Lemmy was underrated lyricist… but he didn’t care

Phil Campbell and Lemmy Kilmister
Melting pot: Campbell and Lemmy in action (Image credit: Getty)

Former Motorhead man Phil Campbell says Lemmy Kilmister was underrated as a lyric writer – but the late frontman didn’t care.

The band came to an end with his death in December last year, and the guitarist has gone on to form his own outfit Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons, after briefly considering retirement.

Asked whether Lemmy was under-appreciated as a lyricist, Campbell tells Songfacts: “Definitely – he never got the credit he deserved.

“He knew he was. But he didn’t care as long as some people understood what he was singing about.

“We all wrote the music. It was the band’s music. I was responsible for most of the riffs. Lem wrote all the lyrics. But it was a melting pot, really.

“I’d suggest stuff, and he’d give me a stare, and just go back to his pen and paper. I knew I couldn’t come up with anything close anyway. It was best just to leave it to Lem.”

He continues: “I think he would have liked to have been accepted more for his lyrics, but he didn’t lost any sleep over it. As long as Lem got his point across.

“Lemmy just cared about his band, his music and the fans.”

Campbell says the approach to songwriting in the Bastard Sons is similar to the one he had in Motorhead. “We just used to write for the three of us,” he says of his former outfit.

“We didn’t write for record companies. We didn’t write for fans. We wanted it to be pure.”

He recalls: “Years ago I’d do a guitar solo in Motorhead and I’d say, ‘What did you think of that, guys?’ Somebody would say, ‘That was really cool, Phil.’ Somebody would say, ‘You can do better than that.’ Somebody else would say, ‘Yeah, that’ll do.’

“In the end you end up going, ‘Is it good? Is it crap?’ I learned 25 years ago to just go with your heart.”

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons launched their self-titled debut EP last week. They have a handful of shows lined up before the end of the year.

Lemmy’s death nearly sent me into retirement - Phil Campbell

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons remaining tour dates

Nov 24: London Boston Music Room
Nov 25: Norwich Open Live Music Venue
Nov 26: Seaton Town Hall
Dec 02: Porthcawl Planet Rockstock
Dec 31: Pontypridd Muni Arts Centre

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