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Interview conducted June 8 2017
Interview published June 23 2017

"He doesn't like to practice."

The British rock outfit Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons comprises former Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell and his 3 sons, Todd, Tyla and Dane on guitar, bass and drums respectively, as well as frontman Neil Starr. As they were visiting the festival grounds of Sweden Rock in the Southern parts of the country earlier this month Metal Covenant got the opportunity to quickly talk to one of the band's sons before the band had to leave in a hurry for their next adventure.

Tobbe: The Bastard Sons have so far only released one EP, in November last year, so which is its strongest characteristics?

Todd: I think we were still figuring out the sound of the band at that point. We used to be the All Starr Band and I think we wrote the EP before we were The Bastard Sons and then we changed the band name. I think the album is gonna be more of a one direct sound and I think the EP has been more of an experiment to see what worked sort of thing, so. It's cool and it's got a good range of songs on it and stuff.

Tobbe: I think, maybe besides the song No Turning Back, the music is kind of far from what Motörhead did and do you think that people did believe that this music was gonna be more similar to what Motörhead did, because of Phil's background?

Todd: The funny thing is: No Turning Back, I think I wrote that one more, whereas the non-Motörhead ones are more Phil influenced, which is kind of not the way around you would think. You know, obviously he's got his roots with Motörhead and how he writes the songs, but I think we'll branch out a bit. If he was a clone I don't think it would have worked sort of thing. So, you know, he's Phil, he's gonna do what he wants to do pretty much. [Laughs]

Tobbe: So is he, like, the dictator of the band?

Todd: Not really. Maybe I'm the dictator of the band? [Laughs] I don't know. I run, like, the studio, so I produced the EP and things. So I'm, like, in charge of getting everyone together. I think Phil has the last say of everything, d'you know what I mean? He has the veto; like: normally we all have to agree, but if Phil says we ain't doing it we don't do it, you know what I mean?

Tobbe: When being family, is it hard to contribute equally to the music?

Todd: No, I don't think so, 'cause we've all played in bands together for years, different groups and things, so it comes quite naturally. You know, we grew up listening to the same music and with dad playing all the classics and things. So we all come from the same place, apart from Neil, our singer. He's more from grunge and classic rock is quite not his era so much, but we're teaching him slowly. [Laughs]

Tobbe: So does each of you guys try to put your own mark to the music?

Todd: Yeah, I think so. Tyla is on bass with this band, but he's a really good guitarist. He plays kind of country music and stuff. We're still just discovering things. With most bands, I guess, you get to, like, write songs, play local gigs, and have scrappy songs and, you know, no one hears you growing as a band, as we're kind of growing in front of everyone, do you know what I mean? 'Cause stuff gets released sort of thing.

Tobbe: But the goal is always to at least separate yourselves a little bit from Motörhead?

Todd: Yeah, yeah, totally. You know, we play Motörhead songs in the set, and people enjoy it and stuff, because when we play our headline shows, like 90 per cent of the people got Motörhead t-shirts on, so you gotta, you know… And we enjoy playing the songs and we grew up listening to them and, you know, it's nice that Neil doesn't sound like Lemmy, you know what I mean? It's totally different voices. You know, we're not going in with that sort of thing. So yes, I think as we release more music we're gonna be able to play more of our own songs pretty much, which is the goal, I think, in the long run.

Tobbe: So are you kind of in a hurry now to release new material, so you can play less Motörhead stuff live?

Todd: No, Phil won't rush anything. So if it's not right he won't release things. But I think it'll be a single now, in autumn, a new song, and then the album after Christmas. So February time maybe. I think that's the scale.

Tobbe: About the Motörhead songs that you play live. Do you guys take any advice from someone outside the band?

Todd: No, we just decide. I think we try to do the ones that they haven't played for years, trying to rework it so it's cool for the fans coming. We're doing Silver Machine at the moment as a little tip the cap for Lemmy and things, 'cause we played with Hawkwind a few weeks ago and stuff and he's always influencing what you do basically. Some songs, if Phil has played them for years and years, he'd rather play… There's so many songs to choose from, d'you know what I mean? I think sometimes he enjoys finding those ones that they, like, never played.

Tobbe: How on Earth do you guys manage playing with your own dad without getting pissed off at each other all the time?

Todd: Obviously, I've been in bands when you're not family and, like, you keep things bottled up. You know, if someone's pissing you off you don't say, d'you know what I mean? And then eventually, two years later, you have a massive argument. But with a family you're gonna be like "Sounds fucking shit today." and they'll be like "Fuck you!" and then 10 minutes later you forget about it. Water under the bridge, d'you know what I mean?

So I think it's good, 'cause you can just get things out in the open really quickly. I think people see us argue sometimes and they're like "Oh, they're going at it.", but 'cause it's your family you can say what you want.

Tobbe: So what's the most negative, in a musical aspect, by having your father in the same band?

Todd: He doesn't like to practice. [Laughs] He's like "I know this one. I don't wanna practice.". Apart from that it's not a problem, really.

Tobbe: So when you rehearse stuff you press play on tape with his parts?

Todd: No, we don't use tape. There's no backing tracks for us. He'll do it once and he's like "I'm going home now." and we're like "All right. We'll practice without you for a bit.". [Laughs] He knows the songs a lot better than us.

Tobbe: Where do you guys see yourselves in, like, 10 years?

Todd: I don't know. I think Phil wants to do solo stuff as well, so maybe we'll play that stuff live, do you know what I mean? As well as The Bastard Sons stuff. We gotta make sure we're enjoying it and as long as Phil's enjoying it we'll keep doing it. But if he doesn't enjoy it he doesn't have to do it, because he's done his time with Motörhead and this is more fun for him. You know, playing with his kids and that. So yeah, as long as it's fun we'll keep doing it, but if it's not fun then we won't do it anymore.

Tobbe: You played a new song today and how does that one fit in the Bastard Sons catalogue?

Todd: Well, that's written with Rob Halford, that song is, for [Judas] Priest. We just decided to play it in our set 'cause we think it's a cool song and things. Rob Halford said it was cool and we don't know if that song's gonna be on a solo album, or on our album, or on both maybe, 'cause we think it's a really cool song actually.

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