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Brandon Campbell and The Northwest Three Head South of the Border... Sort of

A Wall of Voodo cover that stands out from the original

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Brandon Campbell and The Northwest Three have been cooped up for far too long during this pandemic. Their last in-person show was on March 12, 2020—for musicians, that's basically like LeBron James not dribbling a basketball for a whole year.

During this time, Campbell has turned his focus toward writing new material (what he calls the "writing cave"), and a year after the group's last show, its most recent endeavor is a music video for their rendition of Wall of Voodoo's 1983 hit, "Mexican Radio." The music video is a fun visual for an instrumental take that features Campbell on guitar, Brian Hickey on upright cardboard bass, Mark Evans on tenor guitar and clairvoyant chord and Nate Kitt on drums. The video's setting is a pirate radio station in Mexico... or is it?

Stay tuned for more music from Brandon Campbell and The Northwest Three later this year. - COURTESY BRANDON CAMPBELL
  • Courtesy Brandon Campbell
  • Stay tuned for more music from Brandon Campbell and The Northwest Three later this year.

The Source reached out to Campbell with a few questions on the group's interest in covering "Mexican Radio," writing during the pandemic and what's up next for them.

Source Weekly: What about "Mexican Radio" made you guys want to do your own cover of the song?

Brandon Campbell: It's such an unusual, fun tune that always takes me by surprise when I hear it. There have been several covers of it with vocals, but I thought it would be unique to do an acoustic, gypsy swing version. It gave me a chuckle to think of someone listening to it and saying, 'Wait... I know what this is!' In addition, I've always been a big fan of Stan Ridgway (even got to open for him once, years ago) and thought it would be a fun way to attempt to tip my hat to him.

SW: Where did you shoot the music video? Did you have a fun time making it?

BC: I have a small office/shed in my backyard that I work out of and we filmed everything in there (save for stock exterior footage in the intro) with my old Canon Rebel T3i. With COVID that was a challenge as I had to film each band member separately. I was outfitted with gloves, a mask and a face shield while I set up each shot. I would then start rolling, hit the audio track and go outside while each guy would remove his mask and film his part. My goal was that since we couldn't film all of us playing together, that we might be able to create the illusion that we were all in the same room together: a pirate radio station south of the border (even though it was snowing outside).

We had an absolute blast filming it. I had no idea how much I would enjoy every aspect of it - figuring out the backdrops, the lighting, even the hours of editing... I loved it! If I wasn't so damn crazy about the guitar, I could totally see myself getting into filming more.

SW: You mentioned it's been over a year since you've gone out and performed. Do you see any shows coming up for you in the near future?

BC: Our last show was right before the national quarantine on March 12, 2020, at Spoken Moto. We are hopeful that we can all be vaccinated and get out there again this summer. Everyone has a lot of live music to catch up on and we hope that we can be a part of that.

Check out Brandon Campbell and The Northwest Three's cover of "Mexican Radio" on YouTube and stream it on Spotify or Apple Music.

SW: In regards to your writing, have you been able to stay productive while in quarantine? Can we expect any new songs or projects this year?

BC: Definitely. For my last two albums, I recorded all of the instruments myself and was excited for the next album to be with The Northwest Three. So, instead of wallowing in the fact that we couldn't play live I saw this as an opportunity to enter the "writing cave" again. I've got five new pieces completed and the charts for five more right now, but writing will slow down a bit as we gear up to begin performing again. It's funny how it ebbs and flows: you write, record, then have to learn how to play your instrument again. We would love to have the new album out by the end of this year, if possible, and will push for that. With some trial and error, this new single gave us a great jump start on how we'll go about recording the rest of the tunes... but, hopefully next time without masks!

About The Author

Isaac Biehl

Isaac is living proof that "Iowa Nice" is actually a thing. A journalism graduate from Iowa State University, he regularly writes about music, the outdoors and the arts/culture scene. Isaac loves the Trail Blazers, backpacking and a good IPA. He plans to one day win Survivor. Your move, Jeff Probst...

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