PHIL X INTERVIEW
TM- THIS IS A MILZ AND LIZ FROM TWINMUSIX, WE ARE HERE WITH PHIL-X, THANK YOU FOR TALKING WITH US TODAY.
PHIL X - Is there two of you?
TM - YEAH, WE ARE TWINS.
PHIL X - Wait a minute, why aren't we doing video, come on.
TM - WE CAN DO VIDEO, EXCEPT WE ARE IN GYM STUFF.
PHIL X - She problem is I am a deaf musician, so if I can't hear you, I can read your lips. How are you?
TM - GOOD, HOW ABOUT YOU?
PHIL X - Excellent.
TM - THAT'S NOT REHEARSED, WE JUST DO IT ALL THE TIME.
PHIL X - Are you going to talk like that the whole time, in unison.
TM - NO, WE DON'T DO IT ON PURPOSE, WE DO IT BY ACCIDENT.
PHIL X - There is nothing wrong with that.
TM - IT TELEPATHIC, WE ARE DOING IT ON PURPOSE. HOW ARE YOU?
PHIL X - We are going to have to test that later, you are going to have to say something, and she is going to have to say the same thing.
TM - HOW ARE YOU? HOW IS EVERYTHING GOING?
PHIL X - I am good, it is a crazy time with everything that is going on in this world. I put out the song "Right on the Money" because for me it is about, thinking about keeping everything positive. No matter what's happening you have to look on the bright side and it could always be worse. There has never been a more appropriate time than to spread that kind of message.
TM - YEAH, I LISTENED TO IT THIS MORNING, I REALLY LIKE IT, IT IS REALLY GOOD. YOU USED PEOPLE IN YOUR VIDEO CLIP, SINGING PARTS OF IT. WAS THAT A COMPETITION OR HOW DID THAT WORK?
PHIL X -You know what, I think the fan and the artist relationship is very important. I had just launched a Phil X app last month, and we would come up with exclusive content for premier members. Videos and pictures that other people can't see. Otherwise, it is just Youtube or Instagram right. Now I am very selective of what I put on Instagram and what I put on the app.
I call it the quartine and fan video, the quartine part is the band can play together and can be in the same room. I am in my backyard, Dan is 20 miles away in his studio, and Brent Fitz was thousands of miles away in Winnipeg Canada in his friend's basement playing the drums. We got that footage, then I was like ok, what else and I going to put in here. The label put out a little snippet of the chorus in an Instagram promo, so people started singing the chorus and the live tracks that I do on the app.
Then I was like Hey, If you guys send me a video of you singing this song, I will put it in the video.
TM - THAT IS SO COOL.
PHIL X - My last count was, I think 50 fans in the video, which is crazy. To me, it is a Thank You to them. They are always supportive, no matter what is going on. They support the artist that they like, it is just my way of saying Thank You.
Dan and whoever is drumming, Brent is on his track. I feel like we have a different drummer every week. We will see what happens, I feel like it came out great, and I am just really excited.
The other thing you got as a premier member, you guys already saw it as you are in that time zone. From me and my perspective, the US will not see it until tomorrow, the premier fans got to see it today. They have already posted comments like " Freaking out, excited". It is an amazing thing because having the participate is taking it way beyond a VIP meet and greet because it lasts forever.
TM - HOW DID YOU COME TO WORK WITH DANIEL SPREE AND BRENT FITZ, WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THAT?
PHIL X - Well, Dan has been in The Drills since the beginning in 2003. We have been around for a really long time. Due to other projects and our session guy in LA is always busy, it kind of put everything on the back burner.
When the Bon Jovi thing happened, it put it on the back burner because I go hey man we have to finish this record and they were like, hey man, we are going on tour. There is always something happening to put the Drills on the backburner.
Dan, He is a fellow Canadian, Brent is a fellow Canadian as well. I didn't meet Dan until I was in LA. I moved to LA in 97 and he moved here before and then we meet through another fellow Canadian Jason Huck and we started hanging out. Then Dan was doing something, Jeremy was my drummer at the time. Jeremy Spencer from FFDP and he said, hey let's get Dan to play bass. I'm like, I don't know if Dan is going to want to play bass in this. Then he heard some of the songs and was like, I'm in.
