Long-time Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell has revealed in a new interview that the band’s signature absurd volumes extended to the stage, sometimes to an incendiary extent. He also revealed that, despite the sound levels, the band never took to wearing in-ear monitors or earplugs.
Motörhead were not a quiet band. They’re credited with coining the phrase “everything louder than everything else,” and there were no empty speaker cabinets as part of their stage setup for show – their signature walls of Marshall amplifiers were usually all on, at full volume.
Speaking on a new episode of Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon, Campbell was asked if the stage volume matched what was being sent to the audience. He replied: “Yeah, pretty much, I mean, we never used to wear in-ears – I remember one time, my front monitor actually caught fire. There were three-foot flames coming from it. And I’m not a technically-minded man by any means, but I just looked at my tech and I said, ‘electricity and fire, they don’t go together.’ I gave him the guitar, and then the following day, they caught fire again.”
“Something must’ve been burning up there, I don’t know, but I was quite proud of it the following week when I was telling everyone. They did catch fire, and it was extremely loud, all the way through the career.”
Campbell also noted that the amps sounded “better” at full blast, and “the strange thing is, me and Lem in the middle of severe volume, we could always talk to each other on stage.
“And if I said, ‘Turn your bass down, you motherfucker!’, you know he’d hear that; he’d reply with, ‘Will you turn your guitar down first, you Welsh bastard?!’ We could always hear each other and insult each other really. I kind of miss that sort of thing a lot.”
Campbell joined Motörhead in 1984, and played guitar in the band until Lemmy’s death in 2015, making him the longest-serving guitarist of their past members. He initially played alongside second guitarist Michael “Würzel” Burston, until the band became a power trio alongside
You can see Campbell’s appearance on the podcast below.
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