The Facebook message from my friend, and fellow chart nerd, Martin read, “This anti-Phil Collins shit pisses me off.” Another friend had posted a link to a petition site that was running one entitled “We demand that Phil Collins stay retired…”
Yes, after a decade of physical and emotional misery that would crush a lesser man, Phil Collins wants to come out of retirement and record and tour again. According to Rolling Stone Phil says “The horse is out of the stable and I’m raring to go.”
This is awesome news!
But this cretinous petition goes on, “We think that there’s enough misery and depression in the world, and now is not the time to threaten anyone’s mental well being…”
First of all… the only person allowed to misuse ellipses like that is myself…
Second, how the fuck is Phil Collins touring going to affect anyone’s “mental well being?” I have legit mental issues, and touch of side-eye from the cat can send me into a spiral… but no music, no matter how bland and saccharine –and I admit Phil could get bland and saccharine at times (see “Another Day in Paradise”) –can affect someone’s mental well-being. And I speak as a person who’s about to face an upcoming Adele-pocalypse with that new song she’s got out. (Producer: Say Adele sweetie-darling, do you think you could make the song a bit more, I don’t know, Adele-y?)
Noticed how, even in a toss-off Adele slight, I didn’t just say that the new Adele song sucks, I gave a reason why it sucks. It is not enough to say something sucks, you have to give a reason.
And that reason has to be in plain English. Another friend in the same thread’s reason began as follows: “I blame him for that overused gated drum sound…” Haters will often try to bamboozle you with big words. Basically, he hates Phil’s drumming, which is like saying that you blame DaVinci for that overused linear perspective.
Moreover, your reason for hating an artist cannot just be naming a song or two that you find egregious. This same friend who hates the drumming’s reason continues, “And Sussudio. And Invisible Touch.” It’s too easy to find one or two misfires in a decades-long career. I mean, have you listened to Mick Jagger’s and David Bowie’s version of “Dancing in the Streets” lately? I thought not. South A-mericaaaa!
But “Invisible Touch?”
I read that comment while I was bowling a few games for practice. The thought that there is someone out there in my Facebook feed who hates “Invisible Touch” got into my head so much, it made me gutterball after a spare. How could a human, a human with cats no less, be so afraid of joy?
My chart nerd friend Martin continued in his message to me concerning the friend who posted the petition: “I’m going to sing “Mama” loudly in his presence for punishment.” Exactly. We who appreciate Phil Collins, we Phil-philiacs, have to stand up and be counted.
I fucking love Phil Collins!
And just as it’s not enough to just say something sucks, it’s not enough to just say you like something. So, here are a few reasons I like Phil Collins and wish him well on his return to the spotlight:
- He was an amazing drummer! Can you imagine the pop canon without the drum part from “In the Air Tonight?” I can’t, and I don’t want to live in a world without it. Also listen to Frida’s “I Know There’s Something Going On.” That’s Phil. And “Abacab.” And “Paperlate.”
- He’s kinda cute. My cousin Patrick once described him as “Rock’s Kewpie Doll.” That’s an apt description. I have never wanted to give a pop star a hug more than I’ve wanted to hug Phil Collins. Just look at his punim in this still from the video for 1976’s “Trick of the Tail.”
- He has a sense of humor. I was lucky enough to see Phil at LiveAid in PHILadelphia in 1985. He played “In the Air Tonight” on the piano. When the time came for the drum part, he stopped, smiled at the audience, and 85,000 people went BUM-BUM-BUM-DE-BUM-BUM. He then winked at us all for a job well done. Bonus points for making my dad laugh: Moreover, soon after LiveAid, my dad was flying to London on business and found himself standing in the departure lounge with a bunch of folks in “Phil Collins and The Hot Tub Club tour jackets. I had raved to my dad how awesome Phil was at LiveAid, so he went up to the longhair he assumed was the rockstar. “Mr. Collins, my son saw you at Philadelphia and can’t stop talking about it.” From behind him came a voice: “Ummmm. I’m Phil Collins. I’m the short, bald one.” Everyone laughed. Dad also thought that the video for “Illegal Alien” was one of the funniest things he’s ever seen. “Phil Collins is dressed as a funny Mexican!” he snorted when he finally saw the video.
- He never quit Genesis. Phil could’ve pulled a Peter Gabriel if he ever felt he was too big for Genesis. Peter Gabriel high-tailed it as soon as people thought he looked cool dressed as a flower. Phil stayed even after my dad thought he looked like a funny Mexican. The definition of widespread pop acceptance in the 80s was if my dad could recognize you. But he stayed. Oh yeah, even after Peter Gabriel left, he drummed on some of Peter’s songs. What a mensch!
- Even when he wasn’t at his most exciting, he was never pretentious. See most of Peter Gabriel’s “important” catalog.
- Lastly, I could imagine myself singing Phil Collins as if they were my own. Still do. Just put on “Home by the Sea” and watch me belt it out. Creeping up the blind side, shimming up the wall…
I call this the Billy Ocean effect. Back in the day, a frat brother of mine asked me how in the world I could like Billy Ocean. I said that I could imagine me singing the entire Billy Ocean catalog. Hey you, get in to my car!/Who me?/Yes you, get in to my car!/Woooooooooh!
Coachella 2016, you know what you have to do.