Edit
Phil Collins Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (7) | Trivia (55) | Personal Quotes (91)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 30 January 1951Chiswick, London, England, UK
Birth NamePhilip David Charles Collins
Nickname Little Elvis
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Phil Collins was born in Chiswick, London, England, to Winifred (Strange), a theatrical agent, Greville Philip Austin Collins, an insurance agent. He spent most of his early entertainment life as a young actor and model. He played the "Artful Dodger" in the West End production of "Oliver!" alongside the future movie screen "Artful Dodger," Jack Wild. His interest in music and drumming began at school, where he drummed with a stage school band "The Real Thing," subsequently joining "Freehold" and "Flaming Youth." "Flaming Youth" recorded an album to some critical acclaim, although the group disbanded shortly afterward. Collins later successfully auditioned for Genesis, taking over vocals from Peter Gabriel when he left the band in 1975.

After separating from his first wife, Collins recorded his first solo album, "Face Value." The album was well received and Collins started to become a household name after the song "In the Air Tonight" was featured on the US TV show Miami Vice (1984). This instigated a guest appearance on the show playing a game show host. His third LP, "No Jacket Required," produced multiple chart hits and awards.

Collins is an active musician and entertainer, contributing and guesting regularly on many albums, ranging from Gary Brooker and "Camel" (Peter Barden's old band) to Eric Clapton. Current projects include his solo career as a vocalist, recording with Genesis, the Jazz Fusion group Brand X and his Swing Band. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010.

Actress Lily Collins is his daughter (her mother is his second wife, Jill Tavelman).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Julie Lowe-Sanchez

Spouse (3)

Orianne Collins (24 July 1999 - 17 August 2008) (divorced) (2 children)
Jill Tavelman (4 August 1984 - 5 December 1996) (divorced) (1 child)
Andrea Collins (27 September 1975 - 2 February 1980) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (7)

The gated reverberation on his drums
His technically complicated drumming in various time signatures
His heartbreak ballads
His distinctive singing voice and emotive delivery
Using a combination of live drums with drum machines and electric drums on his recordings
His fast bass drum technique
Writing songs with just three chords

Trivia (55)

He first rose to fame as the drummer (and later singer) of the progressive and pop rock band Genesis. He announced his departure from Genesis in 1996 after many successful years so that he could focus completely on his solo career. In 2007, he returned for his final tour with the band, which was dubbed the "Turn it on Again" tour after their 1980 single.
He was awarded Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order of the British Empire in the 1994 Queen's Honours List for his services to music and charity.
He became a trustee of the Prince's Trust in 1983. He was one of the guests at the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles.
He beat South Park (1997) creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Best Original Song Oscar in 1999. In return, Parker and Stone ridiculed Collins in several South Park (1997) episodes.
He was chosen ahead of many other singers as a replacement for vocalist Peter Gabriel after Gabriel left Genesis for a solo career. Most fans readily accepted Collins because he had been singing backup to Gabriel for years in the band and knew the band's catalog very well.
He was the only artist to play at both of the main Live Aid (1985) concerts at both Wembley Stadium in London and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. He was able to accomplish the feat by getting on a Concorde and flying to Philadelphia as soon as he finished his set in London. Once in Philadelphia, he played drums for Eric Clapton, performed a solo set and then, along with Tony Thompson of Power Station, he sat in for the late John Bonham during Led Zeppelin's performance.
On 21 November 2003, he performed at the BBC's annual Children in Need charity event.
He has a son, the singer and drummer Simon Collins (born 1976) and a daughter, actress Joely Collins (born 1973) with his first wife, Andrea Collins; a second daughter, the film actress Lily Collins (born 1989) with his second wife, Jill Tavelman and two sons, Nicholas Grev Austin (born 21 April 2001) and Mathew Thomas Clemence (born 1 December 2004) with his third wife, Orianne.
He plays the piano.
In 2000, Mariah Carey and Westlife had a British number one hit with a cover of his song "Against All Odds" (originally a hit for Collins in 1984). The song became a number one single again, this time for Steve Brookstein, in 2005. It was also recorded by Michael Ball, appearing on his albums "The Movies", "Stage and Screen" and "Seasons of Love", Barry Manilow on his album "The Greatest Songs of the Eighties" and Bonnie Tyler on her album "Heart Strings".
In 1999, he reunited with his former Genesis bandmates Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett for a re-recording of the Genesis song "The Carpet Crawlers" (originally from their 1974 album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"), which appears on the Genesis compilation "Turn it on Again". It was the first time since 1982 the five performed together, when Peter Gabriel reunited with the band for a charity concert. Steve Hackett was also there but performed only in the encore.
He never topped the UK singles chart with Genesis but had solo number ones with "You Can't Hurry Love" (1983), "Easy Lover" (1985) (with Philip Bailey) and "A Groovy Kind of Love" (1988). He has had UK number one solo albums with "Face Value" (1981), "No Jacket Required" (1985), "But Seriously" (1989), "Both Sides" (1993), "Hits" (1998) and "Going Back" (2010). He has also had UK number one Genesis albums with "Duke" (1980), "Abacab" (1981), "Genesis" (1983), "Invisible Touch" (1986), "We Can't Dance" (1991) and "Live - The Way We Walk - Vol 2: The Longs" (1993).
