The Weekend Roundup: Whatever Happened to Phil Collins, the Research Turtles ‘Toon Winners, and Cashbox Canada Welcomes Me Aboard.

It occurred to me this morning that the millennium descended on us over 10 years ago. To some people, 2000 is now ‘the good old days’. Am I the only one who finds that somewhat disturbing? There was no Twitter, no Facebook, no iPad, Android, or Cloud. There was no 3D television (or movies for that matter), fish tacos, or Coke Zero. We had no Jersey Shore, American Idol, Survivor (until May 31st of that year) or Ryan Seacrest. We didn’t have Smart Phones, Hybrid cars or touch-screen monitors. We were down to 3 Beatles and 3 Who’s, and would soon be down to just two each. What we did have…was Phil Collins.

Whatever Happened to Phil Collins…

I was never a big fan of Phil’s, but I did admire him. He was underfoot for about 15 years, playing, and singing with everyone, everywhere, all the time. You could not turn on a radio or buy a record without hearing him either playing the drums or warbling up front or in the background. The man was the musical equivalent of an independent free agent; available to one and all just as long as he loved their music. Unlike today’s urban artists, Phil wasn’t about the ‘featuring Phil Collins’ cred or the cash…he just loved music and playing…a lot.

Mr. Collins, who has always resembled a grown up but still melancholy Charlie Brown to me, got his start as a child actor, even getting a close-up as an extra in A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles black and white breakthrough film. He’s in the audience during the TV show the Beatles guest on in the film. He also showed up in the London production of Oliver! and in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the name of which sounds like a bad Asian sex act performed with twins. Collins first love, however, was music. After a few false starts, (The Real Thing, then The Freehold (with whom he recorded the first song he ever wrote, Lying, Crying, Dying) and then, after once last kick at the can with a band called Flaming Youth) he landed the drum gig in Genesis and the rest, as they say, is history.

We all know the Peter Gabriel era Genesis, especially if you were in Montreal during their heyday. They were more popular than any other act at the time, and were selling out large venues long before they really broke in the US. Collins was happy behind the drum kit, singing back up to Gabriel and only singing lead on two tracks on his first album with them, For Absent Friends and More Fool Me, which you can also see here, live from the University Sports Arena in Montreal in 1974…a show I was fortunate enough to attend.

After Peter Gabriel left to pursue a solo career, Genesis auditioned over 400 singers to replace him, and eventually realized his replacement was already in the band. Like it or not, Phil reset the prog-rock band, positioning it as a more pop oriented rock band, and over the course of the next three albums, after years of residing in the ‘cult band’ niche, Genesis became the darlings of FM radio, AM playlists, and the hippest of the hip. Their mainstream breakthrough and continuing success rested solely on Collins’s shoulders.

Keeping within the prog-rock arena with the first release with Collins singing lead, Genesis’ 1976 Trick of the Tail produced some fine songs, including this one. After their next album, guitarist Steve Hackett left to also pursue a solo career, and Phil’s effect on Genesis’ musical direction was completed with their first UK top ten single and US top forty hit, Follow You Follow Me, from the album, …And Then There Were Three….

By now, Phil was already playing outside the band, recording with Eno, Steve Hackett, Brand X (his side project) and even on Peter Gabriel’s solo effort. After he went solo, Phil would turn up at live gigs and in the studio either as a producer, singer, or drummer, with Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Eric Clapton, Sting, Frida (from ABBA), Philip Bailey, Led Zeppelin, Band Aid (which contained damn near everyone who had ever had a hit record) Marilyn Martin, Helen Terry, and even David Crosby. He even did a turn with my personal favourite, Fourplay, an absolutely wonderful song called Why Can’t it Wait Until Morning? Come to think of it, he even did a percussion session for George Harrison on the track Art of Dying back when he was only 19. The boy just LOVED to play. How much did he love to play? From Wikipedia: In 1985, on the heels of his Number One album, No Jacket Required, “Collins was invited by Bob Geldof to perform at the Live Aid  charity event. Collins had the distinction of being the only performer to appear at both the UK concert at Wembley Stadium and the US concert at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. He accomplished this by performing early in the day at Wembley as both a solo artist and alongside Sting, then transferring to a Concorde flight to the USA enabling him to perform his solo material, and drum for Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton in Philadelphia.”

While performing as a solo artist and still with Genesis (until 1996) Phil released a lot of hits, one song in particular (with Genesis) led to an amusing moment for all concerned. The group received an MTV “Video of the Year” nomination in 1987 for the single ” Land of Confusion” (which featured puppet caricatures created by the British satirical team Spitting Image) but lost out to Peter Gabriel’s solo hit, ” Sledghammer“. What are the odds? Remember when music videos were this great?  And look, Ma! No oiled up young girls wearing next to nothing!

