A successful solo career can really put a strain on relationships between band members, but during the ’80s, Phil Collins and Genesis put on a master class in how to make it work.
As Collins explained in a recent interview with the A.V. Club, one of their secrets had to do with how they allocated songs between band records and the members’ various side projects.
Collins’ solo debut, 1982’s Face Value, came after Genesis’ 1980 release Duke — a project that saw Collins, guitarist Mike Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks each contributing two solo compositions, which were all blended between five tracks co-written by the trio. If Genesis had continued working that way, disagreements over who might have been holding out for a solo hit could’ve been inevitable — but starting with their 1983 self-titled effort, they changed things up.
"With Duke, we had two songs each, and they chose the two songs of my stuff that they liked, and then the rest of it I kept for Face Value," recalled Collins. "Once we all had solo careers, I think it became a separate thing. We kept the solo songs for our own career, and then we got together for Genesis with nothing prepared and just wrote and improvised and did things together that we couldn’t do on our own."
Collins also touched on his upcoming autobiography, joking that the publisher is "gunning for October, so I’ve got to finish it." He added that he’s working with a co-writer to help him sort through his life story. "It is a complicated process, you know. But I’ve got a great memory, and I’m really actively involved in it — as obviously I should be, because it’s my life. But I’m enjoying reading it … and I’m looking forward to finishing it, actually."
As for the ever-present question of new music? Collins remained non-committal while continuing to sound an optimistic note about the possibility of another album at some point. "We’ll see what happens when I get into my new studio. It’s up and running now, so I’ll go and turn it on, put my hands on the piano, and see what happens."
© Ultimate Classic Rock, by Jeff Giles