Gino DePinto, AOL
I'm happy to report the ladies of WP are as effervescent as ever, and as they chatted about their new CD "Dedicated," the sisterly bond the group forged during their tumultuous days growing up as children of rock royalty is clearly as strong as ever. I'd heard that the group didn't hold back during interviews, and found that to be refreshingly true as Carnie Wilson, Chynna Phillips and Wendy Wilson let me into their very complicated lives. Read on to hear about Wilson Phillips' emotional journey to their new CD (there were tears, oh yes, there were tears), the women's biggest regrets from the '90s and why, through all their various dramas, they're "Still Holding On."
Your new CD, "Dedicated" is comprised of Beach Boys and Mamas & the Papas' covers. Since you grew up around that music, it must have been hard to choose the twelve tracks that made the CD -- how did you decide?
Chynna Phillips: Carnie called the shots!
Carnie Wilson: No I didn't -- I totally didn't!
Wendy Wilson: We call her "Alpha Dog."
CW: They make fun of me a lot ... it's okay. I'm trying to change my ways, okay? It was hard for us, because we wanted to make it a double album. How can you narrow it down? It's hard. So we just chose songs that were some of our very favorites, some of the big hits. Some songs are a little less known -- but the hardcore fans will know them. Even if you don't know them, they're really catchy and really cool, and have this artistic feeling, it's really neat. We're very proud of this record.
What was your parents reaction when you told them you wanted to record this CD?
CP: My mom was a little taken aback because I think she felt nervous for us that it would draw some negative attention at first.
WW: Aren't we used to that by now?
CP: Then she realized, "Hey, they're already famous in their own right, they have their own thing going on. If we had come out as Wilson Phillips in 1991 with cover songs of our parents that would've been a disaster. After my mom got over that hump she was really excited about it. When I played her the record she burst out into tears, she was a mess. A total mess.
CW: They're very touched. And they're just fans of us anyway, like we're fans of them.
You have a collaboration with "Mama" Cass Elliot's daughter, Owen, on the album. How did that come about?
WW: We used to sing with Owen before Wilson Philips formed, but then it worked out that Wilson Phillips became just the three of us. And we always had this hole in our heart about the whole thing and we love Owen so much. She's so talented, she sounds just like her mother obviously. To sing with her again, and bring her into the studio we thought, "Why not, who would be better at singing this part that her mother sang, than her?" We brought her in and she was into it, we're so glad we did.
What was that day like in the studio?
CW: I'm not exaggerating, every single take made us cry harder. It's not just the fact that she's singing her mom's part, and sounds like her mother. It's that her mom's not here. The music, memories, photographs -- it's all she has. To see Owen sing ... I believe it was very brave of her to, because it really opens up, not a wound, but a sensitive protective part of her heart and her soul. And we honor and respect that big time, and to see her do that was killer. Plus, she just sounds so fricking good.
Carnie, your husband Rob produced this CD. Did that put a strain on your marriage at all?
CP: It was a nightmare!
CW: No it wasn't!
WW: They bickered constantly.
CW: Yeah ... maybe so.
CP: There were some very sweet, poignant moments. There were moments where you would see Carnie put her hand on Rob's shoulder and be like, "Honey you're a genius." And Rob, Mr. Humble was of course like, "Okay honey."
CW: I was mad when we would fight about certain ideas. I was either really angry with him, or I would get really horny, I don't know why. I would see him be the producer and I'd be like, 'I want to have sex right now in the other room.'
Your obviously children of rock royalty who happen to also be in a band. But what if all of your kids decided to join together and form a group in ten years, how would you react?
CW: I would cry. I'd say go ahead.
CP: I would be so happy.
CW: Be truthful. If Brooke, Lola, Leo, all the kids, if they all said...
CP: As long as they don't call themselves Bonfiglio Baldwin, I'll be very happy. That would be a scary title.
CW: It's like the law firm. Bonfiglio, Knutson and Baldwin.
