Motörhead just released a new boxset with Everything Louder Forever – The Very Best Of, out this past weekend via BMG. In light of the new release, we’re sharing a Q&A from earlier this year, when the Louder Than Noise…Live In Berlin boxset came out, and Metal Contraband’s Chelsea spoke with longtime Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell about the release, plus his own band Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons. Check it out below. 

Our main focus is of course, the Louder Than Noise…Live In Berlin Motörhead release, so to start things off, what are your thoughts on this particular show being released in audio/visual form now?

Yeah, we were looking through a lot of audio tapes and everything, and we found some interesting things. We recorded most of the shows, we didn’t visually tape every show, but when we listened back to the audio of the Berlin show, it just sounded really, really killer, so we checked the footage out and everything. So we’re really excited. I think it was the last show in Germany of our little group of shows that we did – Germany’s always been good to us, Europe’s always been good to us. We thought it was about time to put out something new for the fans. 

Absolutely, and I read that this was about 12,000 people, and one of the biggest German audiences you had ever had – Motörhead was always filling arenas, of course, but I suppose this was a particularly large one for you guys. 

Yeah, it was probably the biggest indoor place we may have played in Germany! There was lots of people there. I didn’t count them all individually, but about 12,021, lots of eyes.

Live In Berlin is actually the second live release to be released since we unfortunately lost Lemmy. How is it for you to revisit live shows through these releases, and do you find yourself reminiscing on the tours at all?

I miss Lem every day, you know. He’s in my mind all the time, I still get a great thrill out of listening to us live. Believe it or not, you could count the amount of bad gigs we had on one hand, you know? We were always pretty much on fire with the live shows and everything. It’s just a shame that we can’t do it any longer really, but you try and think of the good times rather than the reality of it, really. But it’s good music, it’s going to be there for many years to come. We left a good body of work, I think.

Absolutely! It’s solid, and there’s so many fans helping to keep the Motörhead spirit alive, as well as what you guys are doing with all the new releases. There’s been a good amount of new releases since 2015, you had the live albums, the boxsets, a cover compilation. And it’s cool that there still seems to be things out there to be uncovered and released.

Yeah, there’s going to be things out there, it’s just that we’re not spending 24 hours a day going through everything for six months. When we come across something, me and Mickey, we’ll have a chat about it and try and make some decisions, and just put stuff out which we think our fans will really like, without giving them the same stuff over and over again. We want some urgency in the music, and some balls, make sure it’s all sounding ballsy. So yeah, it’s quite interesting, we listen back to stuff, and you can’t even remember playing it, or you can’t remember that you this song live. There’s still lots more stuff to sift through, there’ll be varying degrees of recording quality in that, but I’m sure there’s lots of really top-notch recordings around, just got to get to them. 

And that’s something to look forward to on the part of the fans, whatever you come across, you share with us, and it feels like we become part of that experience and those memories. And about the recording quality, I don’t think anyone is worried too much about that, if you find something that’s not been released before, cool old demos or live recordings, I don’t think anybody’s going to say, “oh, but this is not a top quality production”. *laughs*

But I do. 

Ah, good point. 

*laughs* So, you know, you can let a few things slide, but if something goes out, we’ve got to live with it for the rest of our lives. So we try and make sure it’s up to our standards and everything. 

Now, we’ve been saying that this show in Berlin happened to be a particularly notable night for you to commemorate on the CD/DVD set, but what have been some of your other favorite destinations to tour in the past?

All over the world was a blast, we went everywhere from South America to Russia to Japan, and New Zealand, the fans have always been fanatical wherever we’ve gone, really. At the end of the day, we’re really just kind of in a building or in a field, so we enjoy it everywhere, really. I don’t think any of us have ever mentioned our favorite countries to play in. If the people cheered, we were quite happy with that. But everywhere was really good. 

That’s awesome, and a great attitude to have towards it too, you give an equal experience to everyone, wherever you are. 

Exactly, we’re just happy to get on stage and play. 

Now, outside of this live Motörhead release, there’s plenty going on for your end of things as well, the best part about having a band called Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, is that it’s actually your sons. So how did that first come about, were you just like, “oh, it’d be fun to jam together”, or did you guys more formally plan out to actually start a band?

