& Fortune: Michelle Phillips
California Dreamin' -- 'Life has been good'
The most surprising thing about
Michelle Phillips is that singing -- her primary claim to fame --
was not only an unplanned endeavor, it's not how she's spent most
of her adult life.
The beautiful, blonde female singer for The Mamas
and the Papas was working as a model when her then-husband, the
late John Phillips, dragged her into music. And since the end of
the band's 1960s heyday, she has spent much more of her career acting
than making music. She appeared in her first film in 1971 -- "The
Last Movie," directed by Dennis Hopper, to whom she was infamously
married for eight days. Since then she has appeared in more than
30 films and also spent six years on the popular nighttime serial
But if music hardly dominated her life, she did not
forsake it completely after The Mamas and the Papas. She recorded
a solo album in 1977 called "Victim of Romance," which
promptly got lost amidst the burgeoning forms of disco, punk rock
and new wave. Now, Hip-O Select, an imprint of Universal Music Group,
has reissued "Victim of Romance," remastering the original
album's 10 tracks along with 10 previous unreleased songs that were
produced by John Phillips. The reissue is titled "Victim Of
Romance & Rarities," and Bankrate spoke with Michelle Phillips
about the album and her bizarre accidental music career.
Bankrate: How does
it feel to have "Victim Of Romance" out there again?
Phillips: It's very interesting, because I had completely forgotten about
most of the rarities. I didn't know they existed, so it came as a shock to hear
these songs I haven't heard since I was in the studio with John Phillips in 1975
Bankrate: How do you
feel the record fits in with what's happening now, musically?
Phillips: It doesn't fit in at all. It never did. But it doesn't matter
to me that it doesn't fit in. I'm not a big fan of contemporary music now. I really
love singing with other people, and I love harmonies, and whenever I can drag
someone in to sing with me on a solo album, I do that.
When you were new in the music business, in The Mamas and the Papas, how aware
were you of the business end of things?
Phillips: I wasn't at all aware of the business end of things. I was hardly
aware of the singing part of things. I was dragged into the group kicking and
screaming. I had no ambition to be a singer. I had met and married John Phillips,
and I was modeling at the time. When his group, The Journeymen, broke up, he said,
"When I put my group back together, you're going to be in it." I was
choking on my spaghetti. I said, "Why on earth would I be in the group?"
and he said, "It's the only way we can justify your expenses on the road."