He is of English descent. His paternal line can be traced back to his great-grandfather, Arthur James Collins, who was born c. 1854, in England.
Chester Thompson played drums on Genesis and Phil Collins solo tours - thus enabling Phil to go out front where the punters could see him.
He played drums on Robert Plant's first two solo albums as well as accompanying Plant on his first solo tour. He sang backup vocals to Howard Jones on his 1986 single "No One Is To Blame". He also played drums and sang backup on Eric Clapton's single "Bad Love" from his album "Journeyman" (1989).
He started to play drums at the age of five.
He is the son of talent agent June Collins. His mother discovered Jack Wild, who was a childhood friend of Phil's and went on to play the Artful Dodger in Oliver! (1968), and Keith Chegwin, who also became an actor and British television presenter.
His favourite guitarist is Eric Clapton, who played on his singles "If Leaving Me Is Easy" and "I Wish It Would Rain Down".
His music video for his 1990 single "I Wish It Would Rain Down" featured him fictionally winning an Academy Award. He later won one for his song "You'll Be in My Heart" from the soundtrack to Tarzan (1999).
He won the British Phonographic Industry Award for British Male Solo Artist in 1986 following the success of his multi-million selling album "No Jacket Required". He won the 1989 Brit Award for British Male Solo Artist following the success of his singles "A Groovy Kind of Love" and "Two Hearts", both featured in the movie Buster (1988). He was also the winner of the 1990 Brit Awards for British Male Solo Artist and British Single for "Another Day in Paradise" following the success of his multi-million selling album "But Seriously".
He had US number one singles with "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (1984), "One More Night" (1985), "Sussudio" (1985), "Separate Lives" (1985), "A Groovy Kind of Love" (1988), "Two Hearts" (1989) and "Another Day in Paradise" (1989). Genesis had a US number one single with "Invisible Touch" (1986).
His favorite Genesis album is "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway".
"Easy Lover" is a song written by Phil Collins, Nathan East and Philip Bailey. The song featured Phil Collins and Philip Bailey on vocals. The song also appeared on Philip Bailey's album "Chinese Wall". The video for the song was filmed in London, starting off with Philip Bailey riding to the studio in a helicopter, before Collins and Philip Bailey sung the song in various places, including a studio and a local restaurant. Collins has also used the song in his Live shows and appears in his 1990 live album "Serious Hits... Live!", as well as his 1998 compilation album, Hits.
In January 1989, he was voted the fourth most popular radio artist for 1989 in France. First was Kylie Minogue; second David Hallyday and third Madonna.
He is a fan of Earth Wind & Fire and used members of the group to perform the brass sections on many of his own songs (they also appear on the Genesis songs "No Reply at All" and "Paperlate").
By 2006, he had sold 130 million albums as a member of Genesis and over 100 million solo albums around the world. In the UK alone, Genesis had achieved 500 weeks on the albums chart and 187 weeks on the singles chart. He had also achieved 846 weeks on the albums chart and 235 weeks on the singles chart as a solo artist.
He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003.
He is credited with writing the music and lyrics of just three Genesis songs on his own. These are "Misunderstanding" and "Please Don't Ask" from the album "Duke" and "Man on the Corner" from the album "Abacab".
His song "In The Air Tonight" was originally proposed to appear on the Genesis album "Duke", but Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford decided against recording it. It became Collins' first solo hit instead and remains one of his most famous songs.
A popular tradition in Genesis live shows since the late 1970s is the "Drum Duet" between Collins and Chester Thompson, in which the two men compete in a drumming duel for several minutes.
He was a close friend of the singer-songwriter John Martyn and presented him with the lifetime achievement award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards on 4th February 2008.
He was the winner of the 2008 Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6834 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Collins has an interest in the history of the Alamo located in San Antonio, TX. He visits there often and collects artifacts from the site. He provides narration to a "Battle of the Alamo" exhibit located just outside the grounds of the Alamo.
"Against All Odds" won the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1985, and it was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Collins was the only nominee in the category not invited to sing his song on stage, and sat in the audience as Ann Reinking performed it. His perceived negative reaction shown on the telecast is considered to be one of the most awkward moments in the history of the ceremony, and has been a favorite reference for Dennis Miller to relate someone reacting in a horrified fashion.
He announced in 2009 that he was no longer able to drum due to a spinal injury.
In 1988, at the height of his success as a solo artist and in Genesis, Collins was estimated to be one of the 100 richest men in Britain. In 2009, the Sunday Times List estimated his net worth at $177 million.
Collins released the single "Another Day in Paradise" in 1989 to raise awareness of homelessness around the world. Some critics accused him of hypocrisy as a millionaire musician. However, he collected money for homeless charities from fans at concerts and then donated double the total takings out of his own money. It was not the first time Collins had referred to the issue in his lyrics. He had previously written about the subject in the Genesis song "Man on the Corner" for the 1981 album "Abacab".
