Pentagram (Doom Metal , USA) Interview

Interview with Peter Campbell

Hello and Welcome to Acier Doux Tunisia , Happy to make this interview with you , can tell us more about Pentagram and how you you join the band ?

Thank you my friend for reaching out to me! Pentagram is a American rock n roll band from Virginia that started in 1970.  It’s been said that we started this “Doom” thing but to me the band has always been straight up heavy rock n roll band. I’ve been playing with guitar player Victor Griffin for roughly 14 years in other projects. Pentagram was in the studio recording “Curious Volume” and their currant drummer quit during the recording. So Victor called me up and asked if I would come to Baltimore and record the drum parts on the album. I said sure and flew in with 2 days of hearing the songs and ended up recording all the drum parts over. That was super hard because all the guitars, bass, and vocals were already done and recorded so I had to record to already existing tracks…totally backwards to your normal studio recordings were you lay drums first. That being said I got my tracks done in 3 days and the band redid their parts to my drums. Then they said “you might as well join the band” and the rest is history !

Pentagram released the album Curious Volume in August 2015. What were the inspirations behind the album ?

I absolutely love the album! To me it’s a 100% rock n roll album! I wasn’t there for any of the writing of it at all but I know a lot of the lyrics are pretty personal and have super deep meaning if you pay attention. Both Bobby and Victor are wordsmiths in my humble opinion! Musically I think it’s the best Pentagram album front to back in the bands 45+ year career…but I may be a tad jaded .

How do you think the fans have reacted to the new album ?

Total positivity ! The songs are super strong and solid. You always have a handful of “fans” that hate it cuz it’s not “doomy enough” or “it’s too rock n roll” haha. I always those those cats that talk that way….just because we didn’t put out a new record that sounds like every other fuckin record in our discography or sounds like every other fuckin new “Doom” band it’s not a good record in their eyes. If you wanna listen to the same 3 riffs over and over and over that’s on y’all. Laughable to me but who am I to say right.

Usually Pentagram lyrics reference mythology Occultism, Death, Love, Society type of stuff what you think about it ?

I think lyrics are important to the journey of the song. Am I fan of a lot of Pentagram lyrics…not really…but they are important in making the song the song. To me personally I’ve always been music and groove #1…lyrics #2. Music in general that I listen to regardless on what band I gravitate alway to the tune and if the lyric is dope that’s a bonus. I think both Bobby and Victor have their own vibes and are masters at their crafts!!! When a lyric takes you on a journey it’s icing on the cake!

What is your favorite Pentagram album and what is your favorite song ?

Man that’s tough ! Every album has its own unique vibe!!! Start off with “First Daze Here” with that band of ass kickin dudes !!! Geoff O’Keef and Greg Mayne to me are THE most underrated rhythm section in music. And Vincent Mcalister’s guitar playing is hands down pure gold! I mean the dude got asked to take Michael Schenker’s spot in UFO ! Now that’s not some stick shakin shit ! But like I said every Pentagram record to me in different in its own way. “Relentless” is front to back amazing….”Be Forward” is one of the heaviest albums I know…”Curious Volume” is to me the most complete Gram album. The next one with be the best .

Tell us about your relations with Bobby Liebling and the other members , Victor , Greg?

Instant brothers. Like I said I’ve known Victor for 14 years prior to joining the band. He is a soul mate to me. I call him my “heavy metal step dad” because he’s taught me so much and we’ve been through so much together. Absolute amazing human and man! He makes you a better person by knowing him. I’ve known Bobby a lot of years from being in Maryland with Sixty Watt Shaman….but that was always based on extra curricular activities haha. Him and I have a great working relationship. He brags about how I’m the best drummer he’s ever seen and played with but ya take him grain of salt haha. I love the Ol Man and hope and pray he kills his demons so we can make music together again. Greg Turley is the most genuine man I’ve ever met in my life. He and his family will be in my life until the day I die! I’ll be playing music with Greg until I physically can’t play anymore! Vary blessed to have these men in my life! Not only them but our crew! Joe, Klaus, Mike, Jim, Ryan, Jack, Flo, Pepe, Pellet, and all I forgot ! Vary blessed to have the Ram Fam !!!

How would you describe Pentagram sound and which elements in your music do you thing make you stand out With the new line up ?

Pentagram to me has alway been a rock band. It’s a absolute privilege to be called “pioneers of doom”…goes without sayin that’s an amazing title. The band has most defiantly influenced countless band and players including myself before being apart of the circus. As for how I stand out? I can only go by what I’ve been told. I feel I bring swing and groove back. Every drummer that’s been in Gram have been a monster so it’s shoes to fill but I think I carry the torch well. I absolutely love swing music as well as soul and funk. I try to bring elements of all my influences into my playing. Being blessed to be in a band with masters of there craft and the ability to do my thing and know my guys are there is magic. It’s a beautiful thing when your fire on all cylinders !

