MOTÖRHEAD Guitarist: ‘We’re Not Afraid To Try New Things’

Steven Rosen of recently conducted an interview with MOTÖRHEAD guitarist Phil Campbell. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. What originally attracted you to a band like MOTÖRHEAD?

Phil: Well, for a fact, I could give up my day job, and I’m being completely honest here. I did like the “Ace of Spades” and “Bomber” and things like that and it was cool music I thought. My wife convinced me to send the demo in and stuff like that. I thought, “Oh, well, what’s the point? They’re not gonna call me back.” And one day I came home from work and she said, “Oh, the MOTÖRHEAD people have phoned up.” This was like on a Tuesday and she said, “You need to learn 18 songs by Friday.” I didn’t own any MOTÖRHEAD albums at the time I remember so I borrowed “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith” off of one of PERSIAN RISK‘s roadies. We had a couple of local guys roadying for us for free so I borrowed that and I’m forever indebted to Jonah; his name was Jonah. What did you think when Lemmy also auditioned Wurzel, the second guitarist?

Phil: I think out of about 200 tapes, they got it down and auditioned about half-a-dozen actually but not on my day. I went up for one but I don’t think Wurzel, God rest his soul [was there]. You know, Wurzel passed away last year. I did know about that. It was terrible.

Phil: Yeah. I think Wurzel was a different day who had to travel up from London. And ol’ Lem said, “Can you stay overnight?” I stayed on his houseboat; he had a houseboat on the Thames at the time. I think either Lemmy was goin’ for me, he wanted me, or Lemmy wanted Wurzel or Phil Taylor wanted me. So between Lemmy and Phil Taylor, they each favored [one of us]. I think the second night and I don’t think we played but Lemmy took me and Wurzel out to a club, to a bar, and he left us alone, which was just an excuse really for him to play the pinball machine. But umm, so me and Wurz got it on like and he was listening, actually, and we were saying, “Oh, if he had us both you could do this part and I could play that over that.” Before your father passed away, he was able to experience a lot of your success.

Phil: Yeah, and when my mum was alive they used to come up to London and Hammersmith and everything, yeah, and stay in nice hotels and stuff. I think my mum was still alive and she saw me win a Grammy [winning the “Best Metal Performance” in 2005 with their cover of METALLICA‘s “Whiplash”.] Shit, I can’t remember, but my dad was there when I won the Grammy. He wasn’t with me at the awards and everything, like, but yeah, they saw the success and they were really proud. That’s so cool.

Phil: They were great parents, yeah. They bought me my first Marshall stacks. My father did OK in his later years with his businesses but like early on there wasn’t a lot of money about. But they never made me feel as if we didn’t have any money like they put themselves out. Has there been any change in MOTÖRHEAD‘s style from more recent albums like “Inferno”, “Kiss Of Death” and “Motörizer” to older records like “Hammered” and “Snake Bite Love”?

Phil: We just take every song as it comes. We don’t try to say, like, this album is gonna be, like, really heavy or we’re gonna try something different. Songs evolve as they do. They take their natural time and their natural course and that. We’re not afraid to try new things and everything but sometimes you can feel if you’ve got a basic riff and it sounds amazin’ just have it out basic. There’s no point in trying to fill it up or anything. Sometimes we’ve done it and it hasn’t worked out. I think that all of the albums that we’ve made, every single one has got a lot of merit to it. It may not be the favorite album of the year or whatever. But it’s good stuff when you consider a lot of bands’ albums you could buy in the past you may get three or four really good songs, really good ‘uns, which sell the album and the rest are not so good. But with us we try to make as many good songs as we can to put on the album — no fillers and no filler tracks.

Read the entire interview from


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