Collins Comeback

UPDATE: 8/16: Here’s an article on Rolling Stone’s website in which Collins says a reunion with Genesis is possible with his son on drums. (Read Here)

Revered as one of the most influential drummers of all time, Phil Collins’ life as a drummer came to a sudden halt and threatened to end his career. In September of 2009, it was reported that Collins could no longer play the drums, due to a recent operation to repair a dislocated vertebrae in his neck.

A statement from Collins said, “I’ll never play the way I used to. Something happened on the Genesis reunion tour. At the end of each show, I had a drumming duel with Chester Thompson, and one night something happened. It just went. I tried everything – bigger drumsticks and so on, but it just never came back. It’s a mystery what happened, I just couldn’t get it back. But I’m 65 and I played drums since I was five. I’d like to have the choice about being able to play, but I’m not going to cry myself to sleep about it.”

On the Genesis website he wrote, “After a successful operation on my neck, my hands still can’t function normally. Maybe in a year or so it will change, but for now it is impossible for me to play drums or piano. I am not in any distressed state; stuff happens in life.” In 2010 Collins alluded to feelings of depression and low self-esteem in recent years, stating in an interview that he had contemplated suicide, but he resisted for the sake of his children.

In October of 2014, Collins told John Wilson on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row that he still could not play the drums as he was suffering from an undiagnosed nerve problem that left him unable to grip the sticks. He confirmed in a 2016 interview that he was still unable to drum with the left hand; however, he has also said that after a major back surgery, his doctor advised him that if he wanted to play the drums again, all he needed to do was practice as long as he took it step by step.

By 2016, Collins had made incredible strides with rehabilitation and he anxiously returned to the road. The majority of his drumming assignments were handled by his son, but Collins was able to play the encore “In the Air Tonight” which featured one of the most recognized drum fills in music history. He continued his “Not Dead Yet Tour” in 2017-2018 gaining strength and becoming more comfortable behind the kit. Perhaps he will play more drums in the future. For now he is satisfied performing music for his fans.

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