’ ROSES 2017 summer stadium run, the BASTARD SONS hit the ground running.
Fast forward to 2020 and, just like everyone else, PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS had to cancel a lot of carefully-laid plans when the global pandemic descended on us all. But as if to confirm their absolute dedication to blowing people’s heads off with thunderous rock’n’roll, the band refused to cancel plans to record a follow-up to their widely lauded debut. Recorded and engineered during lockdown by guitarist Todd Campbell, the second BASTARD SONS album may be just the tonic people need right now. It’s called We’re The Bastards and it’s bigger, better and even more raucously uplifting than its predecessor. In fact, it’s the sound of a great band hitting their stride and buzzing with confidence.
PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS are:
Phil Campbell | Guitar
Todd Campbell | Guitar
Tyla Campbell | Bass
Dane Campbell | Drums
Neil Starr | Vocals