MOTÖRHEAD Guitarist: 'We Write What We Want To Write For The Three Of Us'

September 1, 2006

Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with MOTÖRHEAD guitarist Phil Campbell. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

Ultimate-Guitar.com: How does a MOTÖRHEAD song take on life and what exactly are the criteria for a song eventually making its way onto an album?

Phil: "I don't know what it is other people think, there's a fine line we've got to hit, you know? And it's gotta be in-between these lines; we want to sort of evolve but we don't want to evolve so the band is recognizable. We write songs for the three of us, we don't write them for anyone else, we don't write for people who buy the records. I know it's a strange thing to say but we don't write for people who buy 'em 'cause we write what we want to write for the three of us. And that's sort of what's kept us going. Actually my oldest son, he wrote the last track, he wrote 'Goin' Down' on this album. He did all the music for that and Lem and Mikk liked that song and that's on the album as well. Once you start writin' for other people in mind, if you're a band in our situation, for MOTÖRHEAD, it is like a kiss of death actually. 'Cause the purity is gonna go out of there.

"When I first started, I'd play a guitar solo in the studio and I'd say, 'Well, what do you think of that, boys?' and somebody'd say, 'Ah, that's brilliant' and somebody would say, 'That's the worst thing I've ever heard in my life.' And you'd be there thinking, 'Well, is it brilliant or is it crap?' And things will get confused; you might change one bit and leave another bit and things get watered down and the purity goes like so. So we just write what we feel is good at the time."

Ultimate-Guitar.com: You mentioned earlier that there is a fine line that MOTÖRHEAD has to walk stylistically. Is it difficult, all these albums later (Lemmy has been on over 25 of them),to keep coming up with new and original songs that work for the band? Or, by now, is the process a no-brainer?

Phil: "Umm, I wouldn't say it's easier. We have to work at it but we got to be in the mood to do it that's why we don't do one (album) every year. I think we do one about every 18 months. We can do it but it doesn't get any easier definitely. You know, so many bands come out and they come out with stuff and you come up with a riff or somethin' like that and somebody says, 'Oh, that sounds like something from …' And it's from a band which I've heard of. You say, 'Hmm, better try somethin' else like or whatever.' It doesn't get any easier; we can do it like but it's not easier."

Ultimate-Guitar.com: And in sort of an opposite way of thinking, can you hear MOTÖRHEAD's influence on other bands?

Phil: I listen to a lot of stuff but when I come up with somethin' it's purely MOTÖRHEAD in mind, you know? It's pointless to listen to somethin' that somebody else has done.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: But what about your influence on these other bands?

Phil: "I can't say I do honestly, really. You can be influenced by someone and you don't have to sound like 'em, I don't think. But I know what I mean. I can't really see that much myself from all the influences we're supposed to given to people, I don't really hear it too much in other band's music. Maybe a bit of METALLICA's early stuff but that's about it really."

Ultimate-Guitar.com: How did you feel when METALLICA covered several MOTÖRHEAD songs on their "Garage, Inc." album?

Phil: "Well, I wish they had recorded and covered some of the tunes which I wrote on. They did all the older stuff with Eddie Clarke so I could have been happier. I wasn't over the moon. It's still good for the band like, yeah, but if they'd recorded a couple of songs that I'd recorded. There are a lot of different songs which I've written that are not very good, you know what I mean? But I thought they might have done one later one but they chose not to do that. Maybe next time when they get bored and they do a cover album perhaps they'll do something more updated then."

Read the entire interview at Ultimate-Guitar.com.

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