Carnie Wilson on Food Shows, Wilson Phillips, and Fat Jokes: "I'm So Sick of That Shit"
Hold on. Has it really been 23 years since Wilson Phillips knocked Madonna's "Vogue" off the top of the charts?
Yeah. And it's even been more than two decades since Carnie Wilson, her sister Wendy, and their friend Chynna Phillips called it quits just a couple of years after becoming pop icons. But a reunion was always inevitable because, as Carnie says, "We're just so meant to be." And since 2004, Wilson Phillips has been proving again that "The Dream Is Still Alive."
But between the breakup and comeback, the elder Wilson remained superbusy, becoming a reality-TV star, a weight-loss surgery patient and health advocate, and even a loud and proud opponent of Howard Stern and other insensitive jerks who like to poke fun at heavy people.
Last week, we here at Crossfade spoke with Wilson about food shows, Wilson Phillips, famous parents, and fat jokes.
Crossfade: You just wrapped a stint on celebrity reality cooking competition Rachael vs. Guy. And you came in second place. Have you always had an interest in food and the culinary arts?
Carnie Wilson: Oh God, yes. I've even got a cookbook that's been out for over seven years. It's called To Serve With Love. And those are treasured recipes that've been part of my life for a long time.
Was there someone special who taught you how to cook? Or were you just precocious in the kitchen?
I learned from my grandma, this little, cute Jewish lady who taught me how to roll matzoh balls. I watched her bake. I helped her in the kitchen. It was about celebrating love and food and family all together.
It's tough to cook on a tour bus, and tour diets are notoriously crappy. What's the Wilson Phillips meal plan when you, Wendy, and Chynna are stuck on the road?
It's kind of psychotic when it comes to the three of us.
By far, Chynna is the most neurotic about her food. She travels with her own fucking blender, knives, and butcher block. She's bringing sweet potatoes, vegetables, kale. She's on an extremely strict diet for all her allergies and that shit.
Then Wendy eats really healthy. And I actually eat healthy too. I just enjoy cooking all sorts of food. So if I had access to the hotel kitchen, I'd be in there cooking with the chefs. But the meal plan is usually something like brown rice and quinoa and lots of fresh produce and good proteins.
Although Chynna is more into the tofu. She could eat fucking cardboard.
The latest Wilson Phillips record was Dedicated, an album of Beach Boys and Mamas & the Papas songs. How important has the musical legacy of your families been to you, Wendy, and Chynna?
I'm really proud of the music we wrote 23 years ago. We wrote all of the Wilson Phillips hits. And it's a wonderful feeling. But I really think we owe so much of it to our parents in terms of the love of music and harmony and songwriting.
I feel like the underlying voice of Wilson Phillips is that other generation. It's always going to be around us. And that's a good thing. It's not a bad thing. We did not ride on our parents' coattails. We did everything ourselves. And maybe we got a record deal because we were the kids of [Brian Wilson or John and Michelle Phillips]. But [SBK Records Chairman and CEO] Charles Koppelman would not have signed us if we didn't walk in with "Hold On," "Release Me," "You're in Love," and "Next to You" on that four-song demo tape.
So Dedicated is an album we wanted to make our whole career. But it was good that we waited all that time.
You, Wendy, and Chynna have been recording and performing, on and off, for two decades. What's at the core of Wilson Phillips's longevity?
Probably the friendship and the fact that we've known each other since we were all 3 months old. But there's just something so beautiful and organic when the three of us sing together. Without being corny, it's a spiritual experience. Even though we had those years apart, we'll never stop because it's so meant to be.
On top of touring, you'll be the keynote speaker at this year's Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America conference in Las Vegas. What will you tell the WLSFA crowd?
This is something that I'm so devoted to. Like, forever. Obesity is probably the number-one killer of Americans because it's so closely related to heart disease. And I've always been open about my struggle, whether I'm 20 or 40 pounds heavy. But surgery has helped me maintain a minimum 100-pound weight loss for almost 14 years. So my heart goes out to anybody who struggles with their weight. The WLSFA is a nonprofit, and I'm so happy to be their ambassador of hope.
As you say, you've always been up-front. But you've also been really ballsy. Do you have any advice for celebs like Lady Gaga or Jessica Simpson dealing with professional assholes and cheap comedians who like to make fat jokes?
I'm just so sick and tired of that shit. Walk outside your front door and within ten minutes, you're going to see an overweight person. Why is it still news?
It's about health. It's not about looks. And it's time that people change their attitudes, encourage everybody to make healthier choices, and stop poking fucking fun!
Wilson Phillips. As part of Ultimate Miami Voice. Saturday, March 2, at Magic City Casino, 450 NW 37th Ave., Miami. The show starts at 9 p.m., and tickets cost $40 plus fees. Ages 21 and up. Visit theultimatemiami.com.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.