"Bridesmaids" success brings Wilson Phillips new boost

Sun May 22, 2011 9:46pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Billboard) - Wilson Phillips' "Hold On" is reaching a new audience thanks to the film "Bridesmaids," 21 years after the song hit No. 1. It's one of the key tracks in the movie, whose 13-song Relativity Music Group soundtrack also boasts Blondie's "Rip Her to Shreds," a cover of Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun" by Nouvelle Vague and songs by Hole and Smokey Robinson.

Even though Carnie Wilson has a small part in the Judd Apatow-produced film -- which opened May 13 and took in $26.2 million on its first weekend, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com -- a 20-minute conversation with her makes it clear she could have played a much bigger role.

Effusive and hysterically funny, Wilson wraps up the call by saying that she's taking her mother and some friends to see "Bridesmaids" again. Only this time, she's wearing a pantyliner. "I peed my pants laughing so hard the first time I saw it," she says. "So this time I'm totally prepared."

Wilson, along with Chynna Phillips and sister Wendy Wilson, should also be prepared to step back into the spotlight. "Hold On" rises 620 percent, with sales increasing from 1,000 to 6,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan. While the band's latest record, a Christmas album released last year by Sony Masterworks, sold minimally last week, the trio's catalog has shifted 4.2 million units since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991.

Winston Simone, who co-manages the group, arrived at work on May 18 to find two messages from TV showrunners asking about the group's availability -- and that the phone has been ringing nonstop.

Wilson Phillips charted three No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100 in the early '90s. Having released its last studio album, "California," in 2004, the act has played select dates as a trio while simultaneously pursuing acting careers, writing books and raising children.

A fan of such earlier Apatow-produced comedies as "Knocked Up" and "Superbad," Wilson said the group's publicist, Lizzie Grubman, "was the one who made 'Bridesmaids' happen. I'm more of a music business chick than a movie business chick, though, so actually shooting the scene was a new experience for me."

Wilson said the scene in which she and her bandmates play at the wedding of Maya Rudolph's character was an all-day affair. "We were there until two in the morning, but it was amazing," she said. "We spent time with Kristen Wiig, who is hysterical and so talented. We were just laughing the entire time."

Although the film has reignited fond memories for the act's longtime fans and introduced the trio to a whole new generation, Wilson said a Wilson Phillips blitz isn't likely.

"It takes a lot of money to capitalize on something," she said with a laugh. "We are doing select dates around the country. We have four in June, one in July, a few in August and then some in December. We've also had to turn down gigs because they've been one-offs, and it doesn't make sense financially to do them."

She added that she has no desire to tackle the arena circuit, either. "We've been touring quietly for the past two years, and I'm really happy with the venues that we are playing, like performing arts centers and the occasional casino," she said.

But fans will have a new album to look forward to: a collection of covers featuring tracks by the Mamas & the Papas and the Beach Boys, which Wilson said will likely be released next January on Sony Masterworks. She added that the group is in the early stages of talking to a network about a reality show that would follow the trio through the recording and touring process.

For now, Wilson said she's just excited to be part of "Bridesmaids" and that she loves the film's message. "It's all about the evolution of female friendships," she said. "And that's something I can definitely relate to."

(Editing by Chris Michaud)

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