Phil Campbell (musician)

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Phil Campbell
Background information
Birth name Philip Anthony Campbell
Also known as Lord Axsmith
Born (1961-05-07) 7 May 1961 (age 54)
Pontypridd, Wales, United Kingdom
Genres Heavy metal, hard rock, rock and roll, speed metal
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1979–present
Associated acts Motörhead, Persian Risk, Phil Campbell's All Starr Band
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul
LAG Phil Campbell Model
Parker Nitefly
Gibson Explorer
Framus Panthera

Philip Anthony Campbell[1] (born 7 May 1961)[2] is a Welsh rock musician. He is a former guitarist of Persian Risk and Motörhead, and the current guitarist of Phil Campbell's All Starr Band. Campbell is best known for his time with Motörhead. He played with them for 31 years and appeared on 16 studio albums and 4 live albums. The band disbanded in December 2015, following the death of founder and frontman Lemmy.

Early life and career[edit]

Campbell was born in Pontypridd, and started playing guitar when he was 10 years old, inspired by guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Jan Akkerman, Michael Schenker and Todd Rundgren. At the age of 12, Campbell got Lemmy's autograph after a Hawkwind gig. By the time he was 13, he was playing semi-professionally with a cabaret band called Contrast. Later he played with a pub-rock band called Roktopus (not to be confused with Rocktopus) at gigs in and around South Wales. He bought his first Les Paul in 1978 at a New Year's Day guitar sale at a shop on Ealing Broadway, London; following the fate of many of his guitars, it was stolen.

In 1979 he formed the heavy metal band, Persian Risk, playing on their 7" singles, "Calling For You" (1981) and "Ridin' High" (1983). Compilation albums have been issued which feature some of his work with Persian Risk.


Phil Campbell live at Reds, Edmonton, 2005

On 8 February 1984, following the departure of Brian Robertson, Motörhead frontman, Lemmy, held auditions for a new guitarist, narrowing the candidates down to two guitarists – Michael "Würzel" Burston and Philip Campbell. Lemmy had first planned only to hire one guitarist, but upon hearing Würzel and Campbell play together, Lemmy hired them both.

On 14 February 1984, Motörhead served as the musical guest for The Young Ones episode "Bambi". One of the band's most popular compilations, No Remorse, followed shortly, it was released on 15 September. Campbell has since toured the world with the band and has remained a constant member of Motörhead, despite a number of changes to their line up over the years.

On 28 December 2015, band founder and sole constant member Lemmy died. The following day, drummer Mikkey Dee announced that Motörhead had disbanded, stating: "We will not be doing any more tours or anything. And there will not be any more records. But the fire survives, and Lemmy lives on in the hearts of everyone."[3]

Personal life[edit]

Campbell resides in Pontypridd, Wales with his wife Gaynor and their three children, Todd, Dane and Tyla.[4]


Campbell at Wacken Open Air 2013 with Framus guitar

Campbell uses an LAG Explorer Signature model[5] guitar both live and in the studio, fitted with two Seymour Duncan humbuckers[6] and a single (volume) control. He also uses DBZ, Charvel, Caparison, a couple of Framus Custom Shop guitars on stage,[7] with an occasional acoustic Dean. He has also been known to play ESP, PRS, Minarik Infernos and a Parker Nitefly guitars.

He also uses guitars built by luthier TC Ellis. So far, Ellis has built him a Les Paul-styled,[8] a Stratocaster-styled,[9] and one modeled after Lemmy's custom-built Rickenbacker 4004.[10]

Like Lemmy, Phil uses Marshall Amplifiers and Cabinets when playing live, currently using Marshall JVM410H, JVM410H-JS, JCM 900 4100 and 1959RR heads. In the studio however he has been known to use Line 6, ENGL, Bogner and Laboga Amps. Earlier in his career he occasionally played Gallien-Krueger amplifiers.[11]

He mainly uses Dunlop pedals (Micro Amp, Micro Chorus, Phase 90 (Script or EVH), Carbon Copy, Smart Gate, Slash Octave Fuzz & 95Q wah), strings (10–46) and picks (.88).


  1. ^ "Philip Anthony Campbell". AOL Music. Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  2. ^ "Philip Anthony Campbell". Allmusic. Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  3. ^ "Mikkey Dee: 'Motörhead Is Over'". 29 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Big Interview: Phil Campbell". South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales). 12 October 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  5. ^ "Phil Campbell – Motorhead (Legend!)". LAG Guitars. Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  6. ^ "Phil Campbell". Seymour Duncan. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Moseley, Willie G. (November 2002). "Philip Campbell – Decibel Level Be Damned". Vintage Guitar. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Phillip Campbell of Motorhead Playing a TC Ellis Guitar". YouTube. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  9. ^ "Phil Campbell Time Solo on TC Ellis Guitar.". YouTube. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  10. ^ "Phil Campbell of Motorhead playing a TC Ellis Lemmy Inspired Guitar". YouTube. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  11. ^ "Interview with Phil Campbell – Motorhead". Retrieved 20 December 2008. 

External links[edit]