The Early Years
Born to a career military father and a German war bride in an Army hospital at Fort Gordon, Georgia in 1950, Phil's first 13 years were a parade of military bases spread through four countries.
As it turned out, he was the first male in ten generations on both sides of his family who didn't serve in the military as a career later in life. While his father was not only a career military man, as was his stepbrother who spent 60 years in military services, Phil's course in life veered from rejecting his white, Redneck, gung-ho heritage, to a short time in crime and later, great success in the music industry.
The first five years at sweltering Fort Gordon were followed by moves to other bases and finally, a cross-country bus trip to board a military flight to Japan, which landed in Wake Island in the middle of the Pacific when two engines went out. Phi's mother decided never to fly again.
Three years in bases at Tokyo, Camp Miho and Kyoto not only fed him with Japanese culture, he also became a champ at pachinko, the vertical pinball machine, to the point he amazed old men in pachinko parlours with his talents. He also learned Japanese as a second language as required for Army brats overseas.
Back to the US by boat, he had his first experience with Hawaii and loved it. Waiting there for two weeks while his father followed by plane, he lapped up the culture and food. Then back Stateside in another military boat to begin a round of Army bases for two years before his father, a military policeman who ran prisons, was transferred to Germany for a three year tour of duty.
Settling in the military camps of Pirmasens and Kaiserslautern, he also travelled to Hamburg, his mother's home city where she and his stepbrother George were the only surviving family members in the firebombing of the city towards the end of WWII. He also went to Bavaria several times where he became fascinated with the bizarre castles of Mad King Ludwig and also started his lifelong love of train travel with trips through Europe.
Having finished three years of German, he was lucky to have his father transferred to France for a further two years and had to take that language as well. Phil excelled at school, due more to his loneliness from continually losing friends whenever he moved and also being a bit of a pudge as a kid without great athletic skills. On his return to the US, his popularity didn't increase when he was accelerated in class and spoke three languages other than English fluently with a well-travelled life. He was teased and beaten up with regularity.