Phil Collins is still performing, decades