Phil Collins Plans to Drum ‘Some Bits’ on Genesis Reunion Tour
Genesis detailed their 2020 reunion tour in a new interview, discussing everything from the percussive prowess of Phil Collins' drummer son Nic to the band camaraderie that brought them back together after a 13-year hiatus.
One of the main takeaways: Collins, who suffers from nerve damage that limits his ability to drum, plans to perform "some" parts onstage.
"I'm gonna be doing my best to play some bits on the tour," the frontman said Wednesday on BBC Radio 2 of their 10-date trek of the United Kingdom and Ireland, which is called The Last Domino? "I've gotta start really seriously thinking, but I have already been working out what I'm gonna do and what songs to play on." (The interview begins around the 2:10:00 mark.)
Collins — who enlisted the now-18-year-old Nic to drum on his comeback solo tour — emphasized that bringing his son on board wasn't a "deal-breaker" for the reunion. But, he added, "it was something that was working."
"It was a problem that we had to overcome with me not playing," he continued, noting that keyboardist Tony Banks and bassist and guitarist Mike Rutherford were convinced Nic could handle the gig after watching Collins' 2017 solo shows at London's Royal Albert Hall.
"[I think] both were kinda taken with the way [Nic] kind of understood what was needed," Collins said. "And he plays a bit like me when he wants to – he doesn't when he doesn't want to. But I'm one of his many influences, of course, being his dad. But he plays like me, and he kind of has the same attitude as me. So that was a good starter."
Rutherford stressed the importance of Nic being "family," and Banks praised the younger Collins — along with regular touring guitarist Daryl Steurmer — for adding immediate chemistry and professionalism once they began rehearsals.
"The most obvious extra [musician] is Daryl Steurmer, who's played with us for many, many years," Banks said. "Basically, we have to have him with us because he's the one who knows all the songs. So when Mike and I kind of lose the place slightly, he can remind us what's going on. Actually, what was interesting is Nic was much the same. He kind of was way ahead of us. Normally when we come back to rehearsing after a long period off, we have a bit of time to get our parts back together again. But with Daryl there and Nic being much the same, I was kind of behind everyone else, which was a bit embarrassing. … I love [former touring drummer Chester Thompson], and we had a great time with Chester. Wonderful drummer. But the thing with Nic: He can sound like Phil. So when you're doing some of these old songs, it's interesting — they go back to how they were when we did them on the albums, which was just quite fun for us."
Elaborating on the early rehearsals, the keyboardist marveled at the band's ability to pick up where they left off in 2007. "It's amazing how the years seem to disappear, really," he said. "It sort of seems after you've played a few things — I can't believe actually it's 13 years. I always think it's about three or four years ago. That's how it feels to me. And once you get back to playing together again, it feels like that. With Nic there as opposed to Phil, it didn't feel much different from the point of view of playing."
Rutherford noted that 2020 feels like an appropriate time for a tour, given Collins' recent return to the stage. "It sort of seemed a natural moment to have a conversation about it," he said. "We're all still good friends. We're all above grass. And here we are."
Surveying the general aesthetic of the members' solo catalogs, he added that Genesis create a unique, "dark" vibe when they play together. "There's a sort Genesis sound still there, and I've kind of missed it," Rutherford said. "It's nice to play it again."
While the trio is still working out a set list, Collins teased that their show will likely feature a mix of unimpeachable hits and some deeper cuts. "There are songs that you feel you have to pay because the the audience would feel cheated if you didn't," he said. "And then it's a question of putting the rest of the stuff together — [including] songs that maybe we haven't played for a long time. And obviously we're still working out what the order will be, but things tend to sort of take shape gradually." (Banks agreed with interviewer Zoe Ball that 1986 instrumental "The Brazilian" deserves to be dusted off.)
Genesis didn't mention the possibility of expanding the tour to include North American dates. The band's 2007 tour featured 26 dates in the U.S. and Canada, wrapping with a pair of shows at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.