WILLIE J. CAMPBELL
I was born in Detroit Juneteenth 1957. I owe my talent to my parents. My mom Evelyn stayed home with my brother and me and practiced her love for acrylics and watercolors. My dad loved music his whole life. He sung in school, and use to skip school to see Frank Sinatra. We moved to Southern California in 1960. I played guitar for a few months around the age of ten. I couldn't play a chord with my "little smokie" sausage fingers, so I gave up. We moved to Huntington Beach California in 1970. Shortly after, David Lee Bartel moved in across the street (he and brother Johny Ray Bartel were later part of the Red Devils featuring Lester Butler and Bill Bateman from the Blasters). Dave, my brother Scott (who played with the original Red Devils and The Paladins) and I formed our first band, "Southern Select". We played every house party we could find, including gigging for the Hessians, who were a prominent motorcycle club in Southern California.
I met James Harman while I was in High School. He gave me an education I will never forget and I am indebted to him as a mentor. Besides the all night record parties, James took me to the blues clubs to meet and hang out with all the prominent West Coast artists. I remember James and me going to South Central L.A. to see Bobby Bland. I was under age and we were the only two white folks in the joint. The ladies were dressed to the "nines" and doing the Hucklebuck for Bobby. Ask me sometime to tell you about the "Dirt Boogie" contest at the old Sundance Saloon in Long Beach.
I started gigging with James and the James Harman Band became popular with many punk and rock acts around Los Angeles. I think they liked our reckless abandon. We were much like them in that we weren't mainstream. In my ten years with the James Harman Band we recorded some music and wrote some songs. A few songs made it to the big screen."Kiss of Fire" was the track playing during the rape scene in "The Accused" starring Jodie Foster. "Jump My Baby" was in an Al Pacino movie. "I've Got So Many Women" was selected for the Chuck Norris classic (lol) "Invasion USA."
I married my beautiful wife Lisa in 1988 and left music for a while moving to Marshall Missouri. We have two wonderful daughters, Symone and Siara. I put myself through school and earned a Masters Degree in Sociology. In 1995 my brother from another mother Kid Ramos was touring with The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Kid mentioned to Kim Wilson that I was available. Kim called and I was with the T-Birds from 1995-2001. What a ride and what a pleasure!
2002 brought more school and another Masters Degree. This time in Social Work (hey we all got side gigs. Pops Foster drove a shit wagon and I mess with people's minds!). I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a private practice in Marshall.
In 2009 Kid Ramos again paved the way by passing my name on to Randy Chortkoff. Randy was gracious to ask me to be a part of the Delta Groove Family. We just finished a record with the Mannish Boys and I'm looking forward to this exciting opportunity.