“So let’s get into it” states Phil Campbell, Motörhead’s legendary guitarist. Phil is talking with me about the band his has with his sons, cunningly titled Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons, new album We’re The Bastards out on November 13.
Phil is exactly what you expect from a old school road warrior in a band that once claimed “if they moved in next door to you, your lawn would die”. He is direct and wry with a voice that has heard it all. Like the mans music, there is no bullshit but there is a lot of class and quality.
“We just want to record and play! We are a classic rock band, not heavy metal, and we write good rock music. That’s what we like and what we do. This new music comes in various forms with some laidback stuff but it’s still great rock music. I’m really over the moon with this album. The production values are massive, it sounds louder than any other album. I can’t wait for it to be released and everyone can get their rocks off.”
The album certainly is loud, combining old school dirty rock on the title track , balls to wall punk on Destroyed to even atmospheric grunge melodies on Waves and Phil is just as enthusiastic about it.
“We’re The Bastards is a great opening track and Son Of A Gun is great too. Waves has got that fantastic chorus. Born To Roam, Desert Song. I like them all I’m not sick of any them yet! We left all the vocals to Neil Starr and he is more than capable of doing a great job. He’s pretty dark with some of the lyrics too, a few dark areas lurking here and there which is pretty cool.”
How does the writing process work with your sons when you have all your experience?
“We wrote it all together, Todd showed up with 5/6 songs which were almost finished, I don’t know how long he had them for. I showed up with not as many as Todd, Tyla is on the bass and he came up with some cool bass lines which became songs and Dane had different drums parts. If everyone chips in with an idea we will try that idea, we don’t just throw it out if we haven’t played it, no one can argue then. If there is a stalemate, and it doesn’t happen very often, then I’m forced into an executive decision in certain matters. Not necessarily about songwriting but with the band that’s how we work, generally a democracy. I don’t like making the final decision. Most things we agree on so it’s pretty cool.”
Phil is brilliantly blunt as you would hope for when discussion turns to the Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame continuous snubbing of Motörhead when I asked ‘do you care?’
“No. I look at some of the people in there and I don’t want to be associated with them. Me and Lemmy went when it first opened in Cleveland and went ‘it’s a bit naff isn’t it?!’ There was a lot of bollocks there and they had token one or two small pictures of The Ramones and it’s suppose to be a rock n roll place? It doesn’t bother me at all, I’ve got a Grammy on my mantelpiece and I’m quite happy with that and various other awards we’ve won. It’s a bit of a joke isn’t it? I don’t know who is making the decisions but it seems they get it wrong every year. I’m not going to lose any sleep about it.”
Motörhead are also dropping a Ace Of Spades 40th anniversary edition of the album. Phil didn’t play on the original album however does he has any input on these releases?
“Yeah we discuss things. One of the songs is a live version of ‘We Are The Road Crew’, with me, Mikkey Dee and Lemmy playing on it, we liked that version so put it on. Some of this stuff could open Motörhead to a new generation.”
Any last words for your Australian supporters?
“Enjoy the album and hopefully when all the Covid bollocks is over we will come to visit Australia. I sincerely mean that cause we know how discerning you guys are for good rock n roll.”
Having spoken to the man, take his word seriously. He’s not here to fuck around, he here’s to play really loud rock n fucking roll.
Interview By Iain McCallum