It is truly amazing how, after all those years, you guys are still capable of surprising somebody like me with your new work ?

I agree. I’m a music fan 1st! I’m so tired of bands getting stuck in their shit and putting out the same record 5 times. The greatest thing about being a musician is expanding horizons. A band like Pentagram is kinda pigeon toed into being this certain kinda band…which is bullshit. There’s never a ceiling only a floor! How many albums do you gotta buy before you realize you bought the same album 5 times…from 5 different bands? Music is like socks….change is good lol. When it comes to Pentagram I feel we’ve been true to rock n roll since 1970 ! 

Peaceville Records is a label that does not shy away from re-releasing classic albums that are difficult for most people to find. Is there any plan for them to bring out some of your most hard to find releases ?

Peaceville rules ! Their a label that gets shit into people’s hands! They have done a lot for us and we are grateful! As for future plans…I don’t know personally. When I joined this band…or any band for that matter…all I wanna do is play drums lol. I hate the “music business”…takes the fun outta playing music when it’s all about the business.  I’ve done a $20.000 record before and it’s a joke! I ended up paying in on my taxes vs gettin any money hahaha. Peaceville does it right because they are music 1st. Pentagram has so much music that I’m sure you’ll see more releases from them. But don’t quote me….I’m just the drummer .

Without a doubt Pentagram the pioneers of Doom Metal , even though many people consider Candlemass as fathers of this genre, the thing is that Pentagram were the first who started to incorporate such topics into your music, what do you think about it ?

American maybe. Everything is based on the “Sabbath” factor which to me is shit because Sabbath was a rock n roll band. There was bands like Blue Cheer, Bang, Flower Traveling Band, Red Dirt, Babe Ruth, and countless more that were before! Candlemass and Pentagram are apples and oranges to me. Both pioneers and icons!!!! How sweet would it be if members of each jammed together….hmmmmm….keep your eye peeled on heavy metal media .

Talking about the bands you are playing in, can you tell us about them ?

Man…I’m the kinda cat that is a slave to rock n roll lol. I just recently the debut album “Sonic Renaissance” from my band BUZZARD. This band is my baby. I sing and play guitar in it and write most of the tunes. It’s also vary special to me because I get to play with my little brother Andy Campbell…who also drums in my other project The Mighty Nimbus…and one of my best friends Gene Starr on bass guitar. I love the freedom of writing my own songs and playing guitar. Drums are my life so guitar lets me escape and fuck around musically and let my inner “Trower” out.  I also got invited to do a project out of Sweden called Demonicus. This group has members of Candlemass, Witchcraft, King Diamond, and The Graviators. So pretty much a super group some might say lol. The music is epic! Pentagram had a double night in Stockholm Sweden last November…so I would go to the studio with Mike Wead in the day, get back to the club in the afternoon for soundcheck, back to the studio for a few hours, then to the club for the Gram show. Did that for 2 days so I could get my drums tracked while I was in Sweden haha. End resolute was a killer album ! Can’t wait for everyone to hear it. I’m also a member of Southern California’s GYGAX! This band will take over the world haha. I’ve been involved with a lot of stuff but GYGAX is my jam! The only band I’ve been in that makes me think of how to play…makes me play my drums! To me Bryant and Jeff are 2 of the best guitar players I’ve ever heard let alone jam with. Eric Harris and I are locked soul brothers in bass and drums so it’s so much fun to pick up sticks and get back to my roots! We enter the studio here in November ! While I’m home in Minnesota I have my fun band KISSin Time…a ’74-’75 tribute to KISS! So much fun! We do the full ALIVE era stage show and makeup along with songs of the first 3 KISS records. KISS is the reason why I play music so it’s so much pleasure to put on the war paint and dress like my hero! I’ve been working on songs for a solo record where I play everything for most tunes but will have vary special guests on a few tunes. It’s gonna be a 90% percussion album where I literally play the kitchen sink lol. I’m stoaked to start recording it.

Can you tell me about the Pentagram future ?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the last few months you’ve heard what’s going on with Bobby and his life. Victor, Greg, and I have and will be standing up for the music that we and you all love for the sake of respect to and for the songs! We just got done playing amazing shows in the US and Europe as a power trio and will continue as such outta respect to the music, fans, and ourselves!  Pentagram is bigger then any member past, present, or future! The music is what’s important not who sings it, plays guitar in it, plays drums in it, ect… So to answer the question…the future of Pentagram is bright as the Sun !

 

Interviewer : Med Manef Slama

 

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