Dan will always be there, Dan is the guy, that if I get called to do a tour and I call Dan and he goes yeah, sorry, I can't do it I don't want to go. He is like my left-wing for life. He is a brother. What I tell a lot of people is, no matter who is drumming Dan is the glue between me and any drummer.
I'm the guy in the band that can go out on a limb. I'm the guy in the band that can lose control. Dan keeps me and the drummer together.
Brent, I meet 25 years ago and we became friends, we never played together, so I took him to Germany, to be a Drill in 2016 or 2017, I forget. The chemistry, we would finish playing and I would go to Dan, and I would say "Is it just me or do you feel like you have been playing with Dan for 25 years. He would go "Yeah, It totally felt like that".
Maybe because we all grew up in Canada, Maybe because we all grew up listening to the same influences. It all came together like this magical piece of the puzzle.
TM- YOU FINISHED YOUR 5TH STUDIO ALBUM AND YOU CHOOSE TO WORK WITH A DIFFERENT DRUMMER ON EACH SONG, WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO DO THAT?
PHIL X - Being in LA early on when I moved here, in 97, if you have a really good drummer in your band chances are he is in ten bands so you're like hey man, we are playing the Whisky on Friday. I can't, I am playing with someone else, then you go to drummer number two, can you do the Whisky on Friday, sorry I have a gig. Our live situation became that way, then when it came to recording, it adopted that whole dynamic. I would call a drummer and say Hey, I want to record the record in June, sorry, I'm going to be on tour with the boys. Then someone goes, Hey, I will play in a couple of songs. Then it hit me right here. Let's get ten drummers on ten different songs, that was back in 2014.
The problem was it became 12 drummers, then 14 drummers, then 16 drummers, then I was like, wait a minute, that is way too many drummers. That is why we split it up into volumes.
TM - HOW HAS THAT CHANGED YOUR MUSIC, USING SO MANY DIFFERENT DRUMMERS?
PHIL X - That is a great question because I feel like I wanted it to be special, not just for the Drills, I wanted it to be special for the drummer.
Matt Chamberlain, for instance, he came off the road with Soundgarden, and I called him and I said "Hey man, I'm having a different drummer on every song, would you do a song?" and he said "sure". I sent him 2 songs, I said: "Hey, Did you pick a song". He said, "ah man, I'll play on anything". I didn't want that, I didn't want him to play on anything, I want you to feel connected to something. I want it to be fun, I want it to be an excellent experience for everyone, so that's why I wrote "something to say" from volume one, with Matt in mind. I was like, I am going to write this song and I am going to think about how Matt plays the drums and I'm going to send it to him and he immediately said oh my god, that is the tune, let's do this, so mission accomplished.
When I wrote, I want my money back, I thought this is perfect for Brent. Even in volume two, I wrote the song Tommy Lee is playing, With Tommy in mind. I have worked with Tommy since 1999 on his solo records. We already had chemistry and already had a bond. I was like " Hey man, I have got a song for you to play on, I sent it to him and he goes, oh, this is rad, but it's too fast, can we slow it down. I'm like yeah, we can do whatever you want.
I feel like it became an incredible project, just because not only do you get to play with these great drummers, but you get to experience their personalities, away from the drums. When you see someone like Tommy come in, when he is making music he is like a twelve-year-old in a candy shop, he is about to explode with energy. Then he sits down at the drums and it's that same energy.
When you have someone like Taylor Hawkins, big rock star, he shows up looking like a surfer with a bag of food and a pair of sticks, then he is in the band for an hour and a half while we arrange the song. He goes hey let's do this, before the last chorus and I'm like ok great, but I need you to go f**king crazy at the end.
What you're getting is the personality, as well as the drummer. It is pretty amazing how it works and I'm really happy that is how it went down.
TM - YOU HELPED BON JOVI RECORD " THIS HOUSE IS NOT FOR SALE" WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING A FULL-TIME MEMBER OF BON JOVI NOW?
PHIL X - I have to be honest, I still don't feel like a full-time member.
TM - OH, REALLY.
PHIL X - Well I was a fan, I bought tickets to see the New Jersy tour and I am from Canada. I was sitting in the grandstand which is a stadium that isn't there anymore. I was in the nosebleeds section, seeing this band sings songs like "living on a prayer and bad medicine". I was like "oh my god, this is Amazing".
