March 8, 2011, - 2:07 am
One of the groups I’ve loved since growing up as a kid in the early ’80s is “Genesis.” The song, “Turn It On Again,” is one of my favorites and one of my regular workout tunes. I used to do my entire workout, including my five-mile run, to “Three Sides Live,” and have always wanted to see the group live in concert. When they came to Detroit in 2007-8, I couldn’t see them because I was mourning my late father, and Judaism prohibits attendance at such gatherings during the mourning period. And, now, I guess I’ll never be able to see them. Not with lead singer Phil Collins, anyway, and so there’s no point, as he’s the magical voice and glue behind the group’s best songs. This week, Collins announced in an interview that he’s leaving the music business, and that saddens me. A lot. I definitely missed out. Here’s what I missed out on from exactly thirty(?!) years ago, my very fave Genesis song (by Mike Rutherford):
At age 60, Phil Collins says he just has too many medical and health problems from his career as a rock and pop star. He has back problems, the dislocated vertebra in his neck, nerve damage in his hands, and hearing loss, much of it from being a drummer and some of it from the noise of being on stage for prolonged periods of time. I’m sad to see him go. Collins not only had a great voice, even if it’s now somewhat strained since his heyday of the early ’80s, but he was a great drummer and showman, too. His lyrics and singing, while including some cheesiness, also include some really great stuff, like “Abacab,” “Misunderstanding,” “Paperlate,” “You Might Recall,” “Home By the Sea” (first and second), and “Things Are Gonna Get Better.”
Call me cheesy, but I even liked his “Easy Lover” collaboration with “Earth, Wind & Fire’s” Philip Bailey. Collins wrote and sang great stuff both with Genesis and as a solo artist. And if I never get a chance to see that in person, it’ll be a regret. Not one of the major regrets. But I hear a Genesis concert with Collins at the helm is a one-of-a-kind, fun experience. It’s hard for me to pick my fave Genesis and Phil Collins songs and videos–there are so many I love. Plus, as I’ve noted on this site before, I love that, at a time when most artists were shunning the Jewish State, Collins and Genesis chose, in 2005 to become one of the first major bands to perform in the Israel again, ignoring calls by pro-Palestinian hoodlums and pan-terrorists. It put a big dent in the long-time Jewish urban legend that Collins denounced Jews at a concert and asked them to leave. And it led the way for other artists to resume performing in Israel.
Although some reports now claim he’s backtracking a little bit, Time Magazine reports that Collins told FHM (and the interview is nowhere on FHM’s site yet) he’s not only leaving the biz, but apologizes for his success and laments that everyone hates him. Say it ain’t so, Phil:
Citing health problems, the famed Genesis drummer and vocalist is calling it quits from the music biz. He tells FHM that years of hunching behind his drum kit has left him with an array of medical problems, from hearing loss to a dislocated vertebra, and nerve damage in his stick-clutching hands make playing painful.
Collins’s career has brought him 13 hit singles, seven Grammys, and even an Academy Award for his work on the Disney musical movie Tarzan, winning in 1999 for best original song. “I’m sorry that it was all so successful. I honestly didn’t mean it to happen like that. It’s hardly surprising that people grew to hate me,” he said. Critics – and their harsh words – have emerged louder than the guitars of the modern rock era. Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher famously cut down the drummer in past years, quoted as saying, “You don’t have to be great to be successful. Look at Phil Collins.”
He lives in a small town in Switzerland now, attempting to distance himself from the music scene. The report that he’s calling it quits from the music business just seems to make his actions official. “I don’t really belong to that world and I don’t think anyone’s going to miss me. I’m much happier just to write myself out of the script entirely,” he told FHM. Today’s world of MTV Music Awards and artists who care more about celebrity status than making music make the choice easy, he says.
Like I said, there are now a few reports he’s backing away from those comments, but they sound pretty final and resigned to me. Hope I’m wrong . . . and that I’ll finally get to see that “Genesis” concert with all the guys together again.
Tags: back problems, FHM, Genesis, hands, nerve damage, Phil Collins, quitting the music biz, quitting the music business, retiring, Time