It's difficult to say which is more improbable — that an international rock star who lives in Switzerland is fascinated with the Alamo or that he chose a publisher in Buffalo Gap for his book on artifacts from the famed Texas historical site.
Both stories are true, and the man in the middle of it all will tell how it came to be during the monthly Chautauqua Learning Series lecture Saturday at Buffalo Gap Historic Village. Don Frazier, a history professor at McMurry University, will speak on "My Life With Phil Collins" beginning at 11 a.m. in the R. Lee and Ann Rode Gallery at the historic village. Admission is free.
"It's a cool deal," Frazier said. "It's been an interesting and exciting ride."
The unlikely tale began when Frazier noticed an email from a "Phil Collins." Turns out it was the Phil Collins who was the drummer for the rock band Genesis as well as a solo artist. After an email exchange, the two men talked on the phone about the most unlikely of topics.
Collins, who grew up in London watching the "Davy Crockett" TV show in the 1950s, has been a collector of Alamo artifacts for years. He decided he wanted to publish a book about his collection.
Through a mutual acquaintance in New York, Collins learned about Frazier and State House Press, with offices at the Texas Frontier Heritage & Cultural Center in Buffalo Gap. In addition to teaching, Frazier also heads the McWhiney Foundation, which operates the cultural center and State House Press.
Eventually Collins came to Abilene to meet with Frazier about publishing the book. The result was "The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector's Journey." Autographed copies will be for sale Saturday.
Collins has been back to Abilene since that initial visit. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from McMurry during May graduation ceremonies.
Being a historian, Frazier said he delved into Collins' background and made some fascinating discoveries in addition to the Alamo connection. Frazier said he didn't know that Collins had been such a prime mover in the rock music scene of the 1970s and '80s.
"I was amazed at how much of an almost unseen influence he has had on popular culture," Frazier said.
Collins is expected to return to Buffalo Gap on Oct. 27 to take part in the second annual Comanche Moon Social at Perini Ranch Steakhouse, a fundraiser for the historic village. Frazier said Collins plans to come, but he also is scheduled to participate in the Texas Book Festival in Austin that weekend.
Frazier said that shouldn't pose a problem for Collins, who flies all over the world in his private jet.
"When you fly with Phil, it's a 30-minute commute," Frazier joked.
More information: www.tfhcc.com
© ReporterNews, by Loretta Fulton