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David Campbell – New Member of the Old School

David Campbell may be Jimmy Barnes’ son, but his voice and career are all his own. After doing rock music in Aussie pubs and cabaret in New York clubs, he’s found his musical calling on Swing Sessions II. Now that he’s reached the ripe old age of 34, he proclaims proudly that he ‘likes the gravitas of tackling Sinatra.’ In this interview, he also tackled…

…The Timeless. You can’t karaoke a classic. I think you need to have the life experiences to sing ‘One for My Baby and One for the Road’ or even to sing ‘Just a Gigolo’… You’ve gotta tip your hats to the great, but give it your own slant.

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… What Makes the Greats Great. The great songs are so beautifully constructed that you can take almost any angle on it and they’ll be great. We might poo-poo some of the lyrics if they were in a pop song today, but when they combine with the music it is just so classic. It is timeless. They are there waiting to come back all the time. They can’t be killed off. They are that good.

… Entertainment Stripped. Shows like It Takes Two and Dancing with the Stars are successful because people want entertainment again. We want that feeling of forgetting everything and just being entertained, and I think we have forgotten how to be entertained… Is it the rise and fall of stadium rock? I’m talking about those guys like Tom Jones and Peter Allen who were so personable and didn’t hide behind songs and screens. I’m talking about stripping it all back to nothing because, hey, I can’t afford screens.

… Pop Music’s Fizzle. I used to work in radio a couple of years ago and I just can’t stand pop, any of it, anymore. Thom Yorke [of Radiohead] likened it to a buzzing fridge, and that’s what I’m hearing – the same thing on every station and there is no point of difference… People, Buble and Harry Connick and to a lesser extent myself, are going back to classic songs because they’re songs you can rely on for a great night.

… Being Barnesy’s Son. Ten years ago, I would have said it was a help and a hindrance – it gets you in the door, but then you have to prove yourself. In the last few years, I think anyone who is the son or daughter of anyone famous, it just means you got to prove yourself. And don’t you have to prove yourself anyways? No one is going to give you the world for free, even if you are Jimmy’s son. Sure, it has gotten me a bit of notice. Ten years of ‘Barnesy’s boy makes it in the big’, that was a hard thing to live under. Once I went ‘I’m not going to be angry about this anymore’, it stopped. I think a lot of it was my own Arthur Miller-type angst hanging over from my teenage years. At the end of the day, if you earn the respect to be there, it’s not a hindrance. You just got to work hard it. And you know what? My Dad is a hard worker. In the latter years, I have just modeled myself on his workload ironically, just in a different way. He just worked hard and treated people well. It’s as easy as that.

… Musical Fantasy. I’d take one of the Vegas hotels, the old ones, and I’d bring the Rat Pack back. I’d have Elvis, but in the thinner years, opening. I wouldn’t even want to see the Beatles on stage because I know they’d probably be rubbish. Elvis, then Sammy, Dean and Frank, then they all come together. And I’ll be the guy wheeling on the drinks trolley, me and Jerry Lewis.

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