Interview By Crin

I spoke to guitarist Phil Campbell who was masticating a mouthful of egg fried rice and asked about the smoothness of the new album ‘Hammered’ put in context with the more ragged predecessor "We Are Motorhead".

“It gets a little harder to write songs we really like. We don’t make any plans to do a fast album one year and a slow album the next.”

There are no provocative songs on the new album like ‘One More Fucking Time [We are Motorhead], Don’t let Daddy Kiss Me [Bastards] or 1916 [1916]?

“The next one might have all provocative songs on it. We don’t have a life plan or nothing, it’s just the way the songs come out at the time.”

The track ‘Red Raw’ could be taken as a condition one might get after spending a few weeks in a brothel?

“No, actually it’s about something entirely different. I was doing an interview with Lemmy the other day and he came up with something completely different but I can’t remember what it was.”

Lemmy’s lyrics have always reflected War in one form or another. With tracks from past albums titled, Marching off to War, Civil War, War for War and Dogs of War. Do the surrounding images of Battle torn lands and terror fueled events effect his lyrics?

“It does and it comes out of him in some way. It might not come out for two years but a lot of stuff comes out eventually. He’s always been into military memorabilia so things like war interest him.”

After the release of the criminally ignored ‘1916’ album in 1991 and impressive ‘March or Die [‘92], the band seemed to loose their spark on the following ‘Bastards’ [‘93] and ‘Sacrifice’ [‘95]. From an Englishman’s perspective the band was disappearing from view having also relocated to the Los Angeles. Do you think the ‘Bastards’ and ‘ Sacrifice’ albums were weak releases?

“No, not at all,” comes a stern robust.

“I think ‘Bastards’ and ‘Sacrifice’ are as good as any of the others. You say from an Englishman’s perspective? It doesn’t matter where you live. We never sold out to England. Lemmy decided to live in Los Angeles and we decided to record a couple of albums over there. We received a hell of a slagging over here. People said we had sold out but they don’t come round our houses every night for coffee or tea. It doesn’t matter where we live, they just see us live on stage. We could be living in a genie bottle and it still wouldn’t make any difference to us. People say what they feel like at the end of the day.”

I suppose Motorhead have transcended the bullshit and are above the scathing criticisms dished out by the journalists who are either having a bad hair day whilst writing their articles or are just miserable tossers. The harsh criticism that could destroy an up and coming band can’t really touch an established act like Motorhead, would you agree?

“Yeah, we are lucky to be in the position we are in. All I know is every thing we do we do to our best abilities. I am very happy to wake up every day and have this great job. As long as you put your heart and soul into what you do it doesn’t really matter what other people say.”

When you first joined the band in 1984 and suddenly found your self in the presence of Lemmy did you shit your pants?

“No, I was nervous but I wouldn’t say I was shitting my pants.”

What was the first song you played on?

“That was ‘Ace of Spades’ on the Young Ones. [For those who are ignorant of the cult eighties TV show here’s a brief overview. Drugs, anarchistic acts of nonsense and bizarre life forms dwelling in the kitchen sink were the format of each inane episode. It was the forerunner of the equally hilariously violent ‘Bottom’ series. Best viewed after the consumption of much alcohol and many spliffs]

How about the first studio recording you participated with?

“I think that was ‘Killed by Death’ my memory isn’t what it use to be, but I think that was the first track we recorded.”

The last single was ‘God Save the Queen’ originally released by the Sex Pistols in 1977. Whose idea was it to cover this track?

“Somebody suggested we do a cover version for a project when we were in L.A. I wanted to do ‘Suspicion’ by Stevie Wonder and Lemmy suggested we do ‘God Save the Queen’ instead. I didn’t know how it went so we popped into Tower Records and bought a CD. Once I listened to it a few times we just recorded it.”

You have recorded a few covers, Twisted Sister, AC/DC, Ted Nugent and Metallica,

“We have just recorded ‘Rockaway Beach’ for the Ramones tribute album with me on backing vocals.”

It was a sad day for music when Joey Ramone died. Did his death effect you?

“Anyone you know who dies affects you. We were never that close. We were friends but we never knew he was dying so it was a surprise.”

With all the cover songs you have done it's possible we will see an album in the future featuring them all?

“We never have any plans as such. It’s a day to day thing with Motorhead.”

The title of the new album ‘Hammered’, was this something that just popped out of Lemmy's head?

“It's about Hammered-Ali, we are all boxing fans. Mind you I did get a free Rolex in Harrods yesterday.”

How did you manage that?

“I went in and said ‘Hammered-fayed’ and showed the bloke a copy of the album and he gave me a Rolex.”

Not wanting to verify the statement and having my doubts about the tongue and cheek nature of Mr Campbells voice I inquired about the albums cover art as my promo was as usual devoid of any cover art,

“Well, it's got gold bits, black bits and it looks very mean.”

Yeah, I can imagine [not being any the wiser I might add]

The live environment is what Motorhead were born for,

“Yeah, we love playing live.”

With the recent release of the ‘Boneshaker’ DVD featuring the 25th anniversary gig at Brixton, I asked of the whereabouts of Wurzel as I never saw him on stage with the other guests?

