Paul Phillips shakes off the Mudd, looks back on a Theory and uses No Tears Just Blood to reinvent and even offer himself up to Taylor Swift.
If you were a fan of Puddle of Mudd or Rev Theory you have heard the name Paul Phillips. What you do not know is the roller coaster he has been riding since the band rocketed up the charts. Having been on Facebook for a while I can tell you Paul Phillips lives out loud. There’s very little he does not share, so I was not sure what new information to expect from our interview. I got way more than I thought, including some very candid language. I let him know that if there was any subject we touched on that was off limits to let me know. He said ” I don’t give a fuck, if I did it or said it, i own it.” Pretty cool and a healthier attitude than most of us have. So, here goes. One of the most candid, brutally honest interviews I have been the honor of conducting thus far.
It started simply enough. After moving from Brunswick, Georgia when he was ten, Paul, like many of us in Jacksonville, Florida, was raised in the birth place of Southern Rock. In his final semester of college his band, Puddle Of Mudd took off and he dropped out to tour. What he did not figure on was how his “extreme social anxiety” would hurt him. He says the “reason I started drinking was to ease the stress of playing in front of so many people”. It is easy to see his anxiety. Even during the interview he spent most of the time looking away with a thousand yard stare, recalling details, at least those he could, and trying to be as open and accurate as his memory would allow. He claims the “drinking made me who the fans wanted me to be”. Party guy, friendly, at ease, all qualities we as fans expect to see he could only muster when drinking. It quickly escalated and became out of control. His tenure in POM finally ended when his desire to get sober became more important.
Paul pulls out his fourth cigarette from his pack and lights it. ” I’m 41 years old and I didn’t even start smoking until I was 39. It’s a rehab thing, it’s what you do.” I asked if it felt like trading one addiction for another. He said “yes”. This last trip through rehab was his third. I believe it will stick. Truthfully, he is so different from the Paul even a year ago. He’s in the best shape of his life. Yes, he plans on kicking the cigarettes to the curb soon, which he said he “still gets carded for”. He is determined and has many things to keep him focused and busy. He was recently certified as a personal trainer to work in his business partnered business Hyperswole, a training gym located near his home. However, don’t count him out of the music world either. His latest efforts revolve around No Tears Just Blood, a heavier sound then his previous bands and a personal project for him. Frankly, I’m excited. He also teaches the next generation guitar. One of his students listed him among his top “five all time favorites which included Hendrix, and Page, but I’m just me”. He’s also working with a publishing company on a new book about his fall and recovery. “It’s no holds barred. I gave them people to talk to because some things I just don’t remember. They are always calling me asking ‘should we tell them that?’ and I’m like yeah, if I did it, I own it. I have no shame.” He’s hoping it doesn’t end up being “just another sex, drugs, and Rock and Roll book and actually helps someone ” who is having the same struggle. As much as I tried, I couldn’t pry the title out of him but he hinted “it’s a no brainer and practically wrote itself”. It chronicles “three years of living hell, including landing in jail”.
In regards to the train wreck Wes and Puddle of Mudd have become “It’s embarrassing, but for better or worse, he owns the name so it is his to destroy”. He pinpointed what, in his opinion is why the spiral keeps getting worse. “Wes surrounds himself with enablers. No one gives a fuck about his life. They’re getting a fucking paycheck and any time someone puts their foot down, he gets rid of them.” He just “not the same person”. “Wes wanted the fame.” Paul honestly said he’d rather be “fucking rich. Put me in a Slip Knot mask. I’ll even play behind a curtain for Taylor Swift, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”. We laughed, but he doesn’t want to play in front of people if it will send him back down the same road.
Hyperswole will officially open May 7 and music from No Tears Just Blood is already making the round on Facebook with some forthcoming tracks. Hopefully we will hear more very soon.
Written By Belinda