Wilson Phillips Makes Peace With the Past

ByABC News
June 24, 2004, 8:06 PM

June 24, 2004 -- From the outside, the childhoods of the musical trio Wilson Phillips seem like they would have been filled with celebrity and "good vibrations."

Carnie and Wendy Wilson are the daughters of Brian Wilson, the genius songwriter of the Beach Boys, icons of the carefree spirit of California.

"We would go on the road in the summers, with the Beach Boys," said Wendy. "And I guess you could say that was a glamorous lifestyle, but we really didn't know any better."

Chynna Phillips is the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, whose anthem "California Dreaming" came to symbolize the hopes of a generation.

But their family histories are a blessing and a curse. Along with their birthright, they carry an incredible burden: a childhood often lost to the dark side of rock 'n' roll.

United by a Shared Pain

Brian Wilson's own childhood had been scarred by a needy father who beat him. And even though he had succeeded as a musician, he had fallen into a life-threatening battle with depression and addiction, and could only be a phantom father.

John Phillips also fell into a drug-induced spiral. It's often said that he was known for two things: his songwriting and his partying.

"You talk about drug addicts and there's a certain arena of drug addicts, and then there's the diehard, take-it-to-the-grave addicts," said Chynna. "That's where my father was."