Saturday, January 12, 2013

Wilson Phillips- Passing the Torch

Troy and Chynna

As many of you know, my husband Troy has been in the band Wilson Phillips for about 6 years, playing keyboards and guitar, touring around the country and the world with them (and I often tag along). Last night was one of their rare Los Angeles performances so we gathered a group of friends and family and headed off for the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills. I was looking forward to a great night, but what I didn’t know was how deeply meaningful and poignant it would be.

Troy and I with our son Taylor and daughter Cristen
I felt incredibly lucky to witness a real magic between generations - a passing of the musical torch. First I witnessed it in my own family. Our two grown children Cristen and Taylor are both musicians and working in the music biz. Troy and I spent years as “band parents”, attending their shows, supporting their bands. But last night our kids got to see their Dad in his element. It was such a joy for me to watch them watching him, and the biggest thrill was to later see online how they had posted pictures of Troy on instagram with hashtags like #prouddaughter. Sigh…

If you aren’t familiar, Wilson Phillips is Carnie and Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips. Last year the girls had a big splash in the movie Bridesmaids, performing their hit song Hold On (the number one album of 1990, and the top selling female group of all time). They also recently released an album of covers of their parents music (the Beach Boys, and the Mamas and Papas).

Last night, as they performed the Mamas and Papas tune Dedicated, they brought Cass Elliot’s daughter Owen onstage to sing with them. When Owen let that voice of hers loose, it was as though Mama Cass was alive again and on the stage. The crowd went crazy. Even deeper was Michelle Phillips' reaction, throwing her arms in the air and letting out a cry. It was such a moving experience to watch Michelle (the only surviving member of the Mamas and Papas) witnessing her and John Phillips' daughter Chynna, and Mama Cass’ daughter Owen, bring their music alive again. I was choked up, and as I looked around the room I could see many others were, too.

But  the most emotional part of the evening for me was when the notoriously reclusive and troubled Brian Wilson showed up to watch his daughters perform – for the first time ever (a long complicated story). Carnie was nervous, not knowing if he would actually make it. I first spotted Brian, looking shy and overwhelmed, standing against a wall. He was seated with his wife and son in front of us, and I couldn’t take my eyes off him as he watched his daughters perform his songs. He was rapt the entire time, leaning forward, lazer focused on the girls as they performed those beautiful harmonies, parts he had arranged when he was so young. He looked mesmerized as Carnie sang lead on God Only Knows, then Wendy lead on Wouldn’t It Be Nice, and the three girls accapella on In My Room. I wondered what thoughts were going through his mind, what memories were conjured up. God only knows...

After the show I rushed backstage to tell Carnie and Wendy about Brian’s reaction, how he was so taken with them, so attentive to every musical moment. Their faces lit up, and Carnie’s eyes filled with tears. It was the first time, the FIRST TIME in twenty-three  years, that he had ever seen them perform. And they were carrying his torch…as Chynna carries John and Michelle’s, as Owen carries Cass Elliot's, as our own kids carry music on in their lives.
Chynna and Mama Michelle

Carnie, Brian and Wendy
Troy, me, Cristen and Taylor, passing the torch.

Even writing this now I am overwhelmed with emotion.

The only thing that would have made the night better is if Tori Spelling ( who was there with her husband Dean Mc Dermott, Carnie’s team mate on the Food Network show Rachael Vs Guy) hadn’t talked LOUDLY all through the girls accapella version of You Won’t See Me Cry. But even then, I thought of Tori carrying her own father’s TV legacy forward, and I softened toward her.

Overall it was a night I’ll not forget, a night that gave me much to ponder, and a night that made me very, very proud to be Troy Dexter’s wife. As Taylor said on instagram, #DadkilledIt.

FULL HOUSE at The Canyon Club

Thanks to everyone for showing up to support! Taylor, Wendy and Eddie and Dani and...

Todd Denise, Erin, Beth, Dani and Cristen- Thanks for being there to share a great night!

Owen Elliot joins Wilson Phillips to sing "Dedicated". My hubby Troy on B3 keyboards behind Wendy.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Setting Intention for 2013

There’s a saying that however you spend New Year’s Eve will set the tone for the rest of the year. If that’s true, I’m screwed, since I rang in 2013 alone with the stomach flu. So far, the first week of 2013 has brought only disappointments and cancelled plans, and I was starting to feel superstitious. 

But then I remembered how terribly  2012 started out. On New Years Eve last year, our dear friend Susie’s son Gabriel, only 22 years old, died. We began the year in mourning, and sitting shiva. After making the three hour drive home from Gabriel's funeral, I got on the computer to check my email, which was when my daughter-in-law messaged to tell me that, basically, she and my grandson would not be returning from their visit to Japan. Ever. The next day, Troy and the entire Wilson Phillips band was let go by new management (so they could hire a “TV-ready band” for the new Wilson Phillips reality show). All in the first week of 2012.

But I know that what you focus on expands, and I didn’t want to focus on the negatives.
So I scooped myself up off the floor, got back on my proverbial horse, and made a vision board. I decided if 2012 were a proverbial horse, I was not going to be dragged behind it, hanging on for dear life. I was going to get up in that saddle and ride that biatch.

Let me tell you, intention is a powerful thing. Words have power. Stating your desires sets things in motion. First, Wilson Phillips fought their management and got Troy back in the band. Next, my son Taylor went to Japan for three weeks to try to bring his wife and child back. (He returned alone, but he made some progress in building a bridge.) Life was still a whirling, unstable fright-fest, but I stayed focused on my intentions, and things began to shift.

These were the intentions on my vision board:

To live in truth. Before you know it, Amy Ferris and I were being booked to teach workshops, helping others to live in and write their own truth.

Be a voice for those who have no voice. When Dancing at the Shame Prom was released in September, we became a voice for more people than we ever could have imagined. I also had a story published in the Power of Positive, which brought me responses from people all over the world, even Saudi Arabia where my story had been translated into Arabic and shared through email.

To finish my second memoir. I worked my ass off five days a week all year long and by the end of summer completed the book I’d started writing in 2010, What Doesn’t Kill You.

Romance and Travel to exotic places: Troy was able to come with me when I taught in San Miguel de Allende, which, by the way, is one of the most romantic cities in the world. I also tagged along on tour with him to California’s wine country and Seattle.

Answered Prayers: All year long, my daily prayer was to have our grandson back in our life. In October, Troy got a gig in the Phillipines performing with Wilson Phillips, and was able to fly to Japan (for free!) to be with our grandson.

Peace, health, love: I’d say these things were in abundance this year.

Anyhow, you get the idea. I stepped out of fear and into possibility, and while it didn’t solve all my problems, many positive things began to take hold in my life. All in all, 2012 was a year of huge miracles, huge losses, huge challenges, huge love and huge successes. It was a huge year.

So listen up, first week of 2013, you don’t scare me. I’m onto you. You come on tough, but I’m tougher. I have big plans for us this year, year of the snake or not. So look out because tonight, I’m making my vision board!