"The misbehaving goes on after I've gone to bed. And I'm always the first to bed": Phil Campbell on touring with his three sons

Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons
(Image credit: Stephen Davies)

It's been a busy year for former Motörhead man Phil Campbell and his band The Bastard Sons (made up of three of his own sons – Todd, Tyla and Dan – plus powerhouse vocalist Joel Peters). 

They played at major festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Hellfest, Graspop Metal Meeting and many more, then reconvened to put the finishing touches to their third album, Kings Of The Asylum. And now they're about to embark on a lengthy UK tour.

“It’s been a great experience writing this album alongside Joel and the rest of my lads," says Campbell. "We’ve come up with some monstrous riffs and hooks for your listening pleasure. We can’t wait to play some of these songs at some of our old favourites towns and cities and visiting some new places too!”

Below, Campbell gives us the lowdown on touring with a band that includes three offspring, quitting the booze, and why you just can’t beat having a good afternoon nap.


In some ways, after Lemmy passed away you entered a classic no-win situation: venture too close to Motörhead territory and the fans would shoot you down, but go the other way and the same thing happens. 

For about four months [after Motörhead broke up] I didn’t know what to do. I was so exhausted I considered retiring completely. But my eldest boy, Todd, had a thirtieth birthday party in Cardiff, there was a live band we got up and jammed some covers, and it felt so good we carried on. In fact the party was two years before Lem passed away, but it was the start of the Bastard Sons. 

The new album, Kings Of The Asylum, is the most effective mix of old and new

It’s definitely the best one that we’ve done. Of course it was going to sound a bit like Motörhead – I was the main guy that wrote all of those riffs – but after three albums we are finding our own style. We’ve brought in Joel [Peters] as the singer, who’s doing an immense job and everything is pumping.

Peters is a great addition to the group, delivering with authority and style. How did you find him? Were there auditions? 

Lots of people sent us their material, but we looked at Joel’s post code and he was the closest to us. No, really, he does live the closest, he’s in Bristol. But Joel was by far the best. 

If somebody described Phil Campbell & Bastard Sons’ music as dirty rock’n’roll delivered with an eighties twist, would you be okay with that? 

That’s completely fine. I like that. 

What’s it really like being in a band with your three sons?

We all live fairly close to each other, which is a big help. It’s not like the old days of Motörhead, because I haven’t had a drink for five years. Well, maybe I’ll have one beer before the show, but the overindulgence of Motörhead is gone. If possible we try not to spend more than two or three weeks on the road, and it all works well. Everyone has a laugh and I’m really enjoying it.

Should one of the lads misbehave, do you make them sit on the naughty step of the tour bus? 

[Laughs] No, no, no. The misbehaving goes on after I’ve gone to bed. And I’m always the first to bed. You know what, I used to laugh at rock bands that took afternoon naps, but I’ve become one of them. Naps are great. 

Your wife was initially a bit unhappy with the name of the band. Has she warmed to it yet? 

Not really. She’ll never be keen, because all of our kids are legitimate, but she puts up with the name. 

Presumably you include some Motörhead songs in the shows? 

Probably eighty per cent of our audience is Motörhead, and of course they want to hear Ace Of Spades and a couple of other classics, but most of the set is original material. 

Former Saxon guitarist Paul Quinn along with his ‘other’ band The Cards, is the special guest for this tour. 

That’ll be a lot of fun. He’s just retired from the road [with Saxon], and now he’s back touring again. That’s typical Paul. I think he wants to get back to the blues a bit. 

Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons' UK tour kicks off on November 21. Dates and tickets.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.