by Amy Harris
Motörhead are Metal gods. They’ve been rocking arenas and
stadiums for 37 years and are currently out on the Mayhem Tour with
Anthrax and other major acts of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock. They’ve
released 21 albums and have played in front of millions across the world
with the loyal support of their super-fans, the Motörheadbangers.
CityBeat spoke with guitar player Phil Campbell to
preview their set today Riverbend. They spoke about how life in the band
continues to thrive on the road after so many years and his impressive
collection of guitars. Mayhem Fest will rock Cincinnati Tuesday and will
also feature Anthrax, Slayer, Slipknot and The Devil Wears Prada.
CityBeat: What has been the craziest story from Mayhem so far for you guys?
Phil Campbell: We had a good party the other night.
It was a costume party. All our band and crew went dressed pretty
strange. There were quite a few strange costumes there. I think Lemmy
and his assistant went as the Blues Brothers. I dressed as a clown.
Mickey dressed as a frog. One of our crew dressed as Larry King. That
was pretty good. It was a good party anyway. We are just too busy to get
wild at the moment.
CB: You guys are famous for your pranks on the road. Have you played any pranks on any of the other bands yet?
PC: No not yet. We leave that for the end.
CB: What is the best and worst part of being out on the road now? You guys have been touring for 30 years.
PC: You are home for three weeks and then you are
ready to come on the road for two months. You are dying get back home.
We are not really complainers. One of the worst parts obviously is not
having your family there, home comforts and your dogs and things like
that. The food can be tough because you really don’t have much choice.
That’s not particularly good. The best part is you don’t have to get up
early in the morning anymore. We sleep in until really late so that’s
CB: What is your favorite guitar to play?
PC: My favorite guitar? I just bought a 1957 Les Paul a couple weeks ago so that is probably my favorite now.
CB: I know you have over 260. Do you
rotate them in during the shows or do you pretty much stick with the
same ones for the live performances?
PC: No I have about 12 on the road at any given
time, so sometimes I rotate a couple. Some of the real amazing ones I
don’t really want to take on the road. They are safer in different
storage locations, but I have plenty to choose from.
CB: Any regrets through the years?
PC: No, not really, none. It has been pretty good.
It has been a privilege to be able to play music for people who enjoy
our music. No, no major regrets, no.
CB: Supergroups are very popular right
now with bands like Chickenfoot and musicians doing side projects. If
you could put together a dream supergroup who would you want to play
with from any band?
PC: Elton John, Adam Jones from Tool, David Bato on the drums and Victor Wooten on bass.
CB: That’s pretty good. I know your children are also in bands. Have you thought about recording with them anytime in the future?
PC: Yeah, they are doing really good. I have some children in a band called Straight Lines.
They have their second album out and they are doing lots of shows. They
have great reviews in all the magazines and everything. Hopefully they
will be doing the Warped Tour next summer. Another is in a band called Inside the Trees but they changed their name to The People’s Poet
and they are recording their new album now, as we speak. It’s a quite
different kind of music. They have their own sound as well. They are all
doing really well.
CB: Do you ever play with them?
PC: I used to when they were younger but they won’t let me play anymore. I’m not good enough.
CB: They tell me you are a Lord. How did that process come about to become Lord Axesmith?
PC: I applied. The title goes back 500 years, Lord
of Axesmith. It’s on my credit cards now and everything. I am an
honorary member of the Knight’s Templar of Brittannia. It is a bit of
fun when the crew has to call me “My Lord.”
CB: I was going to ask you what the best part is of being a Lord but that’s probably it, people have to address you as Lord.
PC: When we are at restaurants and they ask for the
name of the party, if you say Lord Axesmith then you know they will
give you a good table. Even before I became Lord Axesmith, I was told it
did the trick.
CB: What can the fans look forward to from the Motörhead show in Cincinnati on Tuesday?
PC: Just another killer Motörhead
show. It is only going to be about 50 minutes long because we have to
have all the other bands on. So it will be loud and nobody will be