Phil Collins opens up about the reunion of the original Genesis line-up and the best showbiz party he's been to...
Phil Collins joined Genesis as its drummer in 1970 and became the band’s vocalist when Peter Gabriel left in 1975. He went on to achieve huge solo success in the 1980s, with hits such as In The Air Tonight and Another Day In Paradise. Originally from Hounslow, he’s one of only three recording artists to have sold more than 100 million albums as a solo artist and a band member. Phil, 63, has been married three times and has five children. He splits his time between New York and Miami.
How did it feel to be reunited with the classic Genesis line-up for your new documentary?
It was great because the five of us hadn’t been in the same room together for a long time. You’ll see in the documentary we all revert to type. I’m not the leader or the singer of the band; I’m just the drummer, the one that makes jokes and diffuses the tension. Steve Hackett is the dark one, Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel are a little bit niggly towards each other, while Mike Rutherford is trying to calm the waters. But you’ll also see there’s a lot of affection between us.
Do you prefer being in a band or singing solo?
I like to follow my nose and do what I think is best. I’m quite happy being a dictator with my own band when I’m singing solo. When you’re a member of a band you don’t have to worry about anything else other than what your job is. I’ve been blessed with the best of both worlds.
You can’t play the drums due to dislocated vertebrae in your neck, do you miss it?
I don’t miss it, no. The only time I’ve tried recently was in Miami a couple of weeks ago. I sat down at the drum kit and it was like my left arm and hand belonged to someone else.
Which of your songs are you most proud of writing?
With Genesis I think No Son Of Mine is my favourite for its lyrics. I can’t claim the whole thing but I wrote a lot of the melody and the lyrics. From my solo work, Can’t Turn Back The Years is one of my favourite songs because of its truth.
What’s the best showbiz party you’ve been to?
An Oscars party in 1986 hosted by the late agent Swifty Lazar. It was wall to wall stars; John and Anjelica Huston, Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. It’s almost 30 years ago since you became the only act to perform at both the Wembley and JFK Stadium concerts at Live Aid.
What do you remember most about that crazy day?
It was a day of logistics to me. Can I get to New York in time? All that kind of thing. I see it now for what it was, a great cause.
© Express, by Rachel Corcoran