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!