Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: January 2009
Brian Rademacher: Hey Philip, itís Brian Rademacher. How are you doing today?
Philip Bardowell : Youíre right on time and Iím good. Iím just chilling out after a long travel day. Glad you called; itís good to speak to you.
Brian Rademacher: Congratulations on the PLACES OF POWER release. Itís an amazing CD. And the song ďIn Your Wildest DreamsĒ; what a great song, man.
Philip Bardowell : Thanks, that was a lot of fun.
Brian Rademacher: Tell me a little about your upbringing?
Philip Bardowell : I was born in Jamaica, West Indies. We came over to California when I was young. Iím of Middle Eastern decent; Syrian, Lebanese and Columbian. At the age of five my parents put me in piano lessons, I wanted to take violin lessons but the lady who I took piano lessons from her husband died so I took lessons from her. By the age of twelve I started to get into guitar. I was in my first band at the age of thirteen with my brother, Habib, and John Stamos (from TVís ďFull HouseĒ). At the age of twenty I was in college and I was looking for a job and John hooked me up with Jan & Dean that needed a bass player. I played with them and then I met some people who were friends with Peter Criss (ex-KISS) who needed a singer and so I joined him. Then after that it was THE BEACH BOYS. So I hooked up with Mike Love and met Carl Wilson at Mikeís 50th birthday party. I was with them on guitar from 1996 until 2001. The other side of this was one of the guys I grew up with, our local guitar hero Lanny Cordola who was in HOUSE OF LORDS, and I took guitar lessons from. I got a call in the early 90ís from him to join this group called MAGDALAN so I went in the studio to do a couple albums with Chuck the original singer was Ken Tamplin and drummer Ken Mary. I also met Bruce Gowdy and that's how I got into UNRULY CHILD and through that I hooked up with Serafino from Frontiers Records. I was approached by Serafino to do a solo project called ďIn The CutĒ. That was basically songs that were all ready written and they just wanted me to sing them. Then they turned me onto Bruce Turgon to do the PLACES OF POWER CD.
Brian Rademacher: What were you like in high school?
Philip Bardowell : I was a good student and the teachers liked me. I was friends with everyone. I was really good during the week and when the weekend came I was a partier. I did pretty well in school.
Brian Rademacher: Do remember the first concert you attended?
Philip Bardowell : Yeah It was E.L.O. at Anaheim Stadium 1979. JOURNEY was the opening band and ďWheel in the SkyĒ was their breakout song. Around that same time a friend took us to see KISS. Itís funny because at that time I dressed up like Peter and I ended up working with him! KISS was my 2nd concert with CHEAP TRICK opening.
Brian Rademacher: What did you do after school with your friends?
Philip Bardowell : I was a good kid; I came home and played outside with my friends. By the time I got into high school I got into some things I shouldnít have a little bit, nothing out of the ordinary.
Brian Rademacher: When you played with THE BEACH BOYS was that really the music you wanted to play when you have listed QUEEN, ELTON JOHN and others as influences?
Philip Bardowell : You have to give credit where credit is due. THE BEACH BOYS have amazing music and they had some songs I loved to play. It wasnít really what I wanted to play but it was a great experience.
Brian Rademacher: In 1993 you joined Peter Criss in CRISS; was that exciting?
Philip Bardowell : That was a whole other thing; it was cool but that really wasnít my music either. It was for like a heavy metal rock singer not as melodic as I like. I grew up on FOREIGNER, QUEEN, LED ZEPPELIN and ELTON JOHN where the songs ruled. CRISS was an edgy metal rock band and it was my first time holding a mic without really playing an instrument. But I did play some guitar. You gotta figure itís as far away from surf music as you can get! I really enjoyed growing up with my influences also being Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Al Green. I loved soul music. I love it all.
Brian Rademacher: Can you tell me any great stories about being on the road with CRISS?
Philip Bardowell : (laughing) We had a good time. It was a really interesting experience and itís really where I learned itís about music for me. I learned a lot about myself on that tour. It was the epitome of the whole rock world; the bus, the girls and the whole thing. I learned thatís not what itís about for me. Itís about the music. Hanging out with Peter and Ace was great. Peter was going through a divorce and I helped him move; I said to myself this is weird I saw them in concert when I was thirteen now Iím helping him move! I had posters all over my wall and I dressed up as him. So be careful whom you dress up like for Halloween!
Brian Rademacher: With being in so many different bands, and the evils of the road, how did you end up turning toward Christianity?
