Hailing from Toronto, Canada where it all began, Phil X started out like a lot of teenagers with a guitar in their hands and dreams of the big time. Since the age of 14, he left every concert knowing that someday he would be the one on that stage.
Well… although it took a REALLY REALLY long time, it happened. On April 14, 2011 Jon Bon Jovi contacted Phil to prepare for the possibility of standing in for Richie Sambora for the BON JOVI tour in progress. Even Phil didn’t think this was possible but it happened. TWICE. After the second time filling in for Sambora in 2013, Phil stayed on and has been the guitar player for BON JOVI ever since. After over 200+ shows, Phil claims he still gets goosebumps kicking into Livin’ On A Prayer calling it not only an important song of his youth, but one of the best Rock songs ever written.
Let’s go back. In 1987, Phil was “discovered” at the Gasworks in Toronto by award winning producer/ songwriter Arnold Lanni and brought in to record and tour with Frozen Ghost. The introduction into the music industry made Phil a recognized and sought after talent. 1990, Aldo Nova released Blood On The Bricks and recruited Phil to be in the touring band. 1992, Triumph still hadn’t found a replacement for Rik Emmett and asked Phil to fill the position recording/releasing Edge of Excess.
During this time, Phil met his first wife, Ninette Terhart, and they honed in on their collective craft until they wrote material they truly believed in and took the plunge relocating to Los Angeles. Formaldehyde Ride turned into Rhino Party, turned into POWDER which became a staple in the Hollywood Club Scene selling out the larger venues listed in the LA Weekly. Ninette started incorporating Cirque Du Soleil type acrobatics into the already visually stimulating show while singing the bands anthemic songs (yes, about 2 years before P!NK).
THE DRILLS!!! Even with the regional success of POWDER, Phil grew stagnant and felt another project with himself being the sole creator would be more artistically gratifying. THE DRILLS became Phil’s therapy. He wrote like a maniac, at one point writing 11 songs in 11 days which all eventually surfaced over 3 EPs and 1 full length album.
When the guitar demo videos Phil was co-creating with director Dustin Jack for Fretted Americana on YouTube became popular, Phil was exposed to a wider audience and continues to be recognized for those incredible performances. It was at this point that THE DRILLS became PHIL X & THE DRILLS.
Aside from pioneering the “guitar influencer” phenomenon, Phil had become one of the top session players in LA with his background in songwriting and freakish knack for coming up with unimaginable overdub parts on the spot. It all started with Tommy Lee’s Methods of Mayhem in 1999 to Rob Zombie to Rob telling Alice Cooper “You gotta use this guy on your new record” leading to Phil’s notorious “crazy guitars” on Brutal Planet produced by Bob Marlett.
Phil went on to record with Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, Chis Cornell, Halestorm, Apocolyptica… not to mention (still name dropping) Stewart Copeland, Perry Ferrel, Edgar Winter, a Smokey Robinson/Steven Tyler duet…. and many many more.
“It all boils down to this…One day, you’re playing Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love with a cover band in a dive bar somewhere in southern Ontario and then years later, you’re looking across a stage in Hollywood jamming Whole Lotta Love with Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, Billy Gibbons, Steve Lukather, Steve Stevens, Dean Deleo and Matt Sorum while raising money for music programs in schools. Oh…and playing for 82,000 screaming fans at Wembley Stadium with BON JOVI.” – Phil X