Collins founded The Little Dreams Foundation in February 2000, which aims to "realise the dreams of children in the fields of sports and art" by providing future prodigies aged 4 to 16 years with financial, material, and mentoring support with the help of experts in various fields.
Collins supports the South African charity The Topsy Foundation, which provides relief services to some of South Africa's most under-resourced rural communities through a multi-faceted approach to the consequences of HIV and AIDS and extreme poverty, and he donates all royalties earned in South Africa to the organization.
He supports Tottenham Hotspur.
Collins is a patron of the charity Children in Hunger, a small UK based charity working to combat child poverty in Brazil.
An enthusiast of the Battle of the Alamo, he has published and issued a book called "The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector's Journey".
He has a deep interest in the Alamo and is a connoisseur of Alamo collectibles. Has also written a book: "The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector's Journey".
In December 2006, he was living in New York, while preparing to tour Europe with Genesis in 2007.
Collins was the subject of a Spitting Image (1984) parody song. Titled "Hello, You Must Be Going", with lyrics by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, vocals and music by Philip Pope. The song portrays Collins as a man constantly inspired to write songs by his wives walking out on him, but also agonizes over losing his hair and his physical resemblance to Mel Smith, Bob Hoskins and Eddie Shah. The song was released as a B-side to the 12-inch version of "The Chicken Song", a UK number one single in May 1986.
Many people say he bears a physical resemblance to Bob Hoskins. Both appeared in Steven Spielberg's Hook (1991) (albeit without appearing in any scenes together), as well as Amblimation Studios' Balto (1995)_, where they both did voice-roles. And Collins' band Genesis provided a song for the soundtrack of Hoskins' movie Mona Lisa (1986), the ballad "In Too Deep". Ironically, when Collins was cast as Buster Edwards in Buster (1988), the filmmakers had originally considered Hoskins for the part.
He is mentioned in the Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott song "When I Get Back to Blighty" in the lyric "White T-shirt and faded jeans, just an ordinary guy, but, prisoner to his tax returns, Phil Collins must die".
The often-repeated story that he left his second wife by fax derives from a front page headline in The Sun, "Phil: I'm Faxing Furious", which was broken by Andy Coulson. Coulson later became editor of the News of the World and became director of communications for British prime minister David Cameron, but was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2014 after being convicted of "conspiring to illegally intercept communications".
His everyman pop appeal saw him dubbed the "patron saint of ordinary blokes" by journalist Mark Lawson.
One of the UK's most popular television actors, David Jason, went out with Collins' older sister before was famous, according to Jason in his autobiography.
Collins was one of several star names who were seriously considered on a shortlist for the role of the D.J. (eventually played by alternative comedian Alexei Sayle) in Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks: Part One (1985) (source: "Doctor Who: The 1980s" by Howe-Stammers-Walker).
He made a cameo appearance as the passer-by in George Harrison's, "When We Was Fab." Collins was holding one of John Lennon's solo albums.
In June 2015, he purchased a gated 7-bedroom Miami Beach mansion for $33m, a property that had once been home to Jennifer Lopez.

Personal Quotes (91)

I'm not a singer who plays a bit of drums. I'm a drummer that sings a bit.
I don't own an ABBA album and I never had the urge to go and buy one. If you're just talking about well crafted pop songs, they were fantastic.
I prefer black music in general.
We're (Genesis) tarred with a brush we don't deserve... like Grateful Dead - now, I've never even heard a Grateful Dead album, but they're there in that corner, the same as we are to people who have never heard us! Maybe if I listened, I might like them. But it's frustrating, when we started, we used to got compared with Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Yes and the Floyd (Pink Floyd), because we used mellotrons and synthesisers, and were quite theatrical, but no one's put me in the same area as The Human League because they use drum machines.
[to a music journalist in 1982] You put Genesis over there in a corner with Yes, ELP [Emerson Lake and Palmer], Moody Blues [The Moody Blues] and the Floyd [Pink Floyd] because that's the period we happened to come up in. I don't like any of those groups - so it angers me and frustrates me when we get compared to them.
Apart from Hugh Fielder, I can't think of any journalist who actually likes Genesis.
I was keen to meet some of the people who have slagged me off, people like Paul Morley at NME and Paul Colbert at Melody Maker just to show them that I'm not actually what they think I am.
I just don't think of myself as a star. This is what I do for a living; I'm fortunate that I make ends meet.
The difference between the American version of Live Aid (1985) and the British one - in England, if you wanted a cup of tea, you made it yourself. If you wanted a sandwich, you bought it. In typical American style, at the American concert, there were laminated tour passes and champagne and caviar. I don't doubt anyone's moral commitment to the cause, but the caviar and the cause just didn't jibe for me.
