- - Thursday, July 21, 2016

Carnie Wilson is the eldest daughter of Beach Boys genius Brian Wilson, and her life has been full of music, magic and turmoil. Ignoring the “rule” about talent skipping a generation, Miss Wilson teamed up with sister Wendy and childhood friend Chynna Phillips (daughter of Mamas and Papas’ Michelle Phillips) to form the multiplatinum group Wilson Phillips.

Away from music, Miss Wilson is a reality show darling, mother of two and a helluva cook. Plus there is that hilarious Progressive insurance ad. Miss Wilson chats about growing up the daughter of a music legend, her upcoming stint on “The New Apprentice” and the future of Wilson Phillips.

Question: Did you know growing up that your dad was a genius and his band was making history?

Answer: Yeah, I did. My mom was very open about him.

There was nothing normal about my childhood. I would see my dad at the piano. He would go to the piano and just play. He would play “Rhapsody in Blue” every day. Then he would do these rock ‘n’ roll riffs over and over again. I don’t know if he was tripping out on drugs. He probably was. He would leave, go do something, then come back to the piano and start playing those same things again. Very much in his own world.

I started really listening and delving into it all when I was about 12. I asked him then, “How many songs have you written?” He said, “I don’t know, maybe 500 or so.” I said, “How did you write all those songs?” He said, “It was God.”

Q: He felt the music moved through him, not from him?

A: He is so spiritual that that is [his] source. He is a messenger, and the music moves through him. He didn’t know where it comes from. It’s a trip.

Q: When you and your sister Wendy started Wilson Phillips, was there any trepidation about getting into music professionally because of who your dad was?

A: No. Never.

Q: Did your dad give you any advice?

A: He said one thing, and one thing only. He said, “watch out for the sharks.” He never said anything else.

But then he was wrapped up with [controversial psychologist Ellsworth “Gene”] Landy for a long time. We didn’t see him. I didn’t know [it at the time], but he was following us through the charts every week. Later, when we reunited, he said, “I want you to know I was never ever off the case. I was always watching you and following Wilson Phillips.”

He is obsessed with our harmony. The Christmas album [“Christmas in Harmony”] is his favorite. He starts listening to it in June. He has the annual Christmas party. We go over to the house and he sits in his chair. He doesn’t want to talk to anybody. All he wants to do is listen to our Christmas album. It’s hilarious. He can’t get enough.

We recorded “Our Prayer” for that record, and he said, “You sing it better than the Beach Boys!” I said to him, “I’m leaving your house right now because that is [messed] up! Are you crazy?”

Q: How is your relationship with your dad these days?

A: You know, he’s always on the road. I’ve got my career. I’ve got the kids. So we don’t see each other enough. The great news is that we have healed a lot of pain. He’s got a ton of guilt for not being a hands-on dad [or] really ever there at all.

We’ve made so many wonderful connections over the past decade. I get what I get. I try to see him as much as possible. He loves my cooking. Holidays we spend together. Then in between, if I’m around and he’s around, I bring him my salmon and my macaroni and cheese. And my desserts. He loves my food. When he’s done eating, he slams the table and screams, “Carnie, you’re the best cook ever!”

Q: Maybe cooking is your second calling. I know you’ve done a reality cooking show.

A: I’ve done a few of them.

Q: What else do you have going on?

A: I’ve got a lot of good things happening this year. I’m going to be launching my own YouTube channel, which I think is really important. There is an audience out there that wants to see recipes and cooking every week. I’m like a nut job in the kitchen: It’s Howard Stern meets Lucille Ball. I’m gonna be nasty and dirty and me.

Once we get enough subscribers, then it’s gonna be a source or revenue, which is nice. I’m a big voiceover artist too [and a] mother of two.

Q: How did your recent Progressive insurance ad come about?

A: I went in for a Progressive audition for the role of a queen, and I didn’t get it. They wound up writing this spot. My agent called after the audition and said, “Progressive wrote a spot for you.” I said, “Thank you, but I think I’m being punked.” But it was real. That got me on the upcoming “Celebrity Apprentice.” This is the year for me.

Q: Musically, will we hear more from Wilson Phillips soon?

A: We are deciding on some things right now. There is possibly gonna be a Christmas EP at the end of the year. Maybe some original writing. We’ve promised each other to get back in the studio and star writing again. It’s really hard, but we’ve just got to make the time. I can’t say who, but there is a big artist who has just committed to writing a song with us — a female artist, and she’s massive. If we collaborate with her, it’s gonna be awesome.

The only downside of things is we don’t sell as many records anymore. Nobody does unless you’re [expletive] Adele. The touring will continue. It will be a more creative year over all.

“The New Celebrity Apprentice,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger replacing Donald Trump, will be on NBC.

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