Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

October 22, 1945 – November 14, 2019

Canadian Bassist Brad Campell

Brad Campbell played at Woodstock as part of Janis Joplin’s Kozmic Blues Band. Of course, like all musicians, he’d had things happen before and many things following.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Last Words

Canadian Bassist Brad Campell

Though little known in the US, the first big band Brad Campbell played in was the Canadian band, The Last Words. The original group was comprised of Graeme Box (lead guitar), Ron Guenther (drums) and Brad’s brother Noel Campbell (piano).

According to a Barbed Wire Design article, The Last Words began in Clarkson, Ontario in 1961 as the The Beachcombers.  Began and ended after two gigs.

Then, liking Ronnie Hawkins, they became the Nighthawks.

In 1964 Noel Campbell left the band, but before leaving invited brother Brad to join. Brad played bass.

Now they were The Smamokins band, but that soon changed to The Last Words.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

I Symbolize You

Their first single in 1965, The Laugh’s On Me / She’ll Know How, for RCA Canada received very little air play, but in 1966 they hit the Canadian charts with a Columbia release, I Symbolize You / It Made Me Cry.

In late 1966, they released their last charted single, Give Me Time / Drive A Mini Minor, again on Columbia.

Bill Dureen left the group in 1967 and the remaining members continued with three others until 1968. Next was joining “The Paupers” with Skip Prokop (Lighthouse).

An interesting aside, Albert Grossman managed the Paupers and in early 1967 when Monterey Pop organizers were inviting groups, Grossman pushed to have the Paupers there. They did perform on the festival’s first night, but this was before Campbell was in the group.

Luckily for Brad…

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Janis Joplin

In 1968 he went to New York.

He auditioned for Janis Joplin and she instructed her agent Albert Grossman to hire Brad.

He joined the Kozmic Blues band in late 1968. He’d eventually join Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band.

A Know Your Bass Player article wrote: To my ears, the Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band, with bassist Brad Campbell, were the perfect match to advance Janis’ groundbreaking artistry after she departed Big Brother & The Holding Company.

Throughout I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama (1969), Pearl (1971),  and tracks on the archival In Concert (1972) [Campbell} fortified Ms. Joplin’s forays into soul and rhythm and blues on such classic tracks as “Try,” “Move Over,” “Half Moon,” and “Me and Bobbie McGee” with harmonic and rhythmic passages evocative of the Motown, Stax, and Atlantic Records session masters – who, at the time, were his peers.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Post Janis

Brad returned to Canada after Janis’s death.

He’d married and begin a family and apparently worked for the courts. 

His 2019 obituary read: Brad Campbell passed away suddenly and peacefully on November 14, 2019. Survived by his loving wife Linda of 45 years. Cherished by his loving daughters; Melissa, Diana and Meredith. As per his wishes cremation has taken place. He will be missed by family and many friends. Brad will also be remembered for his love and passion for music. Donations in Brad’s memory may be made through

His Discography from the Discogs site.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

12 thoughts on “Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell”

      1. Melissa Campbell, if you are Brad’s daughter, I met you in 2006.

        Brad was a fabulous musician and an even better man. I spoke with Mrs. Campbell as soon as I learned of his passing. My condolences.

  1. I met Brad in 2006. His family could not have been more hospitable. My only regret: I did not get a photo with him.

    When Brad passed last year, it hurt. Rest peacefully, my Frye did!

  2. I am Brad’s wife and Brad never played with Doyle, Lawson and Quicksilver. This is also not a picture of Brad playing Three Words. This must be another Brad Campbell.

    1. Hi Linda. I am Lori Lyne. Daughter of Al Venters Brad’s cousin. Today is the 1st i learned of his passing. So sorry to hear. My mom is still going. I will let her know. We don’t seem to be in touch with this side of the family anymore . Say hello to Noel and Sandra for me

    2. Hi Linda: I just read about Brad’s passing. I was so sorry to find out. My very late condolences to you. I met Brad in 1968 or 1969 when I moved to Milton with my parents. I went to a high school in Oakville and my sister dated Gary Box (Graeme Box’s brother). Brad was an extremely nice and sensitive person. All the best to you. Karin Tomosky

  3. I’ve been playing bass for 50 years. I have studied many bass players. Brad was one of the most outstanding bass players from the 60’s and 70’s. Although he was in the background visually if you closely listen to his playing he was right in front in the music. His rhythmic and harmonic choices we impeccable. He drove the Kosmic Blues Band and helped Janis achieve her best albums. He combined psychedelic rock with R&B like no one else. Listen to his playing on Tell Mama from the train festival documentary if you want to be blown away. Brad made his mark and was the real deal! RIP Brad

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