Composing a song, at 16, for his then girl friend Claire.

WRITING A SONG-He had been writing songs since age ten. But by the age of 12 he was already playing lead guitar by ear and could play Jimmy Hendrix's FOXY LADY AND PURPLE HAZE, along with a lot of other music. By sixteen, he'd become a very versatile guitar player, and had learned all styles: Traditional Jazz, Jazz rock, classical, country, blues rock, traditional blues, southern rock, latin jazz rock and more. Likewise, he'd become versatile at writing songs and instrumentals of many different music styles too! He also had become a prolific writer.


"Yes, although Julie was older...we had an affair. I still think of her at times." Julie was a Blues rock singer and Phil had been playing and singing Blues Rock for a time...they just seemed to click.

Pictured here Phillip at barely 17, they performed at a Thanksgiving house-party. "I miss my old ovation accoustic guitar and my brown suede boots," he said laughingly! "Clearly, although the 60's had ended the bell bottoms and long hair was still in style, in 1973! This was the time frame of the Blues rock trend going out and the Classical rock trend coming in! I engaged pretty heavily in the latter soon after this picture." 

All of Phillip's close friends called him Phil. It was the name he used on stage when performing. He and John Strainer attended the same High School. "John and I had decided to put together a three piece band. We were doing stuff like Robin Trower, Johnny Winter and what we could do in that category. I had been teaching John to play bass. He got great quick! We played at a town hall for a high school prom, and it was the first time he played Bass on a real bass guitar as well as the first time to play with a drummer. He was a highly trained jazz drummer and he couldn't believe it was John's first time! It was a one time gig. The drummer begged us to stick together and wanted to book us all over the area! But, John's mother had previously gotten a commitment from John to house sit her lake house in Greenwood Lake, New Jersey. A beautiful place about 40 miles from New York city's Manhattan.  So he asked me to go up there and we play music in New Jersey."

Mrs. Strainer and Phil Wilkinson at 17. They were visiting the statue of Liberty and you can see Manhattan, New York City in the fog/shade background.

"I don't know how John's mother put up with us...accept she was hardly ever home... She travelled across the country regularly. But she was one of the nicest people I've ever known. I remember, John and I went to the Madison Square Gardens in Manhattan often to attend concerts. We were there for the Bang La Desh concert that George Harrison held. There were so many acts at that event I cannot recall them all. John Lennon and Ringo was there with George. Lennon innitially came out and sat at the piano and di 'IMAGINE." I was blown away. David Bowie did his song called "FAME"/with John Lennon on guitar, and a whole lot of bands performed for a great long day/night. Ravi Shankar played sitar with George Harrison also on sitar, just the two of them and a tabla player. The music floated around the colisseum with a very magical feel and sound that was absolutely the most beautiful music I had ever heard! But unfortunately, in the wee hours of the morning we had to call John's mom, in Greenwood Lake(about 40 miles away... to come get her car out of the pound. We parked in a tow away zone. I thought she would choke us. She was furious of course, but she calmed and was still kind! That was an expensive night."

"That was my old VOXTON guitar, with two humbuckin' pick ups that rocked! I trully miss it, that was a great guitar. We remained incognito. The idea was to keep quiet and slowly put a good band together, before letting on to the public who we were. John was still learning and that takes time. But our chemistry together as people clicked and we felt comfortable with a common interest in music. I was also trying to work on some original songs with him too!"

The black cat wanted to do his magic too!

"Looking at this picture I feel like a heel. I left New Jersey after John moved up to Maine. I ended up down in the southland. I put an ad in the paper and auditioned musicians putting a three piece band together. All of us were hot and polished. I named it Delta Cruz. At some point I was playing solo, as a side gig, at The Red Lion, on the strip in Hammond, Louisiana and I was approaching 18, yet the owner let me play in the bar anyway.  At the end of the performance one night I was approached by a talent scout/booking agent. He wanted me to leave the three piece band(Delta Cruz), the solo gig, and merge with a  band called Thunderbird, I would later re-name HOTT ROXX and we had our own rehearsal studio in Franklinton, Louisiana. This is where I met Lisa." 

"We played all over the southeast region of the state and were a working band making a living at it playing 4 nights a week. I do regret that I did not... get pictures of most of our performances as we travelled so much that I guess I did not even think about it."

Pictures of the band,  HOTT ROXX will be added later. 

Phil with his then girl friend Rose, her brother and little sister at his high school graduation.

THE PHIL WILKINSON STORY continues here...