Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Phil Collins

We had our musical icons in the 80's. Madonna, Springsteen, Wacko Jacko, Hall and Oates, even some guy named Huey.

And Phil Collins.

For a stretch, Phil Collins was it. He made "In the Air Tonight" and, I've never met a person who doesn't like that song, or who hasn't played the air drums to it. I would say that most everyone loved the guy. He could play the drums. He could sing. He could write and produce. He seemed to appear on everybody's records (Philip Bailey, Howard Jones, etc). He appeared at BOTH venues for Live Aid. He had a fun, regular-guy personality. It seemed - seemed - he could do no wrong.

But then, he did. He started making pop music that came off as bland. Some might say that started as early as his monster No Jacket Required album, but I beg to differ. He made a movie (Buster) that was marginally successful at best. His once omnipresence became irritating. Even looking back at Genesis, the band he started with, one finds that there are two distinct camps: those who loved the art/prog-rock of the band that Collins was in but that Peter Gabriel sang lead for, and those who loved the pop band that Collins was the lead singer for.

Indeed, while I enjoy the latter work of the more famous tunes, I tend to prefer the Gabriel years. I likely would have attended a Genesis reunion tour in 2007 if Gabriel had been back at the mic, as was rumored, but chose to skip it once it was announced that Collins would be doing the vocals with mates Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford. I meant it as no offense, as I saw that version of the band at Giants Stadium in 1992.

All of this is prologue to this riveting article I read in Rolling Stone. Writer Andy Greene goes in-depth with Collins, exposing all of the details of how he was once uber-popular and now seems reviled. Collins talks about his fascination with the Alamo (yes, really), how he does have a dark side, and most noticeably, how he has had thoughts of suicide.

It's almost as if Collins regrets the whole thing. Whatever - it's all kind of sad.

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