CP: You can't squash a child's dreams. Unless they want to call themselves Bonfiglio, Knutson and Baldwin. Then you squash it!
A lot has changed since your group found fame in the '90s. Have you guys embraced the world of Twitter and Facebook like so many other artists today?
CW: I feel forced to Twitter. I find it the most annoying thing on the face of the planet. I think it's the most egotistical thing I've ever seen in my life. "I'm doing this ... I'm doing that."
CP: Do you know how many ideas you can share with people, the ways you can help others [on Twitter]?
CW: I had a really bad experience with a person who wanted me to describe my bowel movements every day on Twitter and it freaked me out. I was like I can't do this sort of thing. It turned me off. I was like, "Is this what's going on out there?" It was really scary, weird. Then I put a block, and now there's privacy issues, and people are like 'I cant get to you.' I don't even know how to Twitter. Tweet? Oh for God's sake I can't even say it right!
These days, you all are so fashionable. But looking past at styles past, is there anything that you wore back in the '90s that makes you cringe?
CP: I wore bras [as tops]. They're still cute, but I don't know if I could wear them today.
CW: I could lose the trench coat.
WW: The big black eyebrows ...
CW: The hair...
WW: My hair was a little too orange ...
Your new TV Show, "Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On" just premiered. What was it like having the cameras film your every move? Were there moments you wish you could have edited out?
WW: Yes, there are things that you said that you wish you didn't say later and you can't sleep at night, tossing and turning. I don't want to say specifics, but it happens. You're totally exposing yourself on a reality show and we learn that if you don't want people to know or hear something, dont say it. You have control.
CP: We're in a partnership in a group, and also as friends. So it's really hard to walk that fine line. You're business partners and you're friends. It's a very meshy boundary there, it's unclear.
CW: People are not always on the same wavelength. We go through different things at different times and when you're a friend you support what they're going through at the time. The first episode focuses on the fact that I had a surgery and I was healing, and put a couple things in jeopardy and I wish that it didn't happen but it did. It's not like i regret anything, I don't think they regret anything. We support each other. Sometimes we can disappoint each other, but we support each other. Sisterhood!
Carnie, one of the things documented on the show is your weight loss surgery. Are you afraid that you'll gain the weight back that you lost after this latest procedure?
CW: No, not now. I'm in a very positive hopeful place. I was for a while, and that's why I had to make a change, and have an intervention with it, again. I called an intervention. I needed help.
CP: It's funny how you say intervention, because you had an intervention with yourself. Nobody else had an intervention with you.
CW: That's right. My message to people is you have to help yourself and when you're ready to change something, then you're ready. Nobody can do it for you. Don't hide out by yourself and feel ashamed, like a failure. You have to reach out and get help to do something about it. Being vocal about it is very important. I'm not the kind of person that hides anything, as you can tell. People have known this about me, and they're still going on the journey with me. I'm with them, and that's the point.
You've been a band for 20 years now. If you could go back and change anything, what would you do differently?
CP: Do not spend the money.
CP: Don't spend the money, honey, because it's not a gravy train, it's not going to keep coming. Chances are, it's not going to keep coming. Do smart things with your money.
CW: I'm with her.
CP: Don't give your publishing away... We were making millions of dollars.
CW: When you make a ton of money and you're really young, people don't warn you ... I had like $50,000 of corsets. It was nuts... They were thousands of dollars. They were custom made. We would walk into Cartier, and buy all of the watches, the same day.
CP: We thought it was so funny to slide our credit cards, $18,000 dollars each!
CW: We're like, "Oh my god we just spend $18,000 dollars on a watch." Now I'm like, "$18,000 dollars, that's private school, that's a car."
CP: It was insane. When you're young and naive, and on the cover of Rolling Stone, and traveling everywhere, you think the money's just going to keep on rolling.
CW: It's about gratitude now.
WW: Also, take pictures because you're going to forget everything. Be in the moment, if you're just focused on the future, you're not in the moment.
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