[about his Academy Award] Ever since I can remember, I've watched the Oscar shows. Watching all those great actors, writers and directors receiving the Holy Grail. I never thought in a million years that I'd get a nomination. As years rolled by I was lucky enough to be included a couple of times. When my third time came with Tarzan (1999), I truly didn't believe it would be me. When Cher opened the envelope and said "Ph..." you could have knocked me down with a feather. It really was, and is, an incredible feeling. Of all the awards I've been fortunate to collect over the years, the Oscar is the most treasured.
If people listened to Genesis' back catalogue they might be surprised.
It's very strange, when you live in London or live around London and get the music papers you are led to believe that there is a certain type of music that is popular and everything else is not.
I like Weather Report, I like Stephen Bishop, I like John Martyn. I just like all different kinds of music and artists.
I recently saw a TV program in which a young, radical journalist was interviewing Ice-T at his home. And the guy asked, "What do you got in the record collection, Ice?" And lo and behold, all my albums were there. The guy said, "Aw, come on, man, what is this bullshit?" And Ice-T jumped on him and said, "Don't mess with Phil, man. Don't you fucking mess with my Phil". What can I say? I was flattered that the guy even knew I existed.
[on bands copying Genesis and referring to the band's frequent criticism in the music press] I wouldn't wish it upon anybody to try and be successful in this day and age being a parody of a band nobody likes anyway.
Many people think of me as a perfectionist, someone who polishes and shines each song and performance. I've always been bothered by that assumption.
The stuff that really gets me is the comments about my physical appearance. I guess it's easier to write about than the kind of songs I play. I mean, I was called the ugliest man since George Orwell. What's that got to do with the music? And, by the way, how ugly was George Orwell?
I get kicked around by critics all the time. I can count on one hand the amount of really good reviews I've had for anything I've done - in 25 years of Genesis, 30 years of my own career - people have dismissed it out of hand.
There's a lot of stuff there that music critics just don't go for. To them, I'm some kind of landmark of middle-of-the-roadness, or I'm not edgy enough, or I've been around too long to be taken seriously.
I won't/can't take the glory or the blame for what Genesis did musically. We wrote as a band and we lived with that music for 4/5 months working on it together. I'd like to see someone try to push Tony Banks into doing something he doesn't want to do! Just doesn't happen. Same with all the records actually.....all responsible for everything broadly speaking.
[in 2005] I have to say that the whole thing that has arisen in recent times of me being the epitome of "the great musical evil", and to be avoided at all costs, is both curious and disturbing to me. Why I have been chosen for this role is a little beyond me. It seems that it's started by an anonymous voice and seconded by others without question. Somehow, some way, I have become "worse" than Cliff [Cliff Richard] or Barry Manilow.
[on The Beatles] They are without doubt the yardstick by which I judge modern songwriting. Forget that it's "old" . . . it has rarely been equaled and even with the Great Pretenders Oasis vying for their crown . . . it's not happening. It's not that I'm a nostalgia freak . . . they were just great writers, with a great producer, at the right time, with the right noise. I have bought many CDs of the '60s bands because I wanted to have those songs but all of them pale in comparison when you put them next to The Beatles' stuff.
[speaking in 2005] I've been amazed at how I was so welcomed by Jonathan Ross for example on his shows.... at the Brits.... winning time after time..... I find it weird to have ended up being the brunt of crap from the same people that welcomed me so many years ago.
It should go without saying I suppose that looked at through British media eyes circa 2004, my appearance anywhere on anything will be open to ridicule and instant dismissal. Please don't get me wrong . . . I really don't expect everyone to like what I do, but it's the sheer predictability of it all. I just don't understand why suddenly there is this tidal wave of abuse !! It seems it's impossible to open a newspaper without reading some crap or other. I know too that it shouldn't all be believed but . . . I keep out of the way and am good with children, I play well with others! I know I've never been hip, and most critics have had trouble with the music, but now it seems everyone out there who writes for a journal actively hates what I do! Quite disturbing and mystifying and it's pissing me off . . . sorry about that.
[in 2004] I'm an easy target, especially nowadays. You'd be hard-pressed to find many in the media or the music business who'll own up to liking me and my music. Especially in the UK. Although I have met a lot of R&B singers in the States who are very kind about what I've done. Generally speaking, though, it's just one of those things that cannot be reversed now. One has to be philosophical about it and try to move on . . . that's not easy for me, but I am trying!
[commenting in 2005 on Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher of the band Oasis, following a series of adverse comments made about him in the media by Noel] I like a fair bit of what the Oasis do. They remind me of Beatles . . . a great band and I like being reminded of [The] Beatles. If you were there the first time around, you might think the Oasis were a bit similar, what with that Liam and his attitude and his brother Noel . . . thinking they are as good as them Beatles. Fact is . . . they are a bit pale compared to them Beatles . . . I am, we all are . . . Now Liam is just a clot . . . bop him round the head, and wake him up . . . Noel is smarter . . . but only just . . . Just because they write a tune or two that reminds us of Beatles we swoon a bit and reminisce . . . but it's only nostalgia, really. I don't care if Noel Gallagher likes my music or not . . . I do care if he starts telling people I'm a wanker because of my politics . . . an opinion based on an old misunderstood quote.
