Phil Campbell (musician)

Last updated

Phil Campbell
Campbell performing in 2011
Background information
Birth namePhilip Anthony Campbell
Also known asZööm
Lord Axsmith
Born (1961-05-07) 7 May 1961 (age 58)
Pontypridd, Wales
Genres Heavy metal, hard rock, rock and roll
InstrumentsGuitar, piano, backing vocals
Years active1979–present
Associated acts Motörhead, Persian Risk, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, Phil Campbell's All Starr Band
Website ,

Philip Anthony Campbell [1] (born 7 May 1961) [2] is a Welsh rock musician, best known as the lead guitarist in Motörhead from 1984 to 2015. The band disbanded upon the death of founder and frontman Lemmy. He currently tours with his own band Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, featuring his three sons; Todd, Dane and Tyla.

Motörhead English rock band

Motörhead were an English rock band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, who was the sole constant member, guitarist Larry Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox. The band are often considered a precursor to the new wave of British heavy metal, which re-energised heavy metal in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Though several guitarists and drummers have played in Motörhead, most of their best-selling albums and singles feature the work of Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor on drums and "Fast" Eddie Clarke on guitars.

Lemmy British singer-songwriter

Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister, was an English singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the founder, lead singer, bassist, and primary songwriter of the rock band Motörhead.


Early life and career

Campbell was born in Pontypridd, and started playing guitar when he was 10 years old, inspired by guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Jan Akkerman, Michael Schenker and Todd Rundgren. At the age of 12, Campbell met Lemmy after a Hawkwind gig and asked him for an autograph. By the age of 13, Campbell was playing semi-professionally with a cabaret band called Contrast. He later played with a pub-rock band called Roktopus (not to be confused with Rocktopus) at gigs in and around South Wales. He bought his first Les Paul in 1978 at a New Year's Day guitar sale at a shop on Ealing Broadway, London. The guitar was later stolen.

Pontypridd town in Wales

Pontypridd is both the county town of Rhondda Cynon Taf in Wales and a community. Often colloquially known as "Ponty", it is 12 miles (19 km) north of Cardiff.

Jimi Hendrix American guitarist, singer and songwriter

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His mainstream career lasted only four years, but he is widely regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in history and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music".

Black Sabbath British heavy metal band

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.

In 1979, Campbell formed the heavy metal band, Persian Risk, playing on their 7" singles, "Calling For You" (1981) and "Ridin' High" (1983). Compilation albums have been issued which feature some of his work with Persian Risk.

Persian Risk are a heavy metal band from the new wave of British heavy metal era formed in 1979 and hailing from Cardiff, Wales. The brainchild of ex-Stoned Soul Party guitarist Phil Campbell, he recruited vocalist Jon Deverill, second guitarist Dave Bell, bass player Nick Hughes, and drummer Razz. The group was active until 1986. In 2012, the band was re-activated by vocalist Carl Sentance albeit without the involvement of any other past members.


Phil Campbell live at Reds, Edmonton, 2005 Phil-campbell-03.jpg
Phil Campbell live at Reds, Edmonton, 2005

On 8 February 1984, following the departure of Brian Robertson, Motörhead held auditions for a new guitarist, narrowing the candidates down to two guitarists: Michael "Würzel" Burston and Philip Campbell. Though Lemmy had first planned on hiring only one guitarist, he hired both Würzel and Campbell upon hearing them play together.

Brian Robertson (guitarist) musician, songwriter

Brian David Robertson is a Scottish rock guitarist, best known as a member of Thin Lizzy and Motörhead.

Michael Richard Burston, commonly known by the stage name Würzel, was an English musician, who played professionally for three decades. He played guitar in British rock band Motörhead from 1984 to 1995, playing on six studio albums and two live albums. Burston died at the age of 61, following heart complications.

On 14 February 1984, Motörhead were the musical guest for The Young Ones episode "Bambi". One of the band's most popular compilations, No Remorse , followed shortly, it was released on 15 September. Campbell has since toured the world with the band and has remained a constant member of Motörhead, despite a number of changes to their line up over the years.

<i>The Young Ones</i> (TV series) British sitcom

The Young Ones is a British sitcom, starring Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Christopher Ryan, Alexei Sayle, written by Mayall, Ben Elton and Lise Mayer, and broadcast on BBC2 for two years, from 1982 to 1984. The comedy focused on the lives of four students and their landlord's family focused on different plots that often included anarchic, offbeat humour. Comedy often included slapstick gags, visual humour and surreal jokes sometimes acted out by puppets, with episodes also featuring a notable selection of guest stars, and a musical number from one of the noted performers during the programme's broadcast period.

<i>No Remorse</i> (Motörhead album) 1984 compilation album by Motörhead

No Remorse is a compilation album by the band Motörhead, released 15 September 1984, covering their years under contract with Bronze Records and including four newly recorded tracks.

