Name: Phillip Gerard Campbell
Residence: Brooklyn, NY
Profession: Writer, producer, proud AOL employee
Are there any websites, twitter IDs, or other social media information you want us to mention on this page? My own website is www.iamphilcampbell.com; my half-heartedly used Twitter ID is @iamphilcampbell; the website for “Grassroots,” the film starring Jason Biggs that’s based on my first book, is www.grassrootsthefilm.com; and you can buy my first book here: http://tinyurl.com/klfosum
What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes? I read. I write. I play with my son. I hang out with family and friends. I have panic attacks over absolutely nothing in the middle of the day. The first four things for me are essential to feeling alive, the last thing I could do without but am so used to it’s now a habit that won’t go away.
When did you first hear about the town of Phil Campbell, Alabama? I was drunk and dateless on a Friday night in 1993, watching an old episode of “Hee Haw” with my college roommates, when they said “How-deeee!” to the folks of Phil Campbell, Alabama. I’ll keep it short, because a great deal of things happened immediately after that, but from that point forward it became my goal in life to get to know the town of Phil Campbell -- and as many other people named Phil Campbell -- that I could.
Were you able to attend the Phil Campbell Hoedown of June 2011? Yes. It is a strange crowning achievement in my life to be able to say that I organized the world’s first International Phil Campbell Convention in Phil Campbell, Alabama the weekend of the June 2011 Hoedown. It would have been just a silly stunt but when the EF-5 tornado devastated the town I’m very proud to say that we Phil Campbells were able to work with Habitat for Humanity and turn the stunt into a fundraiser for the town. I wear my “I’m with Phil” t-shirt whenever I can.
If you did go to the hoedown, what did you think of the experience? The experience of helping the town of Phil Campbell, Alabama, and to see how the people of Phil Campbell were helping themselves, will remain as one of the most moving, memorable experiences of my life. I was humbled by the damage from the tornado, inspired by the resilience of the people of Phil Campbell, and thrilled at the energy with which my fellow Phil Campbells stepped up to help this small town. To see Phil Campbells from around the world, from Alaska to Australia, come to Phil Campbell and try to help the people there is a stunning reminder of how people will step up to help total strangers in a time of need.
You are a Phil Campbell. What do you think of that name? The irony of this story for me personally is that frankly I never much liked my name. It’s kind of an ordinary name. I think Phil Campbell from Ohio summed it up best when he said that a Phil is not the superhero with a secret identity but rather the likable next-door neighbor who tends his lawn (I named my own son Mungo, if that gives you any idea). The original impetus for me for gathering Phil Campbells from around the world was to find out just how much variety I could see in the other Phils. It’s been quite an interesting experiment in seeing what makes people unique and what makes them just like everybody else.
Tell us a little about yourself, as many words as you would like. Watch Andrew Reed’s documentary I’m with Phil to find out more about me, because I’ve talked too much about myself already for this story! (seriously, at one point Andrew had me in front of a camera talking about myself for nine hours straight, just so we had ten or so solid minutes of film for the documentary. It was completely exhausting, but completely worthwhile. I have nothing but admiration for people who persist in making a good story like I’m with Phil come to life, despite the time and patience it really takes).