[in 2005] I'd like to grab an opportunity to finally lay to rest a much quoted untruth about my political leanings. I have never been a Conservative, or at least not since being a young teenager. My father voted Conservative, and even his doing that was a hangover from the '50s and '60s, which may have been an influence on me. I'm sick and tired of being thrown in that same old box . . . "he's got money . . . so he must be . . . " I once said that if taxes were put up to a level where the government took home more than me, then I would consider moving out of the country. The Conservatives were in at that point and I mentioned Labour... if Labour had been in, I would have mentioned Conservative. It was said to make a point over 15 years ago. No one's asked me since. I live outside the UK purely because my wife lived here when we met. End of story.
[on Peter Gabriel] As far as I'm concerned he is a far more intellectual writer and person than me, and I have a directness that maybe he hasn't. I love this man and his music very much. Comparisons don't do either of us any favors, and in fact if we hadn't been in the same band for four years 30 years ago, no one would even think of making a comparison.
A lot of the older fans think that Genesis should be a brand name for progressive rock or whatever, but actually Genesis is the name for a group of songwriters who have always done whatever they felt like doing under that banner.
When I'm playing a song I'll often think about how another drummer might play it, and try to be that player in my performance of the song. Often I'll think, "How would Keith Moon play this?" And I'll don my Keith Moon hat. For another song I'll think about John Bonham, or even on occasion Stewart Copeland, but more often than any other drummer I think about Ringo [Ringo Starr]. "That's All", from Genesis, is a Ringo Starr drum part. "Thru These Walls", from "Hello, I Must Be Going", is a Ringo drum part.
I'm tired of defending the fact that we [Genesis] wrote three and four minute songs and had a bit of success.
It's actually come as quite a shock to learn just how many people don't like me.
I've been playing drums for 50 years, I've had to stop. My vertebrae have been crushing my spinal cord because of the position I drum in. It comes from years of playing. I can't even hold the sticks properly without it being painful, I even used to tape the sticks to my hands to get through.
There'll always be people out there like Noel Gallagher who firmly believe I'm the Antichrist.
The greatest surprise for me is how some of my songs have had this amazing afterlife. Often when I bump into strangers on the street, they won't speak to me; they'll just act out the drum sequence from "In The Air Tonight". That song just won't lie down. When the chocolate company first rang up about the advert, they asked whether I'd have any objections about a gorilla playing my drum parts. My attitude was, "If you can make that mad idea work, then good luck to you." Then it goes on to become one of the most popular ads of all time. I knew nothing about the song being used in The Hangover (2009). Then a friend asked me, "Have you seen that movie where those guys steal Mike Tyson's tiger during a stag night in Vegas and they all end up singing 'In The Air Tonight'?" When I saw it I thought it was hilarious.
I never used to think of myself as a workaholic. I used to work non-stop because I couldn't believe my luck that I was able to do all these things that I loved. I was everywhere, and I can see why that must have been annoying to some people. Then I reached a point where I no longer felt the need to go zooming around the world and attend the opening of every envelope. Basically I stopped. I've got a nine-year-old and a five-year-old. I take them to football. I like to take them to school and pick them up. That's my life now. I love doing the things that other people probably find tedious because they've been doing them for so long. I never did those things in the past, as I was always working flat out. That was my loss. Now I'm able to do all that and also have time to indulge my passions.
[on the story that he divorced his second wife by fax] Complete nonsense. There might have been a few faxes exchanged about access to my daughter, but that's not how the marriage was ended. But it doesn't matter what I say. That untruth will still be carved on my headstone.
I moved to Switzerland because I'd fallen in love with a woman who lived on Lake Geneva. As I said at the time, I'd have moved to Grimsby if she happened to live there. Inevitably everyone in Grimsby turned around and said, "Why's he having a pop at Grimsby?" If you're Phil Collins it seems you just can't win.
If my missus hadn't left me I suppose I'd have gone off and made an obscure jazz album that nobody would have bought and that's the last you'd have heard from me. Instead I started writing the songs that ended up on "Face Value". Nobody was more amazed by my solo success than I was. It took me completely by surprise. Everything I touched turned to gold at that time. Looking back, the only mistake I made was getting trapped in a persona. Maybe I became a parody of myself. A lot of people saw me as this middle-of-the-road kind of guy, a family entertainer like Cliff Richard. They judged me based on a handful of songs that were played to death on the radio. In the Eighties there was an awful lot of vitriol coming my way. Some of the criticism hurt and I would respond by writing letters and telephoning journalists to have it out with them. With hindsight I can see that I was oversensitive. But I felt I was being disliked for the wrong reasons, reasons that often had nothing to do with the music. There are still people who hate me for reasons that have nothing to do with the truth.
In the 1970s, Genesis did three American tours a year, three European ones and a trip to Japan. My first wife, Andrea, told me if I toured like that, the marriage wouldn't last. When I got back, she'd left me. If I'd known touring would cost me so dearly, I wouldn't have done it.
