Born of Aussie rock royalty

DAVID Campbell may be the son of legendary Australian rock star Jimmy Barnes, but you won’t find him singing any pub rock tunes.

With a passion for music from the ’50s and ’60s, Australia’s new ‘king of swing’ feels he may have been born in the wrong era.

“I was brought up by a lot of women (like) my grandmother and, having an English wife, if I don’t have good manners towards women and other people, I will get my arse kicked on a daily basis,” explains Campbell.

“I absolutely was born in the wrong era, but I do like the technology of today.”

David Campbell was adopted by his maternal grandmother and raised in Adelaide – both Barnes and his mother were very young when he was born. He was 11 when he found out that Jimmy Barnes was his dad, that the woman he thought was his mother was his grandmother, and his ‘sister’ was actually his mother.

He first found he could really sing in high school, where he was lead singer of a band, which he says was not as cool as it sounds.

“We weren’t as cool as say Glee Club. They didn’t have pimples and mullets like we did,” he says. “I guess I really knew I could sing in high school and we did rock stuff like Huey Lewis and the News and corny stuff like that.”

He certainly didn’t go on the same journey as his dad by doing the pub circuit with a band.

Campbell kicked off his career in theatre, where he found work on stage in both New York and London after receiving rave reviews in Australian productions.

“This music (swing) never really goes out of style,” says Campbell. “It’s timeless and eternal; the songs like me and the Boob (Michael Buble) sing are eternal.”

Those ‘eternal’ blue-eyed soulful sounds have now found Campbell and Barnes crossing musical paths. They have sung a duet – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – and Barnes has recently released the Rhythm and the Blues tribute album to the soul greats of the 1960s.

“Yeah, I’ve brought dad over from the ‘dark side’ to the ‘light side’. It suits him as well. Obviously he loves the rock stuff, but it is great to see him do something a bit lighter, and he is great at it,” Campbell says.

Music obviously runs in the blood. Not only is Campbell’s dad in the music industry, but his uncles, Swanee and Diesel, and his sisters have made it on stage.

So at Christmas does a family with so much musical talent gather around the piano after Christmas lunch?

“We don’t sing. It’s our day off,” Campbell says.

“Although several years ago my younger sister was dating Neil Finn’s son and we had Christmas with them. They all get up and sing after Christmas dinner. We were surprised, but we had to join in.”

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