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David's Going Places

NW goes behind-the-scenes on the set of David Campbell's latest single, When She's Gone.

Talk to us about the video. The video for Hope was so specific and this one's a bit more open, expansive and personal. It's a bit like a road movie with me and a girl. The song's about what you'd do to make it right. So we start with a fight and then flash to making up.

Do you think a fight is worth having for the making up that follows? No. It is in video land but nowhere else!

Who's the girl in the video? She's a young Canadian girl called Priscilla. She's only out here for a while so we grabbed her while we could. She's got these amazing Helena Christensen eyes that just light up the screen.

Do you have a big hand in choosing her? Yeah I do. I mean there a lot of people involved obviously, but I definitely have a hand in choosing.

Lucky you! How long did the shoot go for? It was one day - a 16-hour day - in which we did the whole thing. Yeah, it was a long day.

Are you excited to be releasing your second single? Look, I was just so excited at the great response we got from Hope. And I think this is a stronger song - and the video looks great!

If When She's Gone is stronger, why didn't you release it first? I take a boxer's approach to music. You don't want to come out and give them your best shot straight away. It's more like a jab with the left and then a hook with the right. This is my right hook.

Where did you get that philosophy from? I just made it up then! Look, I really think that Hope is a great song. And it's a much showier song. And this song really rocks and sits there. And we had to do a lot of re-educating with this album and getting me out there again. And because it is such a strong song I didn't want it to do all the hard work that Hope did. But now that Hope's done all the hard work we can go and select a song that just rocks. I mean, I wouldn't think of doing this if I was a new artist I suppose, I'd go out with the rockiest song but because of my theatre background we had to get people to accept the new direction. Not the audience, but more like radio and ... I mean, I think Hope's a great song and I love it but it was definitely like a short jab to the chin to wake people up so that we can come in and hook people with this one. And hopefully we'll floor people with this one. I love this song. I think it's terrific. I've been sitting on it for a year - we recorded this song over a year ago. So I'm dying for people to hear this one.

How's the re-education going? People are really accepting of change in this country which is one reason I came home from New York. I was already being typecast as something there and I didn't want that. So I really wanted to try change direction a bit. And people have really opened up and really welcomed it so I'm just relieved that people are getting off on it. This is what I've wanted to do since I was 15 - so it's all good.

You never had any other childhood ambitions? I really had an ambition to be educated but that's not going to happen so ... I guess I'll keep rocking!

There's always night classes. Not when you're gigging at night!

True. Maybe you could do it by correspondence? Maybe. I could be like one of those kids at home pedalling so I could get the radio going ... I don't know.

Or a tutor? I might actually go back and try and learn a thing or two. Because I was such a terrible student that I feel like I took advantage of that. But I'm all school of life, as well.

Anything you'd like to study? Yeah, I think I'd like to learn a few languages. I'd like to learn Japanese and maybe some French. Although I tried to do French in high school and I got to all those verbs and I was like, "Well, I could work on French or I could work on girls and music."

And we can all guess which one you chose. Every time!

Has it steered you well? Yes and no. The music part has - the girls it comes and goes. I'm okay now but for a long time it was oh no ... It was a continuing lesson.  

Are we going to see you touring?

We're doing a mini tour at the moment but on the back of the second single we'll do more. I love getting out and performing to people. City or the country it doesn't matter to me.

Do you get a better reaction in the country?

They're ready to really party up there, where as in the city you get people coming, not to judge you but to see that you're doing OK. Whereas in the country people are coming out to party and have a really good time. We have a really feel good show. We've got a great band and we rock really hard and it really is a complete ... I like to call it an event. I mean people come along, we're up there rocking really hard, we do the complete album, we've got a couple of covers. We're loving it.

What covers do you do?

We're working on Highway To Hell at the moment. We do Saturday Night Is Alright For Fighting. I've got an amazing backing singer called Amanda Davis and she and I do Nothing Compares To You and it's just incredible.

Anything you take with you on tour?

CDs. Whatever music I'm listening to at the moment.

What are you listening to at the moment?

I'm going through a Prince phase at the moment. I'm getting into all of the back catalogue and educating myself on all the albums that I don't really know. I've got a couple of Too Many DJs albums, Beyonce, the new Radiohead album and then going back to my old Radiohead back catalogue. A lot of rock and uptempo stuff.

Jumping all over the genres. I tend to do that.

Do you think you'll branch out and do maybe R&B stuff? I don't think I'll do any R&B. I know how to rock and I know how to sing so I think I'll stick to that.

Any good rock star poses you throw? The legs spread apart with the microphone screaming's always a good one. The Bon Jovi point which you can always do. There's a few things - I won't tell you all my secrets or then everyone can do it.

Have you ever practised in front of the mirror? Be honest. As a teenager I did. When I was in a rock band when I was in high school for sure! We were the best rehearsers in the suburb. We'd put all our moves together. We had our mullets and our ripped jeans. Then we'd normally get bored and go to McDonalds. We never really gigged that much! But now 15 years later I bring them out.

What was your first band called? We called ourselves Overload. After a year the drummer got his girlfriend pregnant and the bass player wanted to be a physio and the guitarist found God. It's like a bad Bryan Adams song - it was the summer of '89!

Any good-luck rituals before you get on stage? I have a couple of good-luck T-shirts. I've got this Aerosmith T-shirt, because they were my favourite band. I actually saw them in 1990 and it was a major revelation to me. But apart from that I try not to give myself too many rituals because I've got enough as it is. I tend to drink lots of coffee and go on stage and throw myself into the gig. We play Sly And The Family Stone before we go on.

Done any performance which particularly stands out? At the moment they've all been pretty great. I just had my 30th birthday on the 6th of August. And the cake came on stage and my girlfriend brought it up and everyone was rocking out. That was really great. But I haven't had any big disasters yet. You can't have a bad time when you're doing what you love.

Any secret skills? This is basically it. I feel pretty embarrassed to say it but you know, I can't juggle or, as you know, speak another language or anything like that. But I wish I did. My secret skill is that I'm a performer which is not really a secret, is it? You've got to be focused on what you do, you can't diversify all the time.

Most rock and roll moment so far? I have a lot of them! Probably recording the album and the first time you hear your track coming back at you you're like, "This is awesome." You almost forget it's you because it's such a great song. I could tell you other rock and roll moments but you probably couldn't' print them. I've shaken my ass on stage and had women grab it.

Really? Have you had anyone throw anything to you? No, no knickers yet. I've been thrown out of a few bars but that's all.

NW September 2003