On 28 December 2015, band founder and sole constant member Lemmy died. The following day, drummer Mikkey Dee announced that Motörhead had disbanded, stating: "We will not be doing any more tours or anything. And there will not be any more records. But the fire survives, and Lemmy lives on in the hearts of everyone." [3]

Mikkey Dee Swedish musician

Micael Kiriakos Delaoglou, known by his stage name Mikkey Dee, is a Greek-Swedish rock musician and multi-instrumentalist. He is best known as the drummer for the British rock band Motörhead from 1992 until the band disbanded in December 2015, due to the death of founder and frontman Lemmy. Dee is currently the drummer for the German rock band Scorpions with whom he became a permanent band member in September 2016.

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons

On February 2016, Campbell entered the studio along with Slipknot percussionist Chris Fehn to record a new solo album. [4] [5]

In November 2016, his new project Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons released their first recording, a self-titled EP. [6] The band has subsequently performed in supporting slots with Guns & Roses, Hawkwind, Saxon, and Airbourne.

In August 2017, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons announced that they were to start recording their debut album. [7] On 26 October 2017, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons announced the title of the debut album as The Age of Absurdity, which was released on 26 January 2018 on Nuclear Blast Records . The album was produced by Romesh Dodangoda. [8]

The band's line up for the album features Phil and his three sons, together with former Attack! Attack! vocalist from South Wales Neil Starr. [9]

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons released a cover of Hawkwind's "Silver Machine" on 21 April 2018 for Record Store Day. The track was previously available as a bonus track on some CD versions of The Age of Absurdity. [11]

Personal life

Campbell resides in Pontypridd, Wales with his wife Gaynor and their three children: Todd, Dane, and Tyla. [12]


Campbell at Wacken Open Air 2013 with Framus guitar Phil Campbell of Motorhead at Wacken Open Air 2013 02.jpg
Campbell at Wacken Open Air 2013 with Framus guitar

Campbell uses an LAG Explorer Signature model [13] guitar both live and in the studio, fitted with two Seymour Duncan humbuckers [14] and a single (volume) control. He also uses DBZ, Charvel, Caparison, a couple of Framus Custom Shop guitars on stage, [15] with an occasional acoustic Dean. He has also been known to play ESP, PRS, Minarik Infernos and a Parker Nitefly guitars.

He also uses guitars built by luthier TC Ellis. So far, Ellis has built him a Les Paul-styled, [16] a Stratocaster-styled, [17] and one modelled after Lemmy's custom-built Rickenbacker 4004. [18]

Phil also has a very Bender Distortocaster built by UK luthier Brian Eastwood (only around 46 were made and hard to find outside of USA & Japan)

Like Lemmy, Phil uses Marshall Amplifiers and Cabinets when playing live, currently using Marshall JVM410H, JVM410H-JS, JCM 900 4100 and 1959RR heads. In the studio he has been known to use Line 6, ENGL, Bogner and Laboga Amps. Earlier in his career he occasionally played Gallien-Krueger amplifiers. [19]

He mainly uses Dunlop pedals (Micro Amp, Micro Chorus, Phase 90 (Script or EVH), Carbon Copy, Smart Gate, Slash Octave Fuzz & 95Q wah), strings (10–46) and picks (.88).

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  1. "Philip Anthony Campbell". AOL Music. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
  2. "Philip Anthony Campbell". Allmusic . Retrieved 20 December 2008.
  3. "Mikkey Dee: 'Motörhead Is Over'". 29 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  4. "Slipknot's Fehn guests on Phil Campbell solo album". TeamRock. 9 February 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  5. "MOTÖRHEAD Guitarist PHIL CAMPBELL's Solo Album To Feature Guest Appearance By SLIPKNOT's CHRIS FEHN". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. 8 February 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  6. "Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons".
  7. "MOTÖRHEAD Guitarist's PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS Begins Recording Debut Album". 18 August 2017.
  8. "WATCH: Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons premiere 'Welcome To Hell' video".
  10. "WATCH: Phil Campbell gets emotional 'every day' about past members of Motörhead".
  11. Day, Record Store. "Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons - Record Store Day".
  12. "The Big Interview: Phil Campbell". South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales). 12 October 2002. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  13. "Phil Campbell – Motorhead (Legend!)". LAG Guitars. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
  14. "Phil Campbell". Seymour Duncan. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  15. Moseley, Willie G. (November 2002). "Philip Campbell – Decibel Level Be Damned". Vintage Guitar . Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  16. "Phillip Campbell of Motorhead Playing a TC Ellis Guitar". YouTube. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  17. "Phil Campbell Time Solo on TC Ellis Guitar". YouTube. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  18. "Phil Campbell of Motorhead playing a TC Ellis Lemmy Inspired Guitar". YouTube. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  19. "Interview with Phil Campbell – Motorhead". Retrieved 20 December 2008.