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Chris Campion

Chris Campion

A long-term contributor to the Daily Telegraph and the Observer, Chris Campion never wanted to be a music journalist and has been trying his utmost to sabotage his career since the late '90s. Drawn to the extremes of popular culture, as well as its beating heart, he has written feature articles that include a lengthy treatise on the bizarre fan-led metaculture surrounding girl groups and boy bands in the Japanese pop industry, a sympathetic portrait of the personalities who drove the chaotic and oft-times violent emergence of Norwegian black metal, and an exploration of the extraordinary spirit and defiance of folk music produced by embattled Sami peoples living in the Scandinavian Arctic Circle. These have appeared alongside profiles of mainstream pop acts, celebrities, artists and outsiders, and also true crime stories, in publications such as The Guardian, The Times, Rolling Stone, The Wire, Dazed & Confused and Bizarre.

His first book, a notorious 2010 anti-biography of the Police, Walking on the Moon: the Untold Story of the Police and the rise of New Wave Rock (Aurum Press), set the rise of the popular white reggae band (dubbed "the world's first Thatcherite pop group") against a backdrop of Cold War politics and the neoconservative triumphalism of the American music industry. Along the way, it also tackled the obscene posturing underpinning the '80s fad for charity rock and the strange phenomenon of gay Police fan fiction.

The book polarised readers, fans and reviewers alike. Unhappy Police fans derided the book as "brutally negative and mean-spirited" and "one man's crusade to destroy the Police and their legacy". Critics praised it as "a sharpened pin to the bloated balloon of mythmaking", an antipathetic biography in the vein of Barry Miles' Frank Zappa and Victor Bockris' Keith Richards that was "pungent but nonetheless serious". Sting did not pass comment.

In 2010, frustrated with the lack of opportunities to write about the music he loves at length, he also started a record label, Saint Cecilia Knows (after the patron saint of musicians) as a roundabout way of writing liner notes for a planned series of reissues of unheralded musical geniuses. The first release, a deluxe box set of seminal albums by Mickey Newbury (entitled An American Trilogy), was acclaimed by all quarters as a long overdue monument to one of America's most brilliant and overlooked songwriters.

He is currently at work on an authorised biography of Papa John Phillips, founder and creative force behind the Mamas and the Papas, for St. Martin's Press.

Saint Cecilia Knows Records

List of articles in the library by artist

Brujeria: This Is Jarcor: Brujeria

Profile and Interview by Chris Campion, Dazed & Confused, July 2003

Mexican Death metal band Brujeria are the white man's nightmare. Striking mortal fear into the populace both north and south of the border for over ...

John Phillips, The Mamas and The Papas: King of the Wild Frontier: Papa John Phillips

Retrospective and Interview by Chris Campion, Observer Music Monthly, March 2009

IN AUGUST 1977, John Phillips was supposed to be recording the album with Keith Richards that would mark his comeback. ...

Mickey Newbury: Guitars, Boats And Fairways: Mickey Newbury and Friends on Old Hickory Lake

Sleevenotes by Chris Campion, Saint Cecilia Knows Records, 2011

IT LOOKS, FROM ABOVE, like a snake arching through the brush. A series of long blind curves that begins at Hendersonville, the small community formed ...

Dan Penn: Muscle Shoals: Soul of the South

Retrospective and Interview by Chris Campion, unpublished, September 2004

Muscle Shoals and Fame Studios are synonymous with the golden era of soul music. But the musicians who wrote and played on the songs that ...

Alan Vega, Suicide: Alan Vega

Interview by Chris Campion, Dazed & Confused, July 2002

IT'S TAKEN 30 years for Alan Vega to make the transition from surly street punk and art world agitator to New York institution. Better known ...

Tiny Tim: Hello Stranger: Tiny Tim

Retrospective by Chris Campion, Observer Music Monthly, September 2006

HE WAS A GOTHIC APPARITION in a grey plaid jacket, a mane of wiry black hair spilling over the shoulders. His face, powdered and blotchy, ...

Tony Joe White: Audience With The Other Elvis

Interview by Chris Campion, Daily Telegraph, December 2006

Tony Joe White, writer of 'Polk Salad Annie' and 'Rainy Night in Georgia', talks to Chris Campion about his mythic songs and his Louisiana childhood ...

List of genre pieces

Rick Rubin: Metal Guru

Interview by Chris Campion, Dazed & Confused, April 2003

The influence of the crush grooves produced by Def Jam and American Recordings founder, Rick Rubin, are stronger than ever. ...

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