Philip Bardowell : Praise God. In 1993 my brother Habib got on the staff at the Saddleback Church. He started going there and I notice my brotherís life was changing; this is a great segway because like what I was talking about with Peter Criss; I didnít feel right with my soul and my life. It didnít feel natural to me and there was something wrong so I started to go to church. Eventually the worship leader there approached me and heard me sing and asked would I consider singing for the praise team and I did. Honestly, there are a few things I remember about music growing up. The first time listening to a record standing in front of a mirror making believe I was one of those influences I mentioned and the feeling of what music does in your soul. That is why I got into music. Second reason, and the biggest, was when I started singing for the Lord and I felt in my heart this was my purpose; he gave me these gifts. Singing for the Lord I got these feelings and I was a changed man. I realized that was the feeling I was always looking for and always wanted. All of a sudden it kicked my butt and it was a transformation and my whole being is to serve him no matter what I do. Look at The PLACES OF POWER CD; look at the lyrics and if you read the lyrics, for me no matter what, itís always going to come from my faith.
Brian Rademacher: After you joined THE BEACH BOYS did it have any effect on you when Carl Wilson passed away?
Philip Bardowell : It had the same effect on me as everyone had; sadness, because he was the most generous, gracious and sweet guy. When he was on stage it was like having your piano teacher there. You couldnít argue with his gifts. Even when he was dying of cancer he always sounded great. They would fly me out to sit on the side of the stage just in case he couldnít make it through the set. He just wanted to know I was there just in case. I was really sad when he passed. You knew when he passed it was the beginning of the end as he had the leadership and the glue to that band and it came unraveled.
Brian Rademacher: With working with all these artists was it difficult for you to start working on a solo release?
Philip Bardowell : No, not at all.
Brian Rademacher: Your first solo album ďIn A Perfect WorldĒ got good reviews; was it ever in the back of your mind to leave music to become a pastor like your brother Habib?
Philip Bardowell : It was never in the back of my mind to leave music but I am doing exactly what I want and Iím a worship leader. Now itís in the forefront of my mind to use music to serve God. God gives us all gifts and he never wanted me to leave music, he wanted me to use it for him. So itís great, I did five albums last year and he keeps opening doors.
Brian Rademacher: Your album ďFall To RiseĒ came out in 2007 and now when you go to your official website the song ďHis NameĒ is playing. My wife happened to be walking through the room and she was drawn to that song and wanted that CD. Sheís also a Christian. Iím not at that point yet. Do you feel that one song can have a reaction with people?
Philip Bardowell : You should ask your wife. Look, when youíre doing stuff for the Lord, music is a tool God uses. He can draw people to him through music. Just like me, he stopped me dead in my tracks when I was singing a song to him. So the answer to the question is yes, that can absolutely happen.
Brian Rademacher: How was it recording PLACES OF POWER with Bruce Turgon?
Philip Bardowell : Thank God for the Internet! It was all done via the Internet until the very end.
Brian Rademacher: ďIn Your Wildest DreamsĒ you sound like Lou Gramm a lot. Did he have any kind of influence on you?
Philip Bardowell : No question, I get compared to him a lot and growing up he was one of my heroes. The reason why Serafino from Frontiers put me together with Bruce is because Bruce grew up with Lou and was in FOREIGNER and wrote ďMidnight BlueĒ. I get that a lot and I am humbled by it.
Brian Rademacher: Was it fun recording the album?
Philip Bardowell : Definitely! Because Bruce is a great guy. Heís easy to work with, a pleasant guy, a real talent.
Brian Rademacher: Watching the video clip on the PLACES OF POWER myspace site it seems your happy and have a glow about you and you enjoy life. How do I get that same feeling? I have a lot of anger and problems around me now. How do I get that feeling?
Philip Bardowell : Well honestly, I had a lot of those same issues. Six years ago, when I gave my life back to the Lord I know what heís done for me. You get with your wife and start praying. You say honey, whatís this all about and honestly, that is where peace is found through Jesus. See the more you focus on God the less you care about whatís going on. Itís something thatís bigger than we are, Brian. Thatís the peace and the peace I have is knowing I am doing what is Gods will and Iím following him and thatís where you get the peace through God.
Brian Rademacher: Yeah, I see in the video that you have your hands up looking to the sky and praising. I got chills and I donít have that feeling.
Philip Bardowell : You can, you can, and you can have it. Talk to your wife. Start seeking that out. I know man; I had a lot of that anger and a lot of issues with things. Now Iím home at last. Iím not going to say itís easy all the time, but I rather go through things with the Lord on my side then not and the joy I have is walking with him. Nothing can hurt me and I have so much to be grateful for; my family, Sara and my three boys and my health and great people in my life. Great people like you calling me and wanting to talk about music. The answer you are looking for is the peace of knowing Jesus Christ and joining fellowship, thereís nothing else to be said.
Brian Rademacher: Is it hard being away from your family being on the road?
Philip Bardowell : Yeah it is but Iím not away for a long time anymore.
Brian Rademacher: Do you have any other projects coming up or another solo album your working on?
Philip Bardowell : Yes, I am working on a new solo album now; itís called ďTo The End Of The EarthĒ
Brian Rademacher: Philip I would like to thank you for taking time out to talk to us. I wish you the best. Would you like to say anything in conclusion?
Philip Bardowell : I would like to thank you and think about what we talked about. It was a pleasure and I will send you the new stuff as it comes out. God Bless and thanks.