21 Questions with Phil Campbell of Motorhead

There is one band that exudes the legendary status of hard rock like no other.  motorhead_logoMotorhead has been blowing ear drums since 1975.  Phil Campbell, Motorhead’s longtime guitarist, joined the band in 1984.  He has appeared on 15 studio and 4 live albums. On July 26, Motorhead will be making their first appearance in Korea (along with the Foo Fighters) at the Ansan M Valley Rock Festival.  Their new album, Black Magic, will be released on August 28th. Mr. Campbell was kind enough to answer Korea Guitar’s 20 Questions.

(NOTE: The questions for this very special installment of 20 questions were written by a group of Motorhead-heads  in Daejeon, South Korea.  Question credits are listed before each question.)

1. Who inspired you to play the guitar?

Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore.

2. What was the first guitar you ever owned? 

A very cheap copy of a Gibson Les Paul

What are you playing now?

Now I’m playing: LAG Explorer, Framus Panthera(custom made)
Caparison, Gibson Les Paul, Jackson RRS, Dean Zelinsky.

3. Do you remember the first gig you ever played?

I think it was in a Brass Band, I was 13 years and I played the drums.
I played in a band called Fate and I remember that I had to carry the Marshall amps more than 2 miles over the field. I played in a cabaret band called Contrast as well , the hardest rock we played back then were Bay City Rollers covers.

4. How do you warm up for a live show? What’s your pre-game routine?

I have no warm up routine, just show up at the gig, wait until it’s time to go on stage and play the best I can.

Phil RJP8000 2010
Phil Campbell

5. From Nolan Riley – What’s the hardest thing about being on tour?

Being away from home.

What’s the best thing about being on tour?

Playing shows live and sightseeing in the places we’re playing.

6. From Nolan Riley – What’s one piece of equipment you can’t live without?

Reading glasses, fart machine and my guitars.

7. From Van Walker – What process do you use when building a lead for a song? Is it just “spur of the moment” or do you map your solo out?

It is more spontaneous than anything else. I just try and the first try is mostly the best.

8. From Jude Falcon– Why do you think Motorhead has been and remains so successful?

Because we play good music, we never changed and always worked hard to please the fans and tour our asses off.

9. From Matt Ross– Who’s the best band Motorhead have ever toured with?

That’s a tough question and I would not want to offend anybody. But probably my most favorite band to tour with was Dio/Heaven & Hell.

10. From Matt Ross – Any favorites among other bands covering Motorhead songs?

No, we don’t really listen to them, I would not have an idea who covered us.

11. From Matt Ross– Are there any Motorhead classics that you’re sick of playing live?

No, never – that’s what the fans want, that’s what we love to play.

Lemmy 2010 RJP_7606Color
Lemmy Kilmister

12. From Kris Kramer– How do eastern audiences differ from western audiences?

Audience don’t matter where they are from. They all come to see us.
But I have to say that the Eastern audience is always extremely polite.

13. From Kris Kramer– How do you feel about the state of modern music?

Too much download, too much social media, too much information that no one is interested in.

14. From Van Walker– How much input did WWE and/or Paul Levesque (a/k/a Triple H) have in the classic Triple H theme song “Time To Play The Game”?

They wrote it, we played it, there was no choice.

15. From Matt Ross – Regarding the origins of “1916” from the 1916 album. Did Lemmy have to sell the others on such a departure from Motorhead’s signature style?

A great song, a beautiful song – more than a song if you read the lyrics.

16. From Colin Pate – As you get older, how does life on the road change in regards to the partying and drinking?

I, for sure, slowed down.

17. What can fans expect at your show in Korea? As it’s a festival show, will your set be shorter than usual?

Mikkey Dee
Mikkey Dee

The set for festivals is mostly the same.

Will you still be the loudest band during the weekend?

I do hope that we are still the loudest band and kick some ass.

18. What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a career of Rock n Roll?

Don’t take shit from anyone. Go for your dreams. It’s better to enjoy and fail than the other way around.

19. From Kris Cain – You played with Wurzel for 11 years. How did your approach change after he left? Is it more stressful or is it better to be the only guitar player in the band?

We loved and miss Würzel dearly. There’s no better or stressful. I’m in Motörhead since 1984 – way too long to think about what could have been. All good the way it is right now.

20. What bands or songs from other bands do you listen to?

I have a few, too many to name, for sure, I love The Eagles, Der Hass by Rammstein.

21. Where did the nickname Wizzo come from?

No one calls me this anymore and I really don’t like it.
I got it because I got fired quickly . It’s a slang name for speed.

Motorhead Discography (*-features Phil Campbell)

1977
1979
1979
1979
1982
1986
1916 *
1991
1992
1993
1995
1998
2002
2004
2006
2008
2013
(August 28, 2015)
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