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Michelle PhillipsFame & Fortune: Michelle Phillips
Still 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.

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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 "Knots Landing."

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?

Michelle 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 or '76.

Bankrate: How do you feel the record fits in with what's happening now, musically?

Michelle 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.

Bankrate: When you were new in the music business, in The Mamas and the Papas, how aware were you of the business end of things?

Michelle 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."

 
 
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