Phil Collins is putting the finishing touches on a new Motown covers collection despite suffering severe nerve damage to his hands that has made drumming nearly impossible. "The first time I picked up the drum sticks after my neck surgery, they flew across the room because I couldn’t grip them," he says. "When I play, I’ve had to tape the sticks to my hand. It’s like wearing a condom. It’s very strange. It really cramps your style."
The nerve damage has made more than just drumming difficult for Collins. "I can’t let go of the spoon or the knife when I eat," he tells RS. "I can’t open a car door. I won’t get gruesome with you, but there’s a lot of things I can’t do. I’m left handed. I’m having an operation soon and there’s a good chance of it improving over time."
Collins’ medical problem makes another Genesis reunion unlikely. "He has to play the drums and play some quite complicated things," says Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks. "It’s one of the many reasons it won’t happen." But Collins says he still hopes to one day perform again with the Peter Gabriel-lead lineup of Genesis. "My hands are way down to picking the order of that possibility," he says. "Three years ago I didn’t know I’d be in this position and three years from now it may not be like this. I think the main thing is Peter’s schedule and the speed he works anyways." Banks agrees. "I think if it we were to do The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway there’s always multimedia stuff that makes it possible now. It would be opening a huge can of worms, not just musical but getting out and playing it."
In the meantime, the band is overjoyed to be one of the few progressive rock bands inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "Whoever is deciding these things, obviously they change," Collins says. "Now there’s obviously a couple of people there saying ‘Guys we’ve ignored all this other stuff’ which is why you’ve got Abba and the Hollies and us. Very diverse. Jimmy Cliff is somewhere in there. Much more diverse than just rock & roll I think this year."
© Rolling Stone, by Andy Greene