Monday, November 07, 2005

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.


At November 07, 2005 2:24 PM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

I like Peter Gabriel...and yeah, the Phil Collins Genesis was pop music, commercialism at it's finest.

However, I am a Phil Collins fan, just because I enjoyed his solo stuff. "Sudio" is a great song, love the horns. And "No Jacket Required" is his best for sure.

I'm not a pop music basher, as I am not in that "music affecinado" group. My brother is one, and pop music leaves a bad taste in his mouth.

For me, music in general is not such a serious matter. I find the whole idea of music critics, for example, to be wholly idiotic. People like whatever they like. Pop music combines music with business, but hey - that's a lot of stuff that's popular, like professional sports.

Peter Gabriel - better artist.
Phil Collins - better entertainer.

At November 07, 2005 4:21 PM, Blogger The 502 replied to my musings ...

You obviously take your music much more seriously than I do. I can't ever remember having strong feelings for it like you do. Not that it's important - it's just an observation.

I never got into Genesis when Peter sang, but I did hear their stuff after he left. It is my opinion that not only Genesis, but many other groups from the 70's, made less than standard music during the 80's (Off the top of my head, ZZ Top is the only band I can think of that didn't get a lot worse). Anyway, I have never been a huge Phil Collins fan, but I have enjoyed his music when I've heard it. Pop music is one of my least favorites, but some of it isn't so bad, including Phil. I know much less about Peter's music. Sledgehammer and In Your Eyes are the only songs that come to mind when thinking about him. Because of this, I can't say who is a better artist, but I do find Phil to be better when it comes to listenability.

My main reason for commenting is your reference to Phil saying that he'll 'let' Peter sing. In his defense, Peter left the band and Phil became the singer. When hearing that Genesis would have a reunion, I would think that Phil is the one who sings. Peter gave up that position, so it would be Phil's decision to let him sing. Just because he may be better, doesn't mean he just steps in and takes over Phil's job. Then again, Phil quit, too. I guess it would be up to the rest of the band members who finally called it quits in '98.

I'm curious to know how Phil said that statement. Was he serious, or was he joking around? It's hard to read someone's mood.

At November 08, 2005 7:14 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

I see where you are both coming from. I don't think it's Phil's right to "let" Peter sing any more than it's Peter's right to "let" Phil sing--both of them left the band! I was struck (as you can tell) by Phil's choice of words. And I doubt he was joking around, because Phil has made no secret over three decades of being cocky.

And you are both correct: music is a matter of taste. I personally find formulaic schlock like Phil's "Dance Into the Light" to be far from entertaining, while the epic stories and virtuoso playing of some early Genesis songs are enthalling. But there's something for everyone, I suppose.
I do suggest that you listen to some early Genesis music, or early Peter Gabriel and Stave Hackett solo work. Amazing stuff to hear if you are interested in expanding your muscial boundaries.

-- d.a.

At November 08, 2005 9:09 AM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey" rocks!

Monkey...monkey-eee! Monkey.

Don't forget his other hit, "Big Time!" That was a cool video too, along with "Sledgehammer" - which is a pretty sexual song, but the way.

At November 08, 2005 8:18 PM, Blogger Meagan replied to my musings ...

Hey there! I come to check out David Amulet because this new person (well, new to me) commented on my blog today, and here I find my buddy The Phoenix! I love our little blog community!

love meagan
p.s. Oh, and I have no opinion on Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, or Genesis. Sorry to say. Sadly, I have never had much knowledge on pop or rock music (except Pink Floyd). If ever you want to discuss musical theater (don't knock it!), classical, or jazz, I'll totally be there.

At November 10, 2005 7:19 AM, Blogger .: raven :. replied to my musings ...

loved Genesis in the beginning .... i like Peter Gabriel and i like SOME of Phil Collins ... In the Air Tonight is a great song.


what memories

At December 07, 2005 3:27 AM, Blogger Ben Heller replied to my musings ...

Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins ? No contest. It's Gabriel every time. In my opinion, Genesis did two decent albums after Hackett left, "Duke" and "Abacab".

I'm with the Gabriel crowd on this one.


At December 07, 2005 6:06 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Ben: Welcome. And I like your taste in Genesis. I could stomach some of "...And Then There Were Three..." with songs like "Down and Out," but I'm with you on the decline after the muse-inspired Hackett left.

-- david


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