Wilson Phillips rides the crest of a career resurgence
BY TRICIA DESPRES November 9, 2012 9:26AM
Wilson Phillips — Wendy Wilson (from left), Carnie Wilson and Chynna Phillips — are back on the road, with a tour stop Saturday night at Blue Chip Casino.
♦ 8 p.m. Nov. 10
♦ Blue Chip Casino, 777 Blue Chip Drive, Michigan City, Ind.
♦Tickets, $30 -$60
♦ (219) 879-7711;
If ever there was a personality that could quite literally jump through the phone lines, it belongs to one-third of pop trio Wilson Phillips — Carnie Wilson.
“If you don’t mind, I’m going to be unloading groceries while we talk,” she explains, ending the sentence with a hearty laugh. “A lot of times, people view people in the public eye as celebrities who don’t have the lives that everyone else does. And I guess if you are a single and you are a celebrity and you live the Hollywood lifestyle, you can put them in that category, but that ain’t us.”
Indeed, the threesome of Carnie and Wendy Wilson, daughters of Beach Boys’ founding legend Brian Wilson, and Chynna Phillips, daughter of the Mamas & Papas’ John and Michelle Phillips, are now working moms working hard to keep their musical career afloat while caring for a combined total of nine children.
“All of the children seem to have musical talents and they all can sing, but I think a few of them are truly gifted musically,” explains Carnie. The trio will perform on Nov. 10 at Blue Chip Casino.
“My daughter Lola can sing the harmony to commercials. It’s just amazing to watch all of them.”
Wilson Phillips is most noted for its streak of pop music success in the early 1990s, selling more than 11 million copies of three albums and producing six Top 20 singles. In 2012, the group released “Dedicated,” a compilation of covers of some of the Beach Boys and the Mamas and the Papas biggest hits.
Despite a musical career that has lasted over twenty years, the three California girls continue to find themselves lumped under the umbrella of the shared triumphs and tragedies of their musical mothers and fathers.
“My dad [Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson] might not have been a great or hands-on dad, but he taught me to play the piano,” says Carnie Wilson, her voice suddenly growing quieter. “I got to remember the good things — he could only be what he knew how to be.”
From Phillips appearance on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” to Carnie and Wendy Wilson’s recent television appearances on CBS’ “The Talk,” opportunities to expand on the Wilson Phillips brand keep coming in. And resurgence of the music that gained the threesome throngs of loyal fans back in the 1990s continues to do its magic, including a rather popular cameo in the blockbuster movie “Bridesmaids” (2011).
“We have been blessed with quite resurgence these days,” explainsWilson (her mother, Marilyn Wilson, is originally from Chicago). “The three of us have wanted to do an album of originals for a while now, but it’s almost seems as if we might need to do it on our own to make it happen. With ‘Bridesmaids’ came this brand-new fan base that we can now introduce our songs to. Granted, some of them were only 3 years old when ‘Hold On’ came out.”
“You might as well just hand me my cane and walker, right?,” she says laughing. “Seriously, people remember our music, and our music brings them back to a great time. I can’t tell you how many people come up to me and tell me that their guilty pleasure is Wilson Phillips. I mean, why? We sing about love and the things everyone goes through. Why feel guilty about that?”
Tricia Despres is a local free-lance writer.