Simon Campbell (musician)

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Simon Campbell
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Born (1958-01-09) 9 January 1958 (age 64)
Radcliffe, Greater Manchester
GenresBritish blues, blues, British rock music, Americana (music)
InstrumentsElectric guitar, acoustic guitar and mandolin
Years active1976–present
LabelsSupertone Records (London)
Associated actsStarlite Campbell Band, Electrolite, Whitefire, Roadrunner, Guilt Edge, Little Brother, The Disciples
Websitesimoncampbell.com

Simon John Campbell (born 9 January 1958) is a British Musician, Singer-songwriter and Record producer has had a long and varied music career. Alongside his wife Suzy Starlite, Campbell currently records and performs exclusively as a member of the British Rock/blues-rock group the Starlite Campbell Band. Their debut album, Blueberry Pie was nominated for a European Blues Award in November 2017 and blends British blues, Americana.

Early life

Campbell was born in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, England to unmusical parents, Joseph and Joyce Campbell. At age 12, he became interested in music when he heard Atomic Rooster's "In Hearing of Atomic Rooster" from friends at Scarisbrick Hall School. It was in these surroundings he discovered Wishbone Ash and at the age of 16[1] picked up a guitar in earnest learning how to play his favourite songs Learning music by ear|by ear. Campbell's voracious appetite for music introduced him to other British Rock and Blues artists such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Mike Bloomfield, Peter Green (musician)|Peter Green and Black Sabbath.[1] It was at Scarisbrick that he met his long time collaborator, vocalist Tim Wright.

History

Bands

Campbell's first band was Whitefire, featuring Tim Wright (vocals), Eddie Byron Taylor III (drums) and Jim Beswick (bass) releasing a self-titled EP in 1978[2]. Between 1977 and 1982 the band toured extensively across the United Kingdom, making a name for themselves in the Northeast of England. Whitefire changed its name to Roadrunner and musical direction to high energy R&B in 1982; they continue to tour throughout the UK.

Roadrunner split in 1986 with Campbell and Wright going on to form Guilt Edge quickly morphing into Little Brother in 1989 and were joined by Grant Baxter (drums), Gary Short on bass and Stephen Dowd on keyboards. They were signed by Derek Lawrence and Big Jim Sullivan recording their debut album Survival at Real Time Studios, Billingshust, West Sussex. The album was released on April 1, 1992[3].

The band dissolved shortly after the album release and Campbell formed both The Method with Michael Byron-Heir of Sad Cafe, Corey Hart and Barclay James Harvest, John Palmer (bass) and Michael Gilbourn (drums) and The Disciples with Dave Gilmour (drums), Eddie Horrox (guitar) and Julian Brooks (bass). In 1991 The Disciples released a self-titled EP on cassette tape.

Production & engineering

Campbell has always been fascinated by the recording studio from his first recording with 'Whitefire' at Cargo Studios in Rochdale and during his days as a session guitar player, he always stayed behind to watch the engineers and producers of the day at work[4]. He has worked at Strawberry Studios | Strawberry, Pluto, Revolution, Pennine, Gracieland, Square One and the Chairworks studios with artists such as Millhause, Rick Dowson, Sisterhood, Starlite, Final Cut, The Mighty Revelators, Post War Stories and his own projects.

In 2014 he started, along with his wife Suzy Starlite, Supertone Records recording studio[5] which is now based near Lisbon, Portugal.

Solo work

ThirtySix

Disenchanted with the music business, Campbell took a break for a number of years moving from the United Kingdom to the Isle of Man in 2007 where he rediscovered his love for music-making and started to gig around the Island with his band 'The Very Very Bad Men. During this hiatus, he had amassed a number of new songs and decided to record his debut solo album which he recorded at Lisa Stansfield | Lisa Stansfield's Gracieland Studios, Rochdale during 2010. ThirtySix[6] was released on the Supertone Records label on 26 March 2011.

It was during this period he met Suzy Starlite, who acted as compare at the albums launch event and subsequently enrolled Campbell into her band Starlite as the guitar player and producer.

Musicians featured on the record were Kevin Whitehead (drums), Craig Fletcher (bass), Steve Rowe (bass), Sue Quin and Yvonne Shelton (backing vocals), Malcolm Melling (Flugelhorn), Christian Madden (Hammond organ, Mellotron, MOOG synthesiser and Fender Rhodes electric piano), Lea Mullen (percussion), Dave Bishop (Saxophone) and Pat Hartley (Trombone).

The album attracted great reviews[7][8][9] and Campbell was nominated for a British Blues Awards | British blues award[10], for best male vocal.

The Knife

His love for acoustic music from both sides of the Atlantic prompted him to write songs suited to that style. Following a chance meeting with folk producer Andy Seward when he was playing double bass for Martin Simpson, they decided to team up to make a record.