“He was there, but declined to play. We are still good friends.”

Like any Motorhead gig it must be a nightmare to compile a set list that will please every one. A gig could comprise of the following and still run over time without playing any new material: Orgasmatron, Iron Fist, Ace of Spades, Overkill, Motorhead, Stone Dead Forever, Bite the Bullet, Bomber, Eat The Rich, Rock ‘n’ Roll, No Class, Stay Clean, Metropolis, Killed by Death, Iron Horse, Dead Men Tell no Tales, and so on. With such a huge back catalogue and the obvious need to appease the fans with older material it must cause internal conflict at times.

“It's very difficult. These days I leave the set list to Lemmy and Mick because they bitch about it so much. I tell them to choose a set and them I’ll throw out the ones I don’t want to play. It’s like a tennis match throwing the list back and forth. We try and play something for every one.”

I have noticed at your past gigs the inclusion of new songs usually amounts to two or three at the most. Will you be airing more from Hammered’?

“Yeah, I think we will be playing four or five songs from the new album on the next tour.”

I also noticed you never play anything from ‘Another Perfect Day’?

“The songs on that album don’t suite our style now. We do play ‘Shine’ sometimes. It was a great album, but that was then and this is now.”

Do you ever tire of playing ‘Ace of Spades’

“No, never.”

After trawling the Internet a few months ago, searching for Porn I logged in Twatt and the search engine came up with Batt. Mike Batt to be precise as I had tapped in the wrong letters. I noticed this ex-Womble had released a vast Rock orchestral album titled ‘Philharmania Vol 1 in 1998, featuring none other than Lemmy doing a version of ‘Eve of Destruction’ with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Other contributors doing likewise classical versions of old chart fodder include, Status Quo, Roger Daltry, Joey Tempest [I’m feeling sick already], Justin Hayward and the ever-ghastly Marc Almond.

“Get away, I’ve never heard it.”

It’s true! I even downloaded it and it's weird shit. Lemmy croons along with a vast array of strings and female operatics. Not dissimilar to the Advert on TV where Lemmy plays the violin,

“He loves getting his finger into all sorts of pies.”

What has been your most memorable gig?

“That would be when my son was born on the side of the stage in 1990. I called him stage right Campbell. He gets confused when he goes to the theatre with all the curtain calls.”

Your worst gig?

“I never remember the bad ones. I saw a Motorhead 2001 T-shirt the other day and I couldn’t recall half the gigs listed on the back.”

Have you ever been too pissed to play?

“I gave up drinking nine years ago.”

Lemmy had a hard time on ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’ [A satirical piss taking show about music on BBC2] Do you think he made an error of judgement going on the show?

“No, I don’t think so. He doesn’t regret it, lets put it that way. It makes no difference to his life. I remember seeing him in the hotel the next morning. I asked him how it went and he told me he walked off the show because of the rubbish they were coming out with.”

Lemmy comes across as someone who doesn’t take much shit. At a few gigs in the past I’ve heard him threaten to walk off stage if any more bottles were thrown at the band. You would have thought a show like ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ would have been the last place he would be?

“Yeah, but he doesn’t regret it. He was sticking up for woman’s rights and just got fed up with all the sarcasm and got up and left. He’s forgotten about it all now. The clip of him waving at the end of the show was taken at the beginning anyway. The producers had a nightmare patching the show up apparently.”

Would you go on the show?

“What, with Mark Lamar and all those twats. Give me something decent to go on and maybe I would.”

I was fifteen when I first heard Motorhead and although my hero-worshipping days are long gone, my son who is fifteen is also a Motorhead freak. I am always finding my Overkill green vinyl album in his room and that’s enough to make any grown man cry.

While the little brat was in his room blasting out Blink 182 [you may sigh, but I would rather that than the dance toss he could have got into] I called him over and mentioned Motorhead were on the phone. Of course he told me to piss off! And stop fucking about, but after I threatened to confiscate his drugs he succumbed to the fact he really was about to talk to Motorhead.

I asked Phil if he would mind my son closing the interview with my last questions concerning the band’s involvement with the WWF wrestling scene in the states.

Although a cab was waiting to Wisk him to Radio One he still had the decency to delay it and allow my son to have a few words.

So the little brat finished the interview with the following questions:

How did you get involved with the WWF?

“My children have been watching the wrestling for years and we got involved that way. We got our manager to get in touch with the WWF and Triple H is a huge Motorhead fan anyway. So that’s how it all got started.”

You recorded a track called ‘The Game’, which is played often at the wrestling events.

“That songs quite Motorhead. Not like the one on the new album.”

That would be the one where Triple H is on the closing track ‘Serial Killer’. Will you be doing more stuff with the WWF?

“I hope so. We are playing at the Restaurant later on in the year. We have a lot of fun and they are great people. It gives us a chance to get across to a wider audience as well. At Wrestlemania our dressing rooms were right next to the girls so what could be better than that?”

With shouts of ‘Cab waiting’ emanating from the mic the interview was ended and Pill went on his way to another round of interviews.

The interview was taken from the www.live4metal.com