Fan Questions For Glenn Campling
By the Tones On Tail Facebook Group
Glenn Campling is best known as one time Bauhaus roadie and bassist for the seminal post-punk band Tones On Tail, a side project of Bauhaus members Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins. Formed in 1982, Tones On Tail intertwined various styles and experimental noises, which truly created an otherworldly and unique experience for listeners. This short-lived project would go on to release one studio album Pop, three EPs Tones On Tail, Burning Skies, and Something along with a handful of singles and compilations. Glenn’s innovative bass lines can be heard on many of Tones On Tail’s finest songs such as ‘GO!’, ‘Lions’, ‘OK, This is The Pops’, ‘Burning Skies’, and ‘Twist’.
The single ‘Go!’ was a huge hit on dance floors across the globe which was created around Glenn’s phenomenal bass line. It has been sampled by Moby for his top ten smash of the same name, Fun Lovin’ Criminals sampled ‘Movement Of Fear’ for their top twenty hit Scooby Snacks. Tones On Tail has also been covered by the likes of Nouvelle Vague, licensed by car giant Lincoln Mercury and ‘Go!’ currently appears on an episode of the cult series ’Stranger Things’.
Tones On Tail, photo by Mitch Jenkins
Tones On Tail embarked on a UK and US tour in 1984 before disbanding to work on other projects. Daniel and Kevin would reunite with Bauhaus bassist David J to form Love And Rockets while Glenn semi-retired from the music business to focus on family and personal well-being. Resurfacing in 2008, Glenn produced his first solo project Black & Whole which featured several guest artists including Natacha Atlas. As a side note, Natacha also collaborated with Daniel Ash in 1991 on his debut solo album Coming Down with her extensive vocal work as well as keyboards and bass guitar.
In 2011, Glenn was joined by ‘lone wolf’ Mark Garner to form their latest incarnation, LoneStation, furthering their musical experimentation creating a unique sound and style. Bandmate Mark Garner explains, “The LoneStation ‘sound’ to me is like no other and reflects the unique approach that both Glenn and I demonstrate in our personal work – and Glenn in Tones. The music reinforces our strong appreciation of music in its purest form, twists it, turns it and reconstructs it into what is unpredictable, surprising and ultimately – a fusion of energy, originality, passion and a hint of deeper worlds.”
Glenn Campling and Mark Garner / LoneStation, photo by Andrew Brooksbank
The Tones on Tail Facebook group, ran by Veto Hall, has gathered a list of fan questions for Glenn Campling to answer. Many thanks to all of the fans involved, Veto Hall and especially Glenn for taking the time to answer all of the inquiring minds…
You have a unique style of melodic bass playing, often integrating elements not traditionally associated with the instrument, such as chordal embellishments and the use of fuzz effects. What other musicians’ (bassists or otherwise) work set you on this path or otherwise influenced you to think “outside the box”? – Aaroneous Goldsworth
One of my all time fave musicians is Eno, particularly during his early solo career – ‘Another Green World’, ‘Before & After Science’ and the brilliantly titled ‘Here Come the Warm Jets’ I consider timeless masterpieces. And Jah Wobble is probably the finest bass player I had the pleasure to meet. I watched that guy play bass with envy and admiration. Vini Reillys’ Durutti Column, first album ‘The Return of the Durutti Column’ boldly used simple early drum machines with the sweetest guitar melodies – flooded with echo & reverb. I’ve followed all these guys through the years ever since.
I was just wondering who were his inspirations for his style. Very funky! – John Grannan
See above – too many to mention really. But watching Barry Adamson play with Magazine, on a tour with Bauhaus supporting, was another reason I wanted to mess with a bass. And definitely the varied moods & styles of David Bowie was a massive influence.
Great basslines and sounds !! What basses effects/amps/cabs did you use for Tones on Tail recordings ?? – Faelra Cerled
Still got my Kramer XL8 – 8 string Bass, Boss chorus pedal, Boss Fuzz pedal. Head and cab units I can’t remember (probably Peavey) but those are long gone. I now use a punchy little Warwick practice amp – but always wanted a Trace Elliot set up.
I’d love to hear about how any of the Tones On Tail songs were composed, what came first: a guitar or bass riff, lyrics, jamming on a groove in the studio first? Love to here about your tools of the trade as well. – Tom Abbott
Dan & I started out as a ‘bedroom’/studio project in between Bauhaus events. Right from beginning, there were no rules who played what. Some tracks were based on a bass line, a guitar lick or a synth or even a drum machine. ‘GO!’, ‘Ok this is the Pops’, ‘Movement of Fear’ – for instance, were built around my basslines. – Lions, Performance, Rain began as synth lines, (I didn’t need an excuse to mess with machines), – ‘Real Life’, as a 12 string acoustic line. We swapped instruments on ‘You the Night & the Music’ with Dan playing bass and myself on 12 string. But it was always Dan who said – that’s great, lets go with that.
Were you and peter Murphy good friends too? – James ‘Sid’ Palmer III
I’ve always got on well with Peter and try to get to see him whenever he appears in the UK. Though he appeared slightly ‘aloof’ last time I saw him at the Roadmender in Northampton, he gave me great support during a particularly traumatic time I went through. In the very early days when Bauhaus needed him close by, I put him up in my cupboard! Yes, my cupboard. (closet). Great fun – don’t read anything into that!
