Sterling Campbell is a native of New York City. Born May 3, 1964, Campbell began playing drums at the tender age of 11. In 1982, Campbell graduated from the prestigious High School of Music and Art in Manhattan. However, he credits his family for his musical appreciation. Sterling is the youngest of six boys who all share a love for music.
Besides listening to R&B, Campbell’s brothers introduced him to artists such as Elton John and Chicago. He was blown away by Led Zeppelin’s eclectic style on “Houses of the Holy.” All the musical changes going on at this time had an influence on Campbell and his drumming. When Campbell was 14, David Bowie’s drummer at the time, Dennis Davis, moved into Sterling’s apartment building and invited him to a Bowie concert. Seeing someone he knows performing a show at such a grand scale convinced him to become a serious drummer. He enjoyed fusion, but at the same time was heading towards an art-rock style like Roxy Music and Peter Gabriel.
Campbell began his career on the local New York Rock scene, playing drums in famed early 80’s rock clubs such as CBGB’s, The Ritz, and The Peppermint Lounge. Campbell played in singer-songwriter bands, ska bands, fusion groups, and punk acts. In 1986, Campbell toured with Cyndi Lauper on her True Colors World Tour.
The True Colors World Tour opened many doors for Campbell. From here he got to work with Cameo, which was a much different experience. Then he went to Europe because he loved the music coming out of England at the time. He joined a band called So that never gained commercial success, but was personally gratifying to Sterling. After a little over a year of doing that, he got a call from Duran Duran in 1987 and accepted an offer to join the band. In the early 90’s Sterling recorded with David Bowie. Shortly after, Sterling joined Soul Asylum, but the thrill of playing with Bowie must have been too strong. In the 90’s Sterling was a member of Soul Asylum and then with David Bowie. After many years apart, he reunited with Bowie to record his album, “Reality,” and 2003 saw a tour that will hit seventeen countries over a seven-month period.