I'm happy being at home. I've said yes to things all my life. Now I'm learning to say no. I stay in Switzerland, as Orianne is there, and we share the care of the two boys. I'm not totally happy being on my own, though. I'd rather still be married and I think Orianne feels the same. She's re-married, but we have a fantastic relationship. I get on well with all my ex-wives. They also get along with each other and my girlfriend. It's a picture I never thought I'd see, but it works well.
Genesis always wanted hit singles. I can assure everybody that from the very word go, before I joined the band and when Peter [Peter Gabriel] was the singer, all they wanted was a hit, which we eventually got but that was by accident, not design.
My life has never been revolved around money. I've loved what I've done and fortunately, as it happens, people have been shoveling money in the bucket behind me, but I've never really done anything from a financially motivated point of view.
[on the American hip-hop stars that have stated their admiration for his work] They're not aware of the faux pas of saying: "I like Phil Collins" ... "What???!!!" It's just good music ... bad music to them. They don't read the tabloids. They just live in another world that you either like the music or you don't.
It's hardly surprising that people grew to hate me. I'm sorry that it was all so successful. I honestly didn't mean it to happen like that! I look at the MTV Music Awards and I think, "I can't be in the same business as this." I don't really belong to that world and I don't think anyone's going to miss me. I'm much happier just to write myself out of the script entirely. I'll go on a mysterious biking holiday... And never return. That would be a great way to end the story, wouldn't it?
I know that when I did interviews it came across like I could do everything, but I've never actually felt like that. I went through all my own VHS stuff recently and found mountains of old interviews with me and it was very, very hard to watch. I barely recognized the person I saw from that time. I'm a very different person now. I saw some of this show of mine from 1985 and I was on-stage and I never stopped running, never stopped talking. The fact that people got so sick of me wasn't really my fault. Yes there was a lot of me to dish out - there was me, me and 'Earth, Wind & Fire''s Philip Bailey, me and Genesis, me and that movie I was in, Buster (1988) - there was a lot of stuff. But I only made those records once.
[on his retirement in 2011] I've decided to write this in response to the articles that surfaced last weekend regarding my retirement. Why they were printed at all is a mystery, as I haven't spoken to anybody in the press for a few months. However, many of the articles printed over the last few months have ended up painting a picture of me that is more than a little distorted. Therefore, I would like to add my comments and try to explain again my reasons for calling it a day. I'm not stopping because of dodgy reviews or bad treatment in the press. I'm not stopping because I don't feel loved, I know I still have a very large fanbase that loves what I do. Thank you. I'm not stopping because I don't fit in, this was proved with "Going Back" reaching No 1 in the UK, and doing incredibly well worldwide. I'm not stopping so I can dive full time into my interest for the Alamo. I am stopping so I can be a full time father to my two young sons on a daily basis. Some of the things mentioned above have been said by me in various interviews, but said as asides with a smile on my face and in passing. They were not meant to be "headlines", they were small parts of a conversation. This clearly doesn't come over in print and I should know better. However, the result is that I have ended up sounding like a tormented weirdo who thinks he was at the Alamo in another life, who feels very sorry for himself, and is retiring hurt because of the bad press over the years. None of this is true. Thanks for all your messages on the Forum regarding this stuff, it means a lot that you care. But there's no need for the straitjacket!
I'd be all for a reunion of the original band. The concept of playing the drums and being a backup singer sounds rather enticing, to be honest with you. The only one I'd worry about committing is Peter [Peter Gabriel]. He always overthinks ideas such as this and ends up talking himself out of it. I think sometimes he just needs to let go and do something for the simple reason that it's fun.
The split-up of the band was always overexaggerated. There were some issues early on, but for the most part, Tony [Tony Banks], Mike [Mike Rutherford] and I stayed in close touch with Peter [Peter Gabriel] and Steve [Steve Hackett] and vice-versa. We were there to support each other professionally and personally over the years and all of us stayed good friends. However, to the media that's boring and doesn't sell magazines, so they made up stories of feuds and fights that never happened. We all continue to be close with each other to this day.
It's been a bit of a handicap not being able to read music but, on the other hand, other parts of your senses come in.
I've had a lifetime of people telling me that I'm an ugly bastard. When Lily's mum first showed her mother a picture of me, she said, 'Oh, well, Jill, I suppose that love is blind'.
[on Lily Collins] In many ways, I do feel sorry for Lily. She's making a great career for herself, but she's always got this thing hanging around her neck. She's Phil Collins's daughter. If she becomes successful, people automatically assume that it's because of her dad.
I have young children, so I don't feel the drive to go out there and compete... I can't be what I used to be. I can't play like I used to.
All I set out to do was to earn a living playing drums, you know? And as luck would have it, I've surpassed that.