Are there any other known bands that you would consider playing bass or synth in? – Veto Hall
Well I love what Mark & I are doing with LoneStation and wouldn’t change a thing – but if, say, Massive Attack asked me to step up – I’d drop him like a stone. Only kidding Mark.
Looking back, what are some of your favorite Tones on Tail songs, and do they differ from the ones you liked best when the band originally made them? – Jacques Skellington
When we began as a 2 piece studio project, we never thought we would ever play live. We just concentrated on getting creative. When we went full time, we realized we had to ‘convert’ our material to live performance. There were quite a few we couldn’t do because we played multiple instruments in the studio. The songs we decided on were pretty different to the recorded versions. We had to use a Revox tape to tape in 2 cases (no samplers in those days), and I taught Kevin to play synth on another. ‘GO!’ was fun to do in the studio and great when we played it live. Glasgow and Cleveland are just two enduring memories of great audiences when we kicked that song off.
Just like to thank glenn for the double vinyl lp he sent me,after meeting him at a pete murphy gig in nottingham a few year back. – Wayne Herbert West Playford
Any story about slender fungus, burning skies, hapinness, lions or any other great tot song. – Nelson Camacaro
Slender fungus – I think we broke our rule of writing – don’t write while ‘under the influence’. It was meant as a homage to The Residents, using vocals only – but ended sounding like an evil version of the Nolan sisters.
I have a few! But first, thank you! And I am a very proud owner of a signed tin box of Dark Matter…some great tracks! – Keir Fitzgerald.
- What is your favourite track?
‘Bleeding Blue’ from ‘Machine’ LoneStation 2nd album – Fuzz bass revisited.
- Favourite Tones on Tail track?
‘Twist’ – I think this track really represents TOT quirkiness. Loved playing bass & piano on that one.
- What is your process in writing a song?
Start with whatever grabs your interest, then build on/around it.
- Who is the most influential artist you met? Any stories (you can tell?!?).
Met Bowie on the Hunger set, (Well, stood there with my gob wide open) He was surprisingly pleasant, humorous & human.
Errr can I have that bloody lovely bass? Worth a try innit. – Jem Squires
Sure Jem, if you want to pay me lots of cash for parting with my baby.
Hi Glenn, I think we (quite) all already know the story from Bauhaus to TOT, to Lonestation….but we don’t know if you and Daniel (and Kevin) ever recorded other material apart from the official releases (I mean demos, outtakes, different mixes or unreleased tracks). Maybe we hope for it (me for sure) , but you could say a word about that….if you want/can (?). Thanks anyway. – Bruno Cattani
‘Heartbreak Hotel’ was recorded a few years after the split but only released on ‘Weird Pop’ vinyl, along with a demo version of ‘Performance’. I played bass on Daniels version of ‘Daytripper’ – and that’s it, sorry to say.
Question for Glenn: How does it feel to hear those beautiful bass lines abused by Poptone? – Andy Holland
Ooooh ya bad boy! Truth is, I didn’t have a say in that project, but maybe Veto should’ve championed me.
Why did Tones on Tail stop after wot appears 2b a great tour? – Kong Shun
You’ll hear lots of different answers to this one. This is mine:
Dan had issues writing lyrics on his own. Looking back, he wasn’t looking forward to writing the next album after the success of ‘Pop’. He works well with David J Haskins who is a prolific wordsmith. I think, in a moment of panic, he decided to finish TOT at a time he thought would be best, in favour of working with David to form Love & Rockets.
Why put out such a great song like Go! as a B-side? Didn’t either of you think “this could be huge, let’s release it as a single and make a video for it”? – Roy Martensson
This was a double ‘A’ side – and ‘GO!’ was the most popular track. Video was only available to hugely successful bands during that time, or if you had at least £20k spare.
Will you ever tour with tones on tail in the uk again?
I doubt that would be possible – are there enough people who remember TOT, to fill venues in the UK?
Will there ever be a new tones on tail album?
Sadly unlikely. Without the original lineup it wouldn’t be possible & I wouldn’t want to put my heart & soul into another ‘disposable’ project. I’m really into what me & Mark are doing with LoneStation which I’m sure will continue to be my prime interest for some time.
Will you tour lonestation?
Yes, if & when that opportunity becomes possible. I know Mark would jump at the chance, and he’d be great on stage.
And finally happy birthday to you – Alec Styles
Glenn opens up with Torched Magazine in a previous interview along with releasing very rare Tones On Tail video footage ‘Live at Glasgow, Nightmoves – May 1984’ . He goes into details about how he obtained the footage, talks about his new project LoneStation and shares some classic Tones On Tail moments.. plus more! Read the full interview HERE.
LoneStation released Dark Matter in 2017 and is available HERE as a full download (with bonus track; Smoked) or spread across four individual E.P’s on iTunes HERE. A strictly limited edition Metal Box CD has been produced. A 16 track CD digipack is now available via the LoneStation website HERE.
LoneStation recently released their second album MACHINE which is available now with bonus track HERE.
Feature photo by Tom Backer
Many thanks to Veto Hall for going above and beyond for Torched Magazine!