It’s so hard for me to believe that it was over 30 years ago that I began my musical love affair with Genesis, well, more specifically Phil Collins. It started with the tribal beat of Phil’s solo hit “In The Air Tonight” but soon I owned every 12″ vinyl  with either Phil at the mic or behind the kit. The albums are still lovingly protected in plastic sleeves, including his first album with the band  “Flaming Youth.” It amazes me how little his voice changed over a 40 year career.

Phil’s voice and stage persona, especially in the mid 80s and The Invisible Touch tour set my heart a-pumping and my feet a-thumping. Thank goodness for You Tube where I can relive those memories. By the late 80s and early 90s Phil’s musical style turned too soft for my taste. Although I appreciated his award winning ballads, and Tarzan has a particularly soft spot in my heart, I missed the energetic, driven spirit I had come to love from songs like Squonk, Dodo/Lurker, Keep It Dark and Mama.

It was more than his voice and stage persona that inspired me. Well, that’s what I’ll call it anyway. As a budding young drummer, I wanted to play just like him. I had a similar drum kit (although I’m a righty), and I spent hours every day practicing headphones on, sticks in hand. The neighbors must have loved me! At one point I  transcribed one of his most complicated drum tracks from the song “Down and Out” and was thrilled when the magazine Modern Drummer published it. During The Invisible Touch tour, I had floor tickets for Dodger Stadium and tried my best to charm the stage guards into letting me backstage to have Phil sign the issue of Modern Drummer. Alas, I wasn’t blonde or leggy enough so my efforts were quickly thwarted.

Ahh, I still remember those days fondly. They’re imbued in my soul. Whenever I hear Phil’s resonant vocals from the time, I’m instantly transported back before kids, before college, before I shifted my career away from music. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I stuck with that first love – music. Would I have toured the globe? Would I have focused on becoming a studio musician? Would I have ever run across Phil at an event? I’ll never know.

I do know that I can still kick a driving back beat and lay a mean Phil fill across the toms. Today I dusted off the old Tama drums and my precious “Phil Collins style” 8″ Gretsch snare and they still sound just as solid as they did 30 years ago. Now, if I can only find a Genesis cover band looking for a female drummer!

In honor of today’s creation of looking back, I would like to share one of my absolutely favorite tracks from The Invisible Touch album. May it Feed the Fire of long dormant passions.

You are terrified by the smallest sound
Because you live your life in such a sheltered world
As do those who surround you
Well, I have seen you stung by poisonous flies
And you suffer much too much from their bites
There you sit in your comfort
Watching other people get caught by the storm
Many a thing that used to be a secret has
Become so talked about not worth a second thought
There’s different kinds of secrets now
Times change, it’s not enough to say
It seemed a good idea, a hundred years ago
You think it’s not your problem
It really doesn’t matter at all
Every stone that’s thrown must fall to the ground
But you don’t give a thought to where they might come down
You are feeding the fire over which you’ll be roasted
Anywhere that they don’t speak the same
In any place that they don’t think the same
You think it’s not your problem, no no
You think it’s not your problem
It really doesn’t matter at all
Maybe it’s not your fate to be a leader of men
But you just leave it all to someone else and complain
You could be so much stronger
But it really doesn’t matter any longer
‘Cause you’re feeding the fire over which you’ll be roasted
‘Cause you’re feeding the fire over which you’ll be roasted