Monday, November 9, 2015

The Phil Collins Petition Is Amateur Hour

As you might have heard by now, a petition has been launched to stop Phil Collins comeback. This is something I find about as funny as a 35 year old guy wearing an ironic "Bewitched" t-shirt.  It is also something I find as offensive as people calling The Beatles overrated and as naive as those who believe some lo-fi indie garage rock band with musical chops somewhere close to The Shaggs and the New York Dolls is cooler than four guys who can play the shit out of their instruments but have too many hits. Get over it. Ain't nothing wrong with the Dolls and there ain't nothing about Genesis or Phil Collins that deserves the vitriol...except maybe that petition.

A guy manages to be one of the greatest drummers in the history of music, playing progressive rock, jazz fusion, big band, pop and funk all convincingly, takes over as lead singer of his band and makes them more successful, has the ability to switch gears and produce hit records for Eric Clapton and members of Earth, Wind & Fire, write for film, for which he won an Oscar, and Broadway, for which he won a Tony and all this translates to "suffering" for the hipper than thou crowd.

Look, I am not making a case for Genesis or Collins' solo work. This is not about why you should love Phil Collins, but more about why you shouldn't hate Phil Collins. Not sure why playing well and writing solid pop music is more offensive than not? Was it "Sussudio" that did it? Like it or not, I know I wish I wrote it. And the one below, too.

But okay, go sign the petition if you like and then laugh over a few pumpkin ales until Hooton Tennis Club takes the stage at Cake Shop. I'm going to listen to "Selling England By The Pound."


Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

I agree with your take on Phil Collins. I've never owned an album by Phil Collins (or Genesis, for that matter) but, back in the 80's, would never turn the station if one of his songs came on. He was one of those artists where I guess you could say I was a Greatest Hits kind of fan. Which in some quarters, I'm sure, is the equivalent of saying I've got a velvet picture hanging in my living room of dogs cheating at poker.

If you want to criticize his production work in the 80's with, say, Clapton, go right ahead. But, to start a jokey petition? First-world problems, baby. Seems a little mean-spirited.


buzzbabyjesus said...

It was Sussudio that did it for me. It's easy to point fingers and yell "sell-out" at successful musicians.
"Selling England By The Pound" was a new album and my introduction to Genesis. I was in the audience for "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway", and in the front row for "Trick Of The Tail". Even though it was a step down, I enjoyed watching Phil trade licks with Bill Bruford.
My favorite is "Supper's Ready" from "Foxtrot". Phil is magnificent. A terrific drummer who's earned his success.

I'm not curious about what's next, though, if it means another "No Jacket Required". Another Brand X maybe.

Chris Collins said...

Amen and amen!!

Go watch his performance(s) at Live Aid. He sat at a piano and totally had the crowd enraptured. It's not because he was a star at the time (though he was a giant star at the time), but because he was a musician with chops, humility, warmth and talent. I don't have to listen to "Sussudio" or "I Wish It Would Rain", but I cherish some of those Genesis records, and even a lot of solo stuff. "I Missed Again" is a legit great song.

Chris Collins said...

Also? I listen to "Duke" all the time.

Troy said...

I'll agree with RichD and go one step further: it isn't a little mean-spirited, it is a lot mean-spirited. And mean people suck.

derdav said...

Also love his work on the Robert Plant records, especially "Burning Down One Side," tasty and powerful!

cmealha said...

It's the same people bent out of shape because of the red Starbuck's cup. People just need something to cut down in order to feel better about themselves

William Repsher said...

It was "Illegal Alien" that did it for me. Don't know what they were thinking. At least "Sussudio" made sense in a sort of Heat Is On/Smuggler's Blues/Heart of Rock and Roll, over-the-top, synth and sax solo, gated drums sort of way.

That said, "Can't Stop Loving You" is a nice hidden gem of a track. And that whole sultry drum machine thing he concocted on the first solo album recalled Timmy Thomas' "Why Can't We Live Together" in a great way.

One of Patton Oswalt's numerous Phil Collins riffs:

buzzbabyjesus said...

I really did hate all those radio hits, especially "Invisible Touch". That was no longer Genesis, and don't get me started on Mike and The Mechanics. I obviously didn't belong in the '80's.

dogbreath said...

The man Collins has managed to be cool, uncool & cool again a couple of times over. He's got a fine musical pedigree with Genesis, Brand X, solo works & collaborations, and then Genesis again and what a superb frontman for that band he is, as witnessed on the last reunion tour in 2007. Perhaps there's more than a touch of tall poppy syndrome behind the negativity.

Jim G said...

Agree completely, Sal. Not a fan of his or Genesis but this petition is just pure snark and as such, really obnoxious.

Noam Sasne said...

Sal, I'm genuinely sorry if I offended you with my snark last week. I know he has plenty of goodwill built up from earlier projects but many of those later songs were awful and inescapable. Illegal Alien was the nadir, but when you have to resort to making up words (I speak now of the Phil Collins Nonsense Trilogy - Abacab, Paperlate, and yes, that one) I assume that you have nothing really to say but are saying it anyway, just to annoy me.

It's not just the subject matter of course, the production was obnoxious too, robot drum sounds and those horrid noisy digital synths way up in the mix...and worst of all that whiny honk of a singing voice.

I have a good friend who gets annoyed much as you do when this subject comes up. So while I stand by my opinions on the man, from here I zip my lip on this subject.

Sal Nunziato said...

Noam, trust me, I was not offended by your snark, as much as I was annoyed by the whole thing in general. It's not just you and Phil Collins, it's anyone with anything, when I find it unreasonable. One friend hates Led Zeppelin because he saw them in 1970 and they sucked. He's been runnning with that for years. Stop it already. I am a huge Genesis fan, a huge fan of Collins behind the kit, and I like his first three solo records. But, like you, I despise Illegal Alien and really don't like Paperlate. That's not enough to dismiss a very respectful career, at least not to me. The petition sealed it, as it reminds me of everything I hate about today's music and millenials. I was fine with your comment.

Anonymous said...

What a stupid thing to do. That is how the people use their time, sad.

Anyway, good reason to hear Abacab. And God bless Phil for making us happy with songs like this (Easy lover, is just another great song)


jeff said...

my favorite phil collins bit is that if you know who you're looking for, you can spot him in the audience cheering for the Beatles in Hard Days Night.

Michael Giltz said...

I don't think it has anything to do with "today" or "millennials." An online petition may be a new way of showing it, but people have been dicky since time began. I'm sure folk expressed snarky comments towards Count Basie "still" touring in the 1970s or Crosby still recording in the 1960s and on and on.

PS I smile every time Anonymous writes ", please remain seated." God help me.