Hey, Phil: I Don't Care Anymore!
As many of you now know, I likes me the music.
I have written most about 80s hair metal and classic rock, but I also listen to ambient music. And jazz. And old school rap. And classical. And even some top 40.
But not pathetic pop from a talented former classic rock god. Hence my disdain for Mr. Phil Collins.
You see, once upon a time, there was a great little rock group called Genesis. Led by the charismatic and enigmatic Peter Gabriel and supported during its best years by the gifted Steve Hackett on guitar, the steady Mike Rutherford on bass, the talented Tony Banks on keyboards, and the exceptional Phil Collins on percussion, Genesis was at the apex of progressive rock in the early 1970s.
But like many great bands, they descended into pop. The albums “Invisible Touch” and “We Can’t Dance” turned my stomach after I had heard what Genesis once did on “Foxtrot” and “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.” The songs “In Too Deep” and “I Can’t Dance” prompted vomit after I had experienced their 1971 classic “The Musical Box” and their 1973 song “Firth of Fifth.”
The decline began when Peter Gabriel quit in 1975, but truly accelerated after Steve Hackett left to follow his muse a couple of years later. Then we witnessed free fall in the 1980s and early 1990s. Fans of the complex, provocative music of the 1970s groaned—but largely stuck with the group for the rare glimpses of its former glory that shone through the substandard schmaltz.
We even enjoyed what we could of Phil’s parallel solo career, until we broke up with him after “No Jacket Required,” “But Seriously,” or “Both Sides” (depending on each former fan’s level of masochism). Few fans stayed after “Dance Into the Light” hit the airwaves.
In 1996, Phil Collins announced he was throwing it all away and leaving Genesis for good. Do you remember? It was too late to undo the damage he had done, but we rejoiced anyway out of spite.
So it is with mixed feelings that Genesis fans heard in the air tonight that Phil Collins welcomes a reunion with Genesis. He made clear, in his own special way, that he would turn it on again. He would play drums, and he would “let” Peter Gabriel sing.
We fans find ourselves hoping that it’s another day in paradise, that the classic five will somehow produce something akin to their oeuvre of 30+ years ago. It’s against all odds, yet we dream.
But wait … let’s pay attention to both sides of the story. What was that Phil said? Did this pompous ass declare that he would “let” Peter sing?!?
I acknowledge the fact that Genesis with Peter had less chart success than Genesis after he left, but how dare HE be the one to “let” Peter take the microphone again?
Therefore, rather than celebrate the possibilities inherent in a classic Genesis reunion, fans of the old band find themselves drawn into negativity by Phil’s arrogance. We now see him as an illegal alien, that’s all.
So those of you who think Phil Collins is a better artist than Peter Gabriel, please make your case. I’m listening.
Maybe, for one more night, I’m taking it all too hard and it’s a misunderstanding, but I’m in a land of confusion tonight, tonight, tonight over why Steve, Peter, Tony, and Mike would “let” Phil dictate their schedules.
I hope he gets no reply at all.