Have Drums, Will Travel…

To cel­e­brate the re­lease of his new mega com­pi­la­tion al­bum Plays Well With Oth­ers, Phil Collins looks back over some of his most note­wor­thy col­lab­o­ra­tions.

Prog - - Intro - Words: Dave Ever­ley

Phil Collins still has the T-shirt that Gen­e­sis’ tour­ing drum­mer Ch­ester Thomp­son gave him on a long-for­got­ten birth­day many years ago. The logo on the front says: ‘Plays well with oth­ers’ – words that still res­onate to­day.

“I thought about it, and it pretty much summed up my life,” says Collins. “Peo­ple kept ask­ing me to be on their records and, nice per­son that I am, I could never turn them down.”

The 67-year-old has re­pur­posed the phrase for the ti­tle of a new com­pi­la­tion, which brings to­gether his count­less col­lab­o­ra­tions over the years, from his work with fel­low prog re­gents Brian Eno, Robert Fripp and his old Gen­e­sis oppo Peter Gabriel to more main­stream mu­si­cians such as Eric Clap­ton and Robert Plant.

“I sup­pose lis­ten­ing back to it, the thing that makes me proud­est is the breadth of things I’ve been in­volved in,” says Collins. “It goes from A to Z. Or at least from A to B.”

Collins is speak­ing to Prog from Man­hat­tan. Un­like many of his A-list con­tem­po­raries, he’s not just punc­tual but ac­tu­ally calls 15 min­utes early. We’re here to talk about his ca­reer as the go-to drum­mer for rock’s A-list, though he starts with an apol­ogy.

“I’m afraid I don’t have many sex, drugs and rock’n’roll sto­ries for you,” he says. “That was al­ways some­one else’s job.”

That’s not a prob­lem. Even with­out Gen­e­sis in the mix, Collins’ ex­tracur­ric­u­lar mu­si­cal his­tory is rich and in­ter­est­ing enough on its own.

“I don’t have many sex, drugs and rock’n’roll sto­ries for you. That was al­ways some­one else’s job.”


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