“It scared the shit out of me...” Phil Campbell explains on the first time he saw Lemmy in 1973 playing with British Rock band Hawkwind in Cardiff, GB. Phil was just 12 years old at the time but that first encounter would leave a mark on him that he’d never be able to forget. “I still have nightmares about it! It was a full-blown show and they were at the top of their game then” he says.
“I talked to Lemmy about it many times and he always encouraged me”
- Phil Campbell
Phil Campbell needs no introduction. Famously known for playing his part in the history of the iconic band Motörhead. From his debut performance on Orgasmatron, released in 1986 and recorded at Master Rock Studios in London, to the final Motörhead record released in 2015, Bad Magic. Phil Campbell has developed a truly unique stamp on Rock N Roll over the years with his unmistakable rhythms and riffs. “It could have been better,” Phil says in an interview regarding Orgasmatron. “The songs are great but I don’t like the production on it”.
When Motörhead unleashed this LP into the world, Heavy Metal was reigning chaos across the continents. 1986 was a pinnacle year for some of the biggest Metal bands on the planet. Slayer released ‘Reign In Blood’, Megadeth’s ‘Peace Sells...But Who’s Buying’ was up against Metallica ‘Master Of Puppets, and Judas Priest released one of their most iconic albums to date, Turbo. 1986 was the year that welcomed Phil Campbell onto sacred ground. A path that would see him tour the world several times over, headline Metal festivals around the globe, but more importantly, become Lemmy’s, right-hand musical man. Although Phil missed out on the Ace Of Spade’s action, he helped to forge several incredible Motörhead records such as 1916, March Or Die, Inferno, Kiss Of Death, and the unforgettable 2007 record, BASTARDS. Little did Phil Campbell know that whilst sharing a stage with the likes of Twisted Sister, Alice Cooper, and Judas Preist, he was unknowingly working on his first solo record. A record that would come to feature the aforementioned artists and more.
“I was reading a magazine from 1999 and I’m talking about ‘Yeah yeah I’m doing my solo album’ and this and that” Phil says. “It’s 1999 and I haven’t done any of it so I’ve been threatening to do this album since at least 1999” he chuckles. 20 years after Phil first decided to work on a solo project, he finally gets around to inviting the likes of Alice Cooper, Rob Halford, Dee Snider, and Nick Oliveri to contribute to ‘Old Lions Still Roar’. Phil Campbells debut solo record due for release October 25th via Nuclear Blast records.
You can’t blame the guy for taking so long to put this record together. He was at the forefront of Rock N Roll blazing the loudest noise on the planet with Motörhead for 30 years. “This is something I wanted to do many years before Motörhead finished”, Phil explains. “I talked to Lemmy about it many times and he always encouraged me. It just never came about because we were touring so relentlessly. But I kept the odd idea and riff from way back and never abandoned the idea. Now I felt the time was right to do it.”
As the main rhythm and riff king for the biggest Rock and Roll band on the planet, spanning 3 decades, you’d certainly expect to be greeted with nothing but all-out audio hellfire from a guy that played the guitar for Lemmy Kilmister. A man who once said: “Death is an inevitability, isn't it? I'm ready for it. When I go, I want to go doing what I do best. If I died tomorrow, I couldn't complain. It's been good.” and Lemmy did just that. He stayed true to his dedication to all things Rock and Metal until the day he left us. Phil Campbell, it appears, has every intention of doing exactly the same.
Surprisingly, as Phil points out, his new record opens with the gentlest of songs, ‘Rocking Chair feat. Leon Stanford’. “I’m not sitting in no rocking chair, I’ll be playing in this rocking band” Leon sings. “Obviously, there are some good classic rock songs on my solo debut.” Says Phil. “Yet, there are a few experimental songs that could be seen as a departure from those people who primarily know me from my work with MOTÖRHEAD which I am extremely proud of and always will be.”
This is the most surprising element of Phil’s new record and a very welcome one. He explores the bluesy side of his creativity, much as we saw with Motörheads ‘Whorehouse Blues’ back in 2004. If you’re hoping for some balls out Rock N Roll though, you will not be disappointed. Old Lions Still Roar does exactly what it says on the tin. Veteran Rock and Metal artists doing what they do best, being all out Rock N Fucking Roll. Alice Cooper rips through ‘Swing It’ with his husky vocals and Rob Halford delivers a turbo loving performance on ‘Straight Up’. “In most cases, a musician is more than just one specific style. And on this album, I spread my wings a little bit here and there.” Phil says.
The only other debut solo record comparable to Old Lions Still Roar is Slash’s first solo offering from 2010 that featured the likes of Ian Asbury, Chris Cornell, Iggy Pop, Dave Grohl, and Lemmy Fucking Kilmister himself. Not only has Phil Campbell demonstrated his creative talents throughout his debut record, but he has also proven to be a true testament to what it means to be an authentic and passionate musician. A rare breed of indestructible icons that answer only to the call of Rock N Roll.
Old Lions Still Roar is outstanding! And be prepared to weep when you hear ‘Tears From A Glass Eye’. Lemmy would be fucking proud of this album 100 percent.
Author Bio: AC Speed
I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!
CONTACT ME HERE
...people just like you all over the world make our work possible. Without you, we would not be able to keep our journalism open and free. Your support is vital in keeping our publication independent.
Every contribution, however big or small, is so valuable for our future. Please consider contributing to our passion.