[commenting on the Prince's Trust concerts in 2009] There was a core group, the house band, which was me, Eric [Eric Clapton], Elton [Elton John], Sting, Midge [Midge Ure] and Mark Knopfler. I think there is talk of trying to do another one. We built up a live reputation, but people don't wait to see people live now like they used to. There is music on tonnes of television channels and that means we hear a record constantly for a month and then don't hear from the act.
The only Grammy Genesis ever won was for the "Land of Confusion" video. Which, it's worth noting, we weren't even in. "Sledgehammer" won all the VMAs that year. That was a trailblazing video. No one had seen anything like that. Ours was more blatantly humorous, and Peter's was more artistic. I still have one of the Phil Collins puppets at home.
Sussudio and Easy Lover were big crossover records in America particularly, with Philip Bailey and the Earth Wind & Fire guys. I was an R&B artist as far as some people were concerned and they don't see the difference, they don't see all that stuff you read about in the tabloids.
[in 1988] There's a traditional rock star, as it were, and I don't really fit into that sort of mold. This is what I've got to work with, you know, what you see here, and that doesn't really conjure up Paul Young, Simon Le Bon, that kind of traditional thing. So I've never really bothered with it to be honest.
[on his plan - never realised - to make a movie with Bob Hoskins and Danny DeVito] I just saw the poster, I just saw the possibilities of a film there 'cause I was being compared to Hoskins [Bob Hoskins] even before Buster (1988), just visually, and DeVito [Danny DeVito] as well.
[on Ringo Starr] He's a fantastic drummer. That's been overlooked for years. Everybody talks about him being the joker, the cheeky chap, but he's a great musician.
[on Billy Idol] He's a very nice guy, Billy, actually. I sound surprised 'cause I would have thought that someone like that wouldn't have wanted something to do with someone like me.
[on Eric Clapton] I do understand that his being associated with me has hurt his credibility in some quarters, but I would have thought that he'd have seen through that stuff. I still think about him everyday, and I consider him to be one of my greatest friends... whether he feels the same... I don't know.
I used to use two bass drums years ago, and then I stopped because I read that Buddy Rich said that hi-hats are very important. I thought, 'Yeah, he's dead right.' So I threw the other bass drum away and started using the hi-hat.
I have quite a lot of good speed on the bass drum. I'm more of a foot player in some respects than I am a hand player. I'm very conscious of what the hi-hat is doing all the time. Tony Williams is great at that.
[on "And Then There Were Three"] On this album, the songs are quite short. It was good fun, but it doesn't really set a precedent for what we're going to do. We've always done different things. There's some improvisation on "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway." I'd like to get back into that. That's one of the essences of what we do - the variety of material. I like to keep the variety, but at the same time try to get some more instrumental stuff back in.
[two years before releasing his first solo album, "Face Value"] One ambition is to do my own album which will have a lot of variety. I write songy stuff, as well as some from the Brand X area. I'm also hip to what Eno [Brian Eno] does - those kind of soundtracks which I've always been interested in - two or three minutes of just mood. The album, when it does come out, will have a lot of different styles on it. That's what I want to try and do next year, if possible. I'm looking forward to doing it.
I'm quite happy to play with two drummers because I think that's an experience in itself - trying to get that happening.
Bill [Bill Bruford] is one of those players who plays himself. If Bill's playing something, once he's done it two or three times, he'll play something else. I'd do a fill where I would usually do a fill. He would, just by chance, do one as well, and so it goes completely haywire for four bars. With Chester [Chester Thompson], we're both more aware of each other, I think.
When you're playing with a band, from behind the drums it really sounds like it's all happening. When you get in front of the kit, it sounds very different. The group doesn't sound as beefy. It was strange at first to sing with that sound. You find you're listening to it rather than being a part of it.
The bass drum is miked individually. There's one mike for the snare drum and hi-hat, one mike for each pair of tom-toms, and a couple of overhead mikes to pick up the cymbals. Live, I prefer to have more control which having fewer mikes gives me. When you're dealing with 40 channels of music at one time at a gig, your fourth tom-tom might be out of balance with the rest of the kit. That's not the kind of thing the sound engineer can pick up on in a concert. In theory, I would like to have two overhead mikes that are turned up and I just play. Then I'd know that whatever balance I'm putting out, he's getting. I love to play small gigs where the audience hears you, and not the system. When you're playing in 20,000 seat auditoriums, you have no alternative. What you do is almost inaudible. It's just whatever comes out of those speakers.
I don't dampen any drum. That's the big difference between me and a lot of other players. If I had my way, I would record the bass drum a couple of times with the skin on because I think it alters the sound. I do tend to tune the drums a lot tighter.
There's a tendency on stage to tune the drums so they sound good from where the drummer is - a loose sound which doesn't project through the sound system if you've got a loud band. I tune everything tight because it really cuts through and is more melodic that way.
I've got four snares, one for each occasion. I've got a Ludwig Type 400 orchestral snare drum which I use most of the time because it's sharp and has some depth. With snare sounds in the studio, I just go for whatever sound the song needs. It usually ends up that I don't dampen at all.