Well, we got together about 2 or 3 years before Motörhead finished. My eldest son turned 30, so we booked a venue for his party down in Wales, and obviously, we were all there as a family, and we had borrowed the band’s instruments, and my son’s friend, Neil Starr, who had his own band Dopamine, he was there, so we went up and did a few songs. That was fun, just some cover songs. Then we did a couple more gigs, I think we did one at Bloodstock Festival, and I was still playing with Motörhead then. We were called Phil Campbell’s All-Star Band, we couldn’t think of anything else then. Sadly, when Motörhead finished, when I had a chance to get over that, I had a lot more time on my hands. Then we decided to change our name and write some cool original material, and it kind of went on from there. We’ve done an EP and two albums now, and we’ve played stadiums supporting Guns ’n’ Roses, and lots of arenas and we’re building it up, you know. We’re playing bigger places up by us, with ourselves headlining now, you know? It’s great fun. My kids are amazing musicians, they’ve been in lots of other bands as well, great bands. But they’ve never gotten the recognition they deserve, so at least we’ve playing to respectable crowds now. We’re just looking forward to some shows happening now, maybe, and playing some of them songs from the last album for the first time. Because we had 13 original songs from the last album we put out in November, but no shows yet, so we’re looking forward to doing some of them later this year. 

You mentioned the Bloodstock Festival, and I saw that you guys are planning on playing some festivals this summer, Bloodstock being one of them, Steelhouse is another, and honestly, that’s great news to see that some shows are being scheduled, and so far, planning to go on. 

Yeah, we just got two or three festivals in the summer booked in the UK, and a UK tour we’ve got booked for November. We already had to cancel all of last year, like most artists. We had our busiest year last year as well, we were going to be busy for nine months out of the year basically, and we didn’t do anything *laughs*. We did an album though, we wrote and recorded, thank god we did that, otherwise it would have been a complete write-off. We recorded, wrote, and released a new album, so we’ll see, yeah. Bloodstock’s not til the end of August, I think there’s a couple of other festivals in July, maybe, so fingers crossed. We’ll have to wait and see, as soon as everyone gets vaccinated, the sooner we can get back to normal. 

We’ve all been holding our breath waiting for live shows to come back again, and now there’s some positive signs that they might actually be here later this year. Definitely exciting to think of the prospect of everything kind of going back to normal. 

Yeah, another full year without it is too much to comprehend really, isn’t it? Everything has dragged on for everyone. We need some good news now. 

You also mentioned that you recorded the new album last year, so you were obviously in a lockdown type of situation, how did that change your approach to recording? Or did it not affect you much?

We wrote it in January and February, not knowing it was going to be a lockdown in March, we had a few ideas in from soundchecks last year, and Todd wrote a bunch of songs, ready to present to the band, and I had a few as well. So we got the album ready to record by the end of February, really, and then March became the big lockdown. But luckily, we’ve got our own studio, close to where we live, we own a studio. So we were just going in and taking it in turns with Todd, socially distanced, doing it bit by bit like that. It was done in a way with no pressure on us, no deadline as such. Our plan before any lockdown or anything, like the previous year, was to get a new album out in 2020, so it didn’t affect us in that way. Only the lack of gigs, of course. But it was good for the album, we could take our time and everything. So we were really pleased with the album in the end, I think it’s a belter of an album. 

It sounds awesome, and it’s great because it’s really a rock and roll album and band, first and foremost, but you’ve got some blues mixed in there, a touch of metal, mostly heavy rock, so it seems like a great balance of everything. What were some ideas that went into the new Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons record?

The different generation helps as well. Me being the older generation, and the other boys being in their 30’s, the influences all of us are bringing to the table, you sometimes can’t really put your finger on different things, but we like to think that we know good music. We just try and put it all together to make good songs, at the end of the day. We didn’t actually say this time, “we’re going to do a metal album” or “we’re going to do a blues album”, we just tried to get a bunch of really good songs together. And it turned out great. Over the moon with it, great production, Todd did a brilliant job producing and everything. I’m glad you like it, lots of people have told me it’s a scorcher of a record. We just want to play the damn songs live! 

Exactly, that’s what we’ve got to focus on next!

It’s killing us! *laughs* 

It sounds like you have a lot of great stuff going on with that band, I’m sure it must be fun keeping it in the family, the music bug that you had, you passed it on, so that’s good. And the Motörhead live release, like I said, is great for everyone to experience some of those memories with you, of past tours and whatever future releases you have coming out, we’re all looking forward to that as well. 

Ah, that’s brilliant.

So let’s wrap things up with what’s next for Phil Campbell?

Just waiting to do some shows, I think, and maybe some recording next year. We’ll wait and see, but we’re itching to do the shows now. 

Well, we’re all itching to go to them, so let’s all keep our positive energy up and hope that they’re coming soon. 

Thanks, Chelsea. That’s wonderful, appreciate that.  

Thank you so much for your time today, Phil, it’s been an honor to speak with you. 

You’re welcome, have a great day!