The Knife[11][12][13]was recorded at Campbell's fledgeling studio and the Erin Arts Centre on the Isle of Man, plus the Chairworks Studio in Castleford, Andy Cutting's shed.

This was the first time that Campbell worked with Suzy Starlite on his own material co-writing "Do You Want Me" and providing lead/backing vocals plus Mellotron to the track. Also featured on this record were Keith Angel (drums), Andy Seward (bass), Christian Maddon (Hammond organ and electric piano), David Killgallon (grand piano and harmonium), B. J. Cole (pedal steel), Andy Cutting (melodeon and hurdy-gurdy) and Dave Formula (electric piano).

Starlite Campbell Band

The Starlite Campbell Band consist of Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite. The band is known for British blues but the couple compose and release music in a variety of styles, from americana (music)|Americana, folk music, electronic music and progressive rock. The art of the song is everything and they fly in the face of disposable music – writing, recording and producing their work and then releasing on their independent label Supertone Records.

Side projects

Although known for blues and rock, Campbell has an eclectic taste in both listening and composing music and side projects can be found on Starlite Campbell Band.

Equipment

Campbell is a fastidious users of vintage equipment, specifically valve amplifiers for guitar, using multiple brands including vintage Hiwatt,[14] Gartone, Germino, Vox (musical equipment)|Vox, Matamp, Supertone, Ampeg with speakers by Electro-Voice and Celestion.

Campbell's instruments include Gibson, Moog, Mosrite, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, Collings Guitars, National Reso-Phonic Guitars, Guild Guitar Company, Duesenberg Guitars, Fylde Guitars Touchstone Walnut Mandolin plus signature models by luthier Jim Drake in Colorado and Gordon Whittam (Gordy) in Manchester, UK with pickups by Lollar, Sheptone, Lindy Fralin and House of Tone[15].

He uses guitar strings principally by Curt Mangan and Pyramid with Effects unit's by Lehle, DWJ Pedals, Supertone, Ernie Ball, Hudson Electronics, TC Electronic, Eventide, Lexicon, Chase Tone, Headway, Sonic Research, LovePedal, Skrydstrup R&D, Textone, Digitech, Voodoo Labs, GigRig, Origin Effects, CMAT Mods, Headway Music Audio, Gamechanger Audio, Strymon, B. K. Butler, Stomp Under Foot, Danelectro and Fulltone. He is known for his expertise and extensive use of the vintage Maestro Echoplex EP-3 tape echo.

Campbell along with his wife Suzy Starlite are Sequential artists[16] owning Tempest and Prophet instruments.

Personal life

Campbell has two children, James and Joseph. He is a traveller and has lived in England, Isle of Man, France, Spain and Germany. In May 2014 he married musician Suzy Starlite on the banks of Loch Fyne, Inveraray, Scotland and now lives near Lisbon, Portugal.

Other interests

During his hiatus from music, he became a keen Scuba diver attaining the British Sub-Aqua Club National Instructor qualification[17] in 2007. In appreciation of his work on expeditions and exploration worldwide, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Discography

Studio albums

Year Album Label
2011 ThirtySix Supertone Records
2016 The Knife Supertone Records

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated Work Result
2011 British Blues Awards[18] Best Male Vocal ThirtySix Nominated
2017 European Blues Awards[19][20][21] Best Album / Recorded Session Blueberry Pie Nominated


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "About". Supertone Records. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  2. "Whitefire: ~Whitefire". MusicBrainz. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  3. "Tim Wright (9) With Little Brother (5) ‎– Survival". Discogs. 1 February 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  4. "Whitefire: Whitefire". simoncampbell.com. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  5. "Supertone Records: History". supertonerecords.com. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  6. "Simon Campbell: ThirtySix". MusicBrainz. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  7. "ThirtySix by Simon Campbell - album review: ThirtySix". IsleofMan.com. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  8. Corlet, Liz (May 2012). "Simon Campbell - An Amplified Life" (PDF). Manx Life.
  9. Slater, Bonzo (May 2012). "An Amplified Life" (PDF). Manx Life.
  10. "Simon Campbell nominated for British Blues Award". BBC News. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  11. "Simon Campbell: The Knife". MusicBrainz. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  12. "Simon Campbell: The Knife". Discogs. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  13. Owl (February 2015). "Simon Campbell" (PDF). TwentyFourSevenValencia.
  14. "Starlite Campbell Band". Hiwatt. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  15. "Artists/Friends". House of Tone. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  16. "Artists". Sequential. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  17. "e-talk". British Sub Aqua Club. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  18. "Simon Campbell nominated for British Blues Award". BBC News. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  19. "European Blues Awards". 5 November 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  20. "Ramsbottom blues artist Simon Campbell nominated for Best Album/Recorded Session in the 2017 European Blues Awards". Bury Times. 10 November 2017. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  21. "Manx Blues pair aim to conquer Europe". Isle of Man Newspapers. 10 November 2017. Retrieved 13 November 2017.

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