I think in America when you're a studio musician, time is of the essence. With so much music being made so quickly, it has to be there straight away. The person will have a snare drum sound that he got from the last session where a cigarette pack was taped on and all the nut bolts are finger tight. It will sound like what everyone thinks a snare drum should sound like. Everything's done for convenience. I did a session with Robert Fripp in New York with a live kit, and the guy ended up liking it because it was different.
In Genesis, there are a lot of things that demand heavy playing, and a lot where you have to be light. We play a lot of different styles. We play a few things in time, almost fusion music. At the other end of the scale, we play very straight, almost Elton John songs. I don't want to play on one like I would on another, I prefer to play what is right for the song, as opposed to playing what's me, because I don't know what is me.
I always think I look very awkward. I look at Bruford [Bill Bruford] and he's got a great stance, the way he sits. It's just that some people look as if they have authority. I sit there slouched. I've got very bad positioning, and being left-handed always looks a bit weird. Some drummers sit up dead toward the front and all the tom-toms are set up in the usual way. I tend to sit more diagonally. I don't like the way I look - it's a bit odd. I rarely see myself on TV or something, but when we made a film, I remember looking. The arm movements are fluid, but at the same time, it's a bit awkward.
Americans are much more diet conscious than we are in England. I think that's because of the amount of junk that's about. At home, I mostly eat home-cooked food.
I was playing from the age of six along with records. That's how I taught myself. When I was about 15, I went to learn to read from Lloyd Ryan in London, and I stayed with him for about a year. I learned the basic rudiments, then I stopped. I went back to Frank King when I was about 17. I was with him for a couple of years. I liked the way he taught. He taught a lot of people - Brian Bennett of The Shadows, Bobby Elliott of The Hollies and Bruford [Bill Bruford] went to him for a while. I never really came to grips with the music. I should have stuck with it. I've always felt that if I could hum it, I could play it. For me, that was good enough, but that attitude is bad.
To me, there are two types of players. You have Tony Williams who obviously just sat down and started playing and liked it. Then there's Carl Palmer who was taught and it shows. That is the basic difference - one is an intuitive player and the other is taught. Because of that kind of difference, I've always shied away from being taught.
I'd love to be able to sit down and read music. I can bust through chords on a piano, but it would take me a long time to read a chart. Rudiments I found very, very helpful - much more helpful than anything else because they're used all the time. In any kind of funk or jazz drumming, the rudiments are always there.
Hopefully, I've gotten better at leaving things out and not overplaying. In the early days of Genesis I was trying to put everything into everything. Cobham [Bill Cobham] was a very early influence, and I tried to play like him on tunes that didn't need to be played like that. Now, I'm quite happy to leave blank space where everyone thinks there is going to be a fill. I get quite a kick out of that.
When rock drummers do solos they tend to be very boring. I've always felt drums should be melodic. Even when playing very simple stuff, there should be some kind of melodic approach to them. There seems to be this big either/or situation. You either play very fast ticky-tacky jazz, or you play really straight ahead. To me, to be a drummer, one should be able to do as many things as you can do. I'm really interested in percussion and tuned percussion.
The highlight for me was playing in Eric Clapton's band, playing drums behind Eric. Nothing to do with Genesis or my own solo career.
You know Ringo [Ringo Starr] has stated that he could never properly play a roll. Yet when you listen to "Ticket To Ride" and "Tomorrow Never Knows", he's playing these very intricate things throughout. He played some great rolls all through "Ticket to Ride" and some unbelievably individualistic fills. That's the magic of his playing: he just does it; there's no self-consciousness about it whatsoever. The fills he played on "Strawberry Fields Forever" are classic rock fills; the drags and his way of phrasing just slightly after the beat on the toms all make for an incredible drum part.
[speaking the day after Live Aid (1985)] I'm absolutely whacked!
When you've been around a long time like I have, you accumulate baggage and it's very difficult to get rid of the baggage... divorce by fax... three wives ... blah blah blah .. so much money. You have to wade through that to get to what you actually want to talk about.
[on learning that David Bowie had dismissed his own critically-panned 1980s albums "Tonight" and "Never Let Me Down" as his "Phil Collins years"] I'm quite impressed that David Bowie had heard of me.
I think, with some critics, I became synonymous with an era of music that they didn't like, and they were suspicious of all success, which is understandable. You end up painted into a corner that it's impossible to get out of.
The critics like to put you in a box and say "You are Genesis, you play 10 minute songs" and really Genesis is just a brand name to play any kind of music we feel like playing. Plus, we never stopped playing the 10 minute songs.
People ask me what my favorite Genesis album is, and they always seem shocked when I tell them "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway". Sure, it wasn't the easiest album to make and there was a lot of tension, arguments and disagreements, but we never made better music as a band. I'm still in awe of the drumming on that album and sometimes wonder how I was able to play with such complexity.
It took me ages before I heard Marillion. I kept on hearing about these second-generation Genesis groups - Pallas were another one - and I didn't want to hear them. I wasn't even that keen on first-generation Genesis stuff.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page