Mötorhead’s Phil Campbell Reveals What Lemmy Was Really Like While Working on Final Album, Explains Unusual Decision for Writing Session

Guitarist Phil Campbell, well-known as the longest-running member of Mötorhead after Lemmy Kilmister, discussed the band’s final album “Bad Magic” and its recent re-release as “Bad Magic: Seriously Bad Magic” in February 2023. In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, he was asked about the two previously unreleased songs from this album and why they didn’t find their place on it until this version. Phil replied:

“Well, one song, as you probably know, ‘Greedy Bastards’ is basically the same song as ‘Till the End’ with a new set of lyrics. We thought it was worth putting on now. Then with ‘Bullet in Your Brain’, you know, we can’t put a million songs on the record. We had this song and we listened back, and we thought it sounded pretty good.”

Motörhead - Greedy Bastards (Official Video)

Of course, there was also the third track which was Mötorhead’s cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” Reflecting on it, Phil added:

“We put ‘Heroes’ on as well, which was not the original and then we got a live at Mt. Fuji thing, from a festival in Japan that was a really good one as well. So that’s just the basic version of it all and then there’s a Ouija board and a Lemmy interview on some of the other variations of it.”

“It’s a fun album anyways, it was definitely one of our best albums. It’s got special memories for me because it was our last studio album we did together. It’s nice to see it back out there again.”

Asked whether he has certain songs on the album that stand out, he replied:

“No, it was just a hell of a lot of fun, as usual. For the first time on this album, we actually wrote it in the recording studio.”

“So that was a lot of fun and that was really interesting for us. Because usually, we’d write in a rehearsal situation and then once we got the songs together, like shortly after that, some weeks down the line, we would go in to record.

“But this time we were recording in the studio so as soon as we had an idea or song come up, we could put it down really fresh and I just wish we’d done many more albums like that because it was great for us.”

Motörhead "Heroes" (David Bowie Cover)

“You know, Lem would get out his legal pad and start writing lyrics and he’d be doodling away, as usual. But when we came up with stuff, we could try it out really quickly and if it didn’t work, we could go on to the next thing.”

Of course, this does seem like a pretty expensive way to go, knowing that studios are paid on the hour you spend there. But despite what we might think of this method, Phil reveals that it actually turned out to be the best option for Mötorhead at that moment. He added:

“People might think it’s an expensive way to record – to write in a recording studio but I think it probably could be more beneficial, I think, for the band anyway. I don’t think it’d be that much more expensive really, because you know, you can nail this stuff straight away. It was good for us to do that. I’m glad we did as well.”

Motörhead - Till The End (Bad Magic 2015)

Elsewhere in the interview, while discussing his tour with his band The Bastard Sons, the guitarist also mentioned the that they’ll be releasing a new album. Asked whether there are any titles in consideration or release dates in mind for the record at the moment, Phil said:

“No, not yet, no, we’ve got a title but I can’t say anything yet. We just finished mastering on it this week. It sounds amazing actually. It’s really, really strong – it’ll probably take four months or so to put it all together with the record company and stuff.”

Asked about potential solo stuff and whether we’ll get to hear something about it in the near future, Phil replied:

“No not planning on it in the near future. No. It took me a while to do the first one, and the band is keeping me really busy at the moment but you never know. Never say no.”

Motörhead live (full show) | Rockpalast | 2014

In another recent interview, Mötorhead’s long-lasting and final drummer Mikkey Dee was asked about whether he and Phil would ever consider touring under the Mötorhead moniker knowing that Lemmy Kilmister passed away in late 2015. Dee was absolutely against that idea, saying:

“No. I really don’t think [the fans] want us to do that. That, to me, is stepping over the line. We will never, ever, ever tour with Motörhead as a name ever and bring someone else in [to play Lemmy’s parts]. That will never happen. But what we are doing is doing some shows here and there…”

“I just did two shows Saturday and Sunday here in Sweden with two younger guys and did 10 Motörhead songs, and this show sold out in less than two weeks. We had to add that Sunday. And it’s so great to play the old classics again and perform. But it has nothing to do with trying to be Motörhead. And this is not advertised as Motörhead; it’s advertised [as] ‘Mikkey Dee With Friends’, for instance. So there’s definitely a line there.”

Motorhead - Live At Wacken Open Air 2006 - High Quality Sound [HD]

As he also explained, he doesn’t have issues if other bands want to do it, it’s just that this isn’t something that you could really do with Mötorhead. He added:

“I just did two shows Saturday and Sunday here in Sweden with two younger guys and did 10 Motörhead songs, and this show sold out in less than two weeks. We had to add that Sunday.”

“And it’s so great to play the old classics again and perform. But it has nothing to do with trying to be Motörhead. And this is not advertised as Motörhead; it’s advertised [as] ‘Mikkey Dee With Friends’, for instance. So there’s definitely a line there.”

Photo: Jessica Branstetter (Motorhead in Indianapolis (September 9, 2015) – Jessica Branstetter 09)

Author

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.