A couple of days before the opportunity to chat with Phil came up I was digging through the vinyl singles in a second hand store and came up with a copy of Persian Risk’s ‘Calling For You’ in what looked like pretty mint condition – that single from 1981 of course predates Phil’s 32 years as a constant in Motorhead, but it is one of those real coincidences that make you feel the Rock and Roll gods are looking down on you. It’s a shame they couldn’t do anything about the phone connection as we both change rooms and change phones before we get started.
Mark: Hi Phil how are you.
Phil: I’m very good thanks.
Mark: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to The Rockpit today, before we start I have to tell you about what happened last week. I was in a second hand store and stumbled cross a copy of “Calling For You” (a 7” single by Persian Risk, Phil’s old band) and then a couple of days later I got asked if we wanted to catch up with you and check in to see how the album’s coming along.
Phil: You found it in a shop! We only printed a thousand of that there were only a 1000 ever made. That’s great. The line’s a bit dodgy this end, you’re sounding a bit like a tremolo pedal!
Mark: I shall move we’re in an unfamiliar room at the minute.
Phil: I’ll move into another room my end… that’s better in this room.
Mark: You’re back in the studio at the moment recording the debut ‘Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons’ album – how’s it going?
Phil: We’ve done with it now, we did the first three mixes yesterday and its sounding brilliant, so we’ve just got to finish the mixes now and then it’s done.
Mark: Who’s producing?
Phil: Romesh Dodangoda (Motörhead, Bullet For My Valentine, Bring Me the Horizon etc.) is producing, he’s a local guy from Cardiff, he’s done loads of records in the past, he did my guitars for Motörhead on ‘The World is Yours’ album, as when my Dad got sick I had to fly home from L.A.so I finished my guitars with Romesh, he’s pretty talented, an amazing lad.
Mark: So you’re recording this one locally?
Phil: Yeah, I didn’t want to go travelling because I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment with a few different things, so I didn’t want to go too far. So we went to the famous Rockfield Studios in Monmouth in Wales and that’s only about an hour away. We went there for three or four days to do the drums and then a couple of weeks ago we were back to the studio in Cardiff. So it’s all Welsh produce!
Mark: It’s great to be able to do that back home! Is there a working title for the album as yet?
Phil: Yeah we’ve got one, we have one, it’s just that I’m not allowed to say anything! I’d need to check with the record company. But it is a great title!
Mark: And the rumor is it’s going to be out round about the start of February, is that a possibility?
Phil: I heard January. It won’t be long now, it’ll be in your hands before you know it.
Mark: Even better! Are we looking at a similar sound to the EP? Pure gritty real Rock and Roll?
Phil: Because of all the touring involvement I think it’s gonna be a bigger sound I think. Everything will be bigger but it’s still Classic Rock with elements of punk in it. But it’s fantastic best album you’ll hear in the next ten years! Honest to god, it’s huge the sound!
Mark: And what’s it like working with your sons in the studio?
Phil: Oh I’ve been working with them for years on various projects, we’ve had the studio ten or fifteen years, but it’s good, everyone contributes, everyone helps write riffs and comes up with ideas. With Motörhead a lot of it was left to me to come up with different things. Mickey would be polishing his cymbals…
Phil: … Lemmy would be playing on his machine. And I’d be there fucking sweating!
Mark: (laughing) brilliant!
Phil: Then they’d be looking at me every ten minutes asking if I’d got anything yet!
Mark: That’s a wonderful image, a great description, I hope it wasn’t like that for the whole 32 years!
Phil: Cymbal polisher! (laughs)
Mark: 32 years with Motörhead and now on the verge of releasing your own project it must be interesting times for you, has it given you a real lift to get out there and play some of those Festival stages with your new project?
Phil: It’s been brilliant and it will definitely be a milestone to see my name on the front with the band and everything. But it’s been a year you know- we’ve done four stadium shows with Guns ’n’ Roses in the summer in front of 100,000 people so we’ve achieved a lot this year. I was going to retire after we finished Motörhead but they won’t let me retire, and this is a good way not to retire.
Mark: It certainly sound like you’re having fun. Are there any of your influences that you think we’ll ear coming through on the album?
Phil: I don’t know and it’s a weird question when you’re too close to it. I’m sure that they’re there somewhere but that’s for other people to find out. I just wanted to make a great record but I’m sure all the influences are there in the way I play today, everyone’s in there somewhere but I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint any.
Mark: Take it all the way back for us – what was it that made you realise that music was going to be your life? Was there a defining moment or a gradual realisation?
Phil: I got loaned by my cousin the Jimi Hendrix in the West live album – just eight tracks and I thought it was the coolest music I’d ever heard. I attempted feebly to strum along on a few guitars with not many strings on them, and it started from there basically.
Phil: Going back to that single you were talking about ‘Calling For You’ single that Flying V I was playing on there, the guy I sold I to years ago, which I regretted, he’s been in contact with me so I can swap it and I can own it again. I played it the other week but I never thought I’d ever see that guitar again.
Mark: That’s incredible I can’t believe that I just found that single and you just found the guitar you played on it! It must be a sign!
Phil: How much did it cost? One of the German fans about 15 years ago paid 300 euros for that.
Mark: I paid two dollars.
Phil: (laughs) that’s about $400! And I can guarantee that we only ever had enough money to print a thousand, I remember that. That’s great.
Mark: I’ll have to go back to see if I can find the others now!
Phil: (laughs) we’ll see you down-under hopefully soon OK? Nice talking to you.
Mark: Definitely mate. You too.