Phil Collins Opens Up About Drumming Challenges: ‘Can Barely Hold a Stick’

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Phil Collins, widely recognized as a global music icon, is not only the drummer and lead singer of the legendary band Genesis but also a proud recipient of eight Grammy Awards. He shares the rare distinction of having sold over 100 million records, both as a solo artist and as a member of a band, a feat accomplished by only two other musicians: Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney.

Born on January 30, 1951, in London, England, Collins was raised by musically gifted parents who instilled in him a deep appreciation for music from a young age.

Collins fondly recalls a moment from his childhood when, at the tender age of five, his uncle crafted a makeshift drum kit for him using tambourines, triangles, cymbals, and toy drums. He humorously remarked, “The old cliché is, well, at least that will keep him quiet.”


Shortly thereafter, he began showcasing his talent at his parents’ boating club.

Collins reminisces, “The English beat scene was just beginning to take shape when I really got into performing, around the early 1960s.” He vividly recalls buying “Please Please Me.” To make it easier to play the drums without constantly glancing at the sheet music, he would crank up the volume on the record player and position his drum set in front of a mirror. This ingenious setup allowed him to focus on his performance with precision.


At the age of fourteen, I decided to take drum lessons to learn how to read sheet music. I had this idea that someday I might end up playing in a dance band or even in an orchestra pit once the rock and roll craze died down. So, I started learning to read drum music. However, I quickly came to realize that playing by feel and intuition was a much more effective approach than reading sheet music.

In the 1970s, my life took a significant turn. I came across an advertisement seeking a drummer for the band Genesis. I had some prior experience playing in a few other bands, and I decided to reach out to them. The rest, as they say, is history. During my early years with the group, we recorded five albums that featured some hit songs, an experience I’ll always cherish.



When the band’s founder and lead vocalist departed, Collins stepped up to become the group’s main singer, in addition to his role as a drummer. Admitting that he initially felt uneasy in this new position, he explained that he took it on because the band was struggling to find a replacement vocalist.

Collins wore two hats, being both a member of Genesis and enjoying a successful solo career. He swiftly ascended to the pinnacle of the music industry with chart-toppers like “In The Air Tonight,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” and “I Don’t Care Anymore.”

After dedicating 25 years to Genesis, Collins reflected on his decision to leave the band and pursue a solo path, stating, “I felt it was time to shift gears in my musical journey.”



At present, my focus will be on jazz projects, cinema music, and, naturally, my solo career. I wish the Genesis team all the best and we continue to be close friends.

Then, in 2017, I made the decision to reunite with the group. We embarked on “The Last Domino,” a worldwide tour that began last year, but unfortunately, we had to postpone it due to the pandemic.



Furthermore, Collins participated in a BBC Breakfast interview that raised concerns about his health just as the public was eagerly anticipating the band’s reunion performance. As per Collins and his fellow band members, Nicholas Collins will be taking over the drumming duties while Collins focuses solely on singing.

While Nic is an excellent drummer, he occasionally manages to replicate an early Phil Collins sound. Tony Banks, fellow Genesis musician, mentioned, “For Mike and myself, that was always really thrilling.”



Having Phil on the drums allows us to bring back some songs that we haven’t played in a long time.

When questioned about why he’s not taking up drumming, the artist explained, “I’d love to, but you see, I can barely hold a drumstick with this hand.” So, there are some physical hurdles to navigate.



He expressed, “I’m dealing with some physical limitations, which is quite disheartening because I’d really like to share the stage with my son.” He’s uncertain about whether he wants to continue with the touring.

Considering our age, we’re all in a similar boat, he mentioned. “I think it’s likely time to wind it down a bit,” he added. The narrator reflected, “I’m not entirely sure if I want to continue touring.”