March 8, 2011

How Phil Collins Made Me Sad And Other True Tales Of Guilty Pleasures

The former Genesis star hinted he was considering giving up music in a revealing interview to promote his last album Going Back in 2010, and now it appears he has followed through with his retirement plans.

The British star tells FHM magazine he’s struggling with an array of medical issues prompted by years of touring and drumming, including hearing loss and severe nerve damage in his hands.

The rocker also tells FHM he no longer feels like he belongs in music: “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 will admit it right here and now - I have a deep and abiding love of Phil Collins. More than just a guilty pleasure, I began following him when I was twelve years old. He was fronting Genesis at the time. They'd completed their painful transition from progressive-rock powerhouse to Top-40 chart burners. It was the former incarnation that thrilled me the most however it was hard - and still is - to deny the talent of the pop front-man and drummer. He was a stellar performer, had a true gift for harmony and was one of the most talented drummers to walk the planet. Sad though it may be, he was my first - but not my last - rock hero.

Which is why this story is really quite sad to me.

It's hard to see an idol - no matter how worthy they are of the title - become this bitter little bald dude so injured from his career that he has to have drumsticks taped to his hands to play, who just wants to be left alone to live out a quiet life in Switzerland and collect memorabilia from the Alamo.

I realize this is somewhat like an aspiring Great American Novelist worshiping Jackie Collins. But I'm 38 years old. I'm never going to be a great rock star. Allow a guy his guilty pleasure.

What are your guiltiest pleasures? Or your deepest most abiding loves no one seems to understand?

Posted by Chris at March 8, 2011 6:59 AM

Duran Duran. There, I said it, let the finger pointing begin! :)

My first thought yesterday when I heard the story of Phil's retirement was how you would take the news. It is sad, I agree.

Posted by: Elizabeth at March 8, 2011 8:52 AM

I read this the other day and thought of you. I loved Collins too. I was so impressed by his wide array of talents. He sang, played drums, and could also play horns and probably guitar. Dude knows music.

I think my only guilty pleasure would be love of an old hair band song like "love song" or something by Warrant. I don't spin those records but when I hear them on the radio I turn it up and sing along.

Posted by: Brad at March 8, 2011 9:08 AM

So, he's really hung it up now, eh? I saw an interview with him a few years back and he was already talking about it. What got me was the complete emotionless resignation of the thing. To paraphrase, I think he said something like "I've always thought of my hands as having an odometer, and when it spins up to high, it's over." I don't know if it's because he has more money than god that it becomes so easy to just not do a thing. Most musicians I know look at their art as something akin to breathing. Just yesterday I was in in an interview with an artist who said, "sure, there's not a lot of money, but this is... I'm not sure you understand... I *have* to do this." But then, I guess Phil hardly owes himself or his fans anything after all this time. I'm with you though. I always loved this guy's stuff. I'm going to dial up '...But Seriously' now. :)

Posted by: Martin at March 8, 2011 9:39 AM

Mine? Reading your blog. :-)

Posted by: Jeff A at March 8, 2011 9:53 AM

First, I have a Phil Collins story, then I will reveal my most special artist.

I went to see Phil with my wife at the "SkyTent" which was what they called the SkyDome in Toronto when they used a big tent to attempt to fix the problem with acoustics in the cavernous venue.

So we were in our seats and waiting for the show to start. There was a group of about 4 people in the row in front of us who went to get some snacks. So I was talking to my wife and didn't pay much attention as a large man and a smaller man sat in those seats right in front of us. I only took notice when the 4 people tried to come back and were saying that these two guys had stolen their seats. I then took closer notice of the two mystery men. The big guy was someone you would not want to mess with. The little guy was wearing a raincoat and a big floppy hat. They looked like a seriously odd couple. Then the lights went down and there was the sound of a cappella singing. And the weird thing was I was picking up some serious stereo sound. I could hear it through the speakers and I could hear it nearby. Then the little guy got up, the big guy took his hat and coat, and you guessed it, Phil Collins walked down the aisle to the stage to start the show. It was a very surreal experience.

Now for my favourite band. I have already alluded to the fact that I am from Toronto so the fact that Rush is my all time fav should be no surprise. I just find as the years go on, I am greeted by more and more blank stares and have to explain who they are to more people. I must be getting old.

