Phil Angotti doesn’t have much to prove as a songwriter, performer, and singer. He has made so many beautiful things and has been doing so for a long time. Still, I think that during the COVID period, he wrote and recorded some of his most beautiful songs, which can be found on Once Around Again.
How did this record come together?
I had just finished and released a solo acoustic album (Still Life) and had extra songs I had written during the pandemic.
A drummer friend of mine named Blair Holmes has a studio, and we’ve worked on a few things before; he suggested we start recording some songs. The first thing we did was a song off of Still Life called “Masked Men and April Fools” that Blair liked, and he wanted to add some things to it- and then we put down drums and rhythm guitar to a brand new song called “Shy Violet’’.
Our mutual friend in LA, JK Harrison wanted to produce the album, so we started sending him tracks. little by little, we sent new songs, and soon we had enough for a whole album.
How great is the urge to stay creative? To keep writing songs and lyrics?
For me, it’s like breathing. I write a lot. I have recorded 14 albums over the past 25 years.
During the covid era, I wrote a ton of new songs.
I will take a break now, but it won’t last long …. lol.
As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?
No, it is not, but it’s a huge part of the writing process. I don’t always write about myself; I like to find different themes and subject matter,
but on my last solo album, “Still Life’ it was impossible not to write about what we were going through- there are a lot of personal songs on that album.
What’s the gig you will never forget? And why?
The first show I did with Material Reissue, in Chicago at a sold-out IPO show – I was so nervous and worried about how people would react to me taking Jim Ellison’s place in the band; he was a local legend, and I admired his songwriting and singing a lot, so I really wanted to do a great job.
It turned out to be a great show and a huge success, but I was really nervous that night!
Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?
The energy you take from a big enthusiastic crowd is the best.
I love it. And I play better to a bigger crowd; instead of getting nervous and making mistakes, I actually play better.
You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?
I think the thing I hope comes across with my music is the singing, as I strive to be the best at that.
Suppose you were to introduce your music to new listeners through three songs. Which songs would those be and why?
Too Late Tomorrow (the version on my vinyl LP), Still Life (title song), and Eye For an Eye (new cd)
If you could tour the world with two other bands, who would you ask, and why?
The Zombies, because I’m a HUGE fan, and I think my stuff would go well with their set; and The Shins.
What compliment you once received will you never forget?
Several years ago, I sang with a band called New Candy Store Prophets; we were a Monkees cover band. We played a theatre in Chicago for the premiere of the Boyce and Hart movie (The Guys Who Wrote ’em) in 2014- Bobby Hart was actually there, and he heard our set (we played in the lobby before they showed the film), and he later came up to me and said I sang the Micky songs just like Micky!!!
The record is done, and the music is out. Is the best fun done now, or is it just beginning?
Although it was great fun recording the new album, I enjoy going out and playing the songs live. It’s my favorite part!!