If someone would have said, Hey man, what would you do if you were going to be playing with that band in like twenty years? I would have been like "yeah right". It's hard to feel like a full-time member. I don't know, it is hard to compare it to anything. It does feel like an incredible opportunity, to go into the studio, and Jon goes ok do a solo for this song, and then you have a solo. My favourite solo from "This House Is Not For Sale" is "Born Again Tomorrow".
When we started touring, to support that record, a Jon was like, "We are going to open with 'This House Is Not For Sale'. I want you to do a solo, and this is where you come out and you do your thing, and you go, I am the guitar player for Bon Jovi mother F***er". I'm like, I can do that. That is one of my favourite solos, I get to play every night.
My other favourite solo to play is "Keep The Faith" because I get to inject more of me into that. If I am playing the solo for "Wanted Dead or Alive", you can't change that solo, people expect that solo. " Born To Be My Baby" people expect that solo.
Start outa little bit like Richie and then do your thing, and then it is something all the fans look forward too and that is great. The fans made it really easy to be a part of this band because there are two sides of the coin.
There is one side where it is like, I am not going to see Bon Jovi, Because it is not Bon Jovi without Richie Sambora and the other side of the coin is, then you are not a real fan because a real fan would support the band. I am in the middle, I am like, ok, alright, everyone takes it easy. I think my intention and my decision to respect the band, the songs, respect Richie and respect the fans was the right thing to do at the beginning because I think I ended up doing a good job.
TM - IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY BAND PLAY ONE OF YOUR SONGS, WHICH BAND WOULD IT BE, WHICH SONG WOULD IT BE AND WOULD IT BE IN YOUR STYLE OR THEIRS?
PHIL X - wow, man, that's a tough one and I have never heard that question ever.
TM - IT IS OUR SIGNATURE QUESTION. WE WANTED TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
PHIL X - That is different, because do you get someone who is kind of like you to do it or do you get someone who is completely different. I am just trying to think of who.
Oh man, that is such a good question, you have stumped me. Who would I get, I would want it to be way different, I want it to be not what the drills do. I would like to hear someone like a crooner or Bublé sing "live on the moon" from the second record.
TM - THAT WOULD BE COOL.
PHIL X - you said that at the same time
TM - WE DID THAT ON PURPOSE.
PHIL X - I'm going to get working on that man and I am going to get a crooner to sing "live on the moon".
TM - YOU SHOULD.
PHIL X - Thank You for the idea.
TM - IT'S ALRIGHT, DO IT. WE WANT TO HEAR IT.
PHIL X - *singing* It's going to be awesome, I can't wait. bring it on. I will say I got the idea from this interview and this is what it is.
TM - WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEMORY WATCHING SOMEONE ELSE PERFORM LIVE, CAN YOU TELL US A STORY?
PHIL X - It was Van Halen, did I say that already, I was 14, no we didn't talk about that. I'm an old guy, so I saw Van Halen in 1980 when I was 14. It was the first of four shows. I saw 1980, 81, 83 and 84 and then Roth left the band. I was 14 and impressionable and I went to see Van Halen and it changed my life.
Here was a guitar player who I thought was the best guitar player in the world. It was not only my favourite guitar player, the guy who was my favourite guitar player, just getting on stage and playing ridiculously amazing guitar, while he was jumping off the drum riser and sprinting across the stage and climbing up PA speakers. I was like this guy is a superhero, saving the world, and that is what I want to do.
It really left this huge impression on me and that is what I deliver now. I feel like when I get on stage with Bon Jovi i go 80%, maybe 60%, maybe 70% Phil X. I feel like if I go 100% Phil XI would get fired.
So I'm doing The Drills, I am also a music fan, a band fan. I love being entertained. When I am in a audience, I know what I want to see on stage, so that is what I do when I am on stage. It all came together, pretty good, I think.
TM - LAST QUESTION, IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY TO YOUR FANS?
PHIL X - Just Thank You. This has been a really tough time and it is emotionally challenging, every morning to wake up and think I am not going to be on stage till next year. Being able to make music for my fans, being able to do the live chat on the Phil X app every Tuesday. I mean, I sing and I play, do a Q and A. It is almost like performing. Even though I can't hear them, because I'm basically doing a live facetime thing.
Being able to do that and having them still show up as an audience it means the world to me. but just Thank You.
TM - AWESOME, THANK YOU SO MUCH, THANK YOU FOR THE INTERVIEW.