Henry Phillips: On the Shoulders Of Freaks
Henry Phillips, directed by Gregori Viens. www.henryphillips.com
Henry Phillips sings “On the Shoulders of Freaks” live in Los Angeles.Henry Phillips has been seen performing his twisted songs and stories on Comedy Central, ABCs Jimmy Kimmel Live and NBCs Late Friday. He can also be heard regularly on morning and satellite radio nationwide, performing such songs as The Guitar Pill and Shes Talking Again. His nationally released CDs, fusing mellow folk-rock ballads with psychopathic lyrics have earned him mention in Billboard magazines Critics Choice, as well as acclaim from such notable artists as Moby, who refers to Phillips as “Disconcertingly Funny”. His biographical comedy film “Punching the Clown” received the Audience award at Slamdance film festival ’09, and is continuing a successful run on the festival circuit.
For me, music is like a drug. Some people are addicted to Crack, or Heroin, or PCP, (And don’t get me wrong, I’m addicted to those things also), but music is my main addiction. For years I played my music in and around the filthy streets of the greater Los Angeles area, wearing my tortured heart out on my sleeve, only to be called ‘Loser’ and ‘Faggot’ by unappreciative bus station employees and other passers-by. Then, in a moment of true desperation, I found myself on a pilgrimage to the world famous crossroads, seeking to sell my soul to the devil in order to become the best guitar player ever. Sure enough, the devil was there, and of course, after signing the ominous contract, I immediately asked, “So, how does this work? Am I able to just kick ass on the guitar now?”, to which the devil replied, “Well, I was thinking maybe we’d meet every Monday and I’ll start you off on some basic theory and chord charts, and then we’ll work on the fundamentals of music reading”. Needless to say I was livid. “I thought the whole reason I sold my soul was so that I could become an instant bad-ass on the guitar?” The Devil, becoming annoyed, shot back, “Well, you have to practice!”. This incident thrust me into a ten-year tailspin of depression which included binge drinking, drug experimentation, and almost constant masturbation. Years later, I feel as though I’ve finally come to terms with the whole thing. You know, looking back, I’m not even sure it was the devil himself that I was dealing with. For one thing, it wasn’t really “the Crossroads”, it was the corner of Cahuenga and Franklin. And why would the Prince of Darkness be standing in front of a 7-11 asking for change? And also, how come I could see his penis practically the whole time (not to mention that he made several attempts to touch me inappropriately)? I guess I’ll never really know for sure. But in the meantime, I’m just going to continue playing my odd brand of hit-and-miss comedy music to mediocre responses from indifferent small crowds in shitty venues all across the world. Some dreams really don’t come true.