Phil has continued to work up until very recently. With a Genesis reunion here and there, The Phil Collins Big Band (which played Genesis and Collins songs in a jazz vein) and ‘featuring’ appearances on a few records and even an album of Motown covers, he stayed busy through 2009. In 2010, when neck and spinal problems arose that have left him (so far) unable to play drums or piano, Phil has pretty much hung up his sticks and is living in Switzerland in order to be close to his kids from his third marriage. The weird thing is, you would think he would still be all over the radio other than the 2 or 3 hits Genesis and he still get played on Classic Rock stations, but with AC stations, (Adult Contemporary), the strangely youthful offspring of what once was called MOR (Middle Of the Road) or Easy Listening has replaced Billy Joel, Elton John, Phil Collins and others with younger, current artists you can hear on Hit, Urban, and Dance stations as well. Apparently, 12 is the new 40.

Yeah, we all got tired of Phil, made jokes about him, and changed the station, (sometimes with a boot through the dashboard radio), but these days, I miss the guy. A fine songwriter, a terrific singer, and an awesome musician. I guess there’s just no place in the world for guys like him any more…at least not on the radio. I do think he would still fill the large venues if he decided to tour again tomorrow. Radio doesn’t seem to affect that in the least these days.

The Research Turtles Caption Contest…

This was tougher than I thought it would be. You people are good! It was really hard to pick just three winners, so I have expanded the list to the 7 captions I thought were best. To the rest of you who do not see your names on this list, we’ll do this again next month…and Indy Bands? If you would like to send me your CDs as prizes for these monthly contests, email me at the address below for my mailing address, and I’ll include whatever you want to send to me. CDs, t-shirts, coffee mugs…whatever. You’ll get a mention and a short review for your trouble. Winners, those of you who didn’t send your mailing addresses with your entries, I will email you before the end of the weekend to get them. Congratulations to all of you, and thanks for playing.

In no particular order, here are the runners up…

Everyone here receives a copy of the Research Turtles new EP, Mankiller Part One…AND…a bonus Research Turtles sticker!

Ted Van Boort
Hamilton,Ont

“Sigh, 5 mph….What’s the rush?”

Harri Maki

American Somoa

“Those rabbits are gonna kill us, I can’t go that fast!!”.

Jennifer Whalen

“Hey dude, we’re gonna get a ticket for going too slow if you don’t speed up!”

Jenn says: That was my 10 year old daughter’s idea.  She loves the Research Turtles!

Rebecca Brown

London, On

“We did it Bob, music has finally come back “down” to speed!”

Alan Major

Paris, ON

“ Hey, Mario, get out of the passing lane!”

Nick Montague
Orillia Ontario
“Pull over Buddy! I’m an unmarked. Can’t you see the posted speed limit?”

Perry Lewis

Chicago Ill.

“So this is life in the fast lane, eh?”

“This is the road Tommy bought it on. Speed kills.”

“Dammit, Brad, we’re in theRabbit Lane!”

And the Winner is…

Laura Graham

Santa Fe, NM

“Wow! With speeds like that it’s a wonder there isn’t a wreck on every corner.”

Laura also picks up the Research Turtles full length CD as well as the Mankiller Part one EP and RT sticker.

A Nice Welcome from Cashbox Canada

My new boss, Sandy Graham, has written a nice welcoming message in this week’s issue of Cashbox Canada which will be online some time later today. You’ll be able to find it here. They have also graciously reprinted in part, my column from this past Wednesday about the first time I ever laid eyes on an issue of Cashbox back when I was 12 or 13. My new column, Music Matters (Because it Does) starts with an all new piece next Friday.

Have a Great Weekend…we’ll see you on Monday…

 Those of you who wish to continue to receive the Don’t Believe a Word I Say columns, The Monday Morning MailbagThe Rock Files, and The Weekend Roundup, can email me at segarini@rogers.com to let me know, and I will email the columns new URL directly to you.

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, The Segarini Band, and Cats And Dogs, and was nominated for a Juno Award  for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85),and, along with the love of his life, Jade (Pie) Dunlop,  continues to write, make music, and record.

3 Responses to “The Weekend Roundup: Whatever Happened to Phil Collins, the Research Turtles ‘Toon Winners, and Cashbox Canada Welcomes Me Aboard.”

  1. “Follow You Follow Me” was MY introduction to Genesis via AM radio. At the time I had no idea who they were or that the band existed with Peter Gabriel before this. I’ve only ever known the band with him and only ever known Peter Gabriel as a solo artist! I guess I know what it’s like to be one of those post-David Lee Roth fans of Sammy Hagar’s Van Halen. For me Genesis has always epitomized all things Phil Collins. His ‘Face Value’ solo album was a masterwork – changing the sound of Adult Contemporary (and monster drum sounds) for the ’80s. And anyone who is a fan of THAT sound/feel should check out former ABBA singer Frida’s (aka Anni-Frid Lyngstad) 1982 album ‘Something’s Going On’ which was produced by Collins and has his musical stamp all over it. The title track sounds as big as “In The Air Tonight”.

  2. Yeah…Something Going On is the best ABBA/Phil Collins song ever! The perfect marriage.

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