I know it is a little upsetting that he is packing it in but in some respects it is better than an artist who is just going through the motions. You can still listen to his back catalog and he can move on to the next chapter in his life.

Posted by: Mike at March 8, 2011 10:22 AM

No one nows this about me, guilty pleasure is...when I am all alone, I turn on the music, and sing at the top of my lungs, and whomever I am listening to, well, suddenly I am them. I may even do a wee dance around the kitchen or bedroom or livingroom.
But...I hate to sing in front of anyone. Perhaps it is because I was force to as a teen.

Posted by: Maribeth at March 8, 2011 12:37 PM

I love Phil Collins. I saw him perform at MGM Grand "in the round" years ago, and it is still, to this day, one of the best concerts I've been to.

I don't feel guilty for many things in life. With the exception, perhaps, being my over-indulgence in alcohol consumption. Eh. Not even for that.

I loved Ace of Bass. Yep. I did.

Posted by: Mindy at March 8, 2011 4:48 PM

Oh that is sad. Mine is James Taylor. I adore him. I've adored him my entire life.

Posted by: Issa at March 8, 2011 5:30 PM

I am really sad about this too, no more Genesis reunions...

It's funny though, we have different takes on what a guilty pleasure is. I'm doing an iPod playlist shuffle challenge (trying to get through my whole collection without skipping any songs) and in writing about it each week, I sometimes list the guilty pleasures that came up, and I would never list Genesis (OK I think I listed "One Eyed Hound" once) or even Phil's solo stuff (which I admittedly stopped buying after No Jacket Required, so the guilty stuff after that isn't a pleasure...).

But we have different takes on Genesis too. I tried explaining my take on my shuffle post a few weeks ago and it was challenging. I don't prefer the newer pop stuff, but I do prefer Phil as lead singer. My favorite stuff is probably after Peter left but before Steve left.

Sorry for the long post, but you are only one of three people I "know" that I could even have a Genesis discussion with!

As for what I consider a guilty pleasure...Olivia Newton John, Frozen Ghost, PM, and Mr. Mister. There you have it.

Posted by: Tracy at March 8, 2011 5:47 PM

Boston's self titled Boston
Sad but true, it takes me to my happy place camping at the desert when I was nine. I am almost 38, but stuck somewhere between Boston and Social Distortion, and when all the kids are away (husband too) I watch Moonstruck (covers head in shame)

Posted by: Shannon at March 8, 2011 8:39 PM

I am also a huge Phil Collins fan, and his solo stuff defined many pivotal times in my early life ( ah, young love ). But I think you're looking at this all screwy:
He is getting to let go gracefully of something that brought him, and millions of others, a lot of great times, and he is getting to do it on his terms. And then, he gets to enjoy doing something else entirely. I envision him at Alamo conventions, excitedly talking with folks who care less that he is Phil Collins, and more that he has the third rock from the second brick that fell from the top turret ( or something to that effect ).

Should we be so lucky to control our destiny.

And for deep abiding love(s): Bill and Ted, Transformer's soundtrack, Labyrinth, Johnny mnemonic, UHF. You know, the classics.

Posted by: metawizard2 at March 9, 2011 9:37 AM

Billy Idol. As a former punk rock gal, I could never admit to it because people would laugh and call me a poser. I think he's the shit and I would unabashedly yell it from the rooftops now if I had to. I saw him in concert last year? year before? He is still amazing.

Posted by: meanie at March 9, 2011 1:55 PM

I have had a secret crush on Phil Collins for decades :0) I think the crush mostly stemmed from the passion he harbors/ed and manifests/ed performing. (that, and drummers being hot ;-) Growing up I took his ever-present music for granted and only recently have begun to consider the seldom-found breadth of his talent and abilities.

Posted by: Karen at March 10, 2011 11:10 AM

I have had a secret crush on Phil Collins for decades :0) I think the crush mostly stemmed from the passion he harbors/ed and manifests/ed performing. (that, and drummers being hot ;-) Growing up I took his ever-present music for granted and only recently have begun to consider the seldom-found breadth of his talent and abilities.

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