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.
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.”
ABOVE: COLLINS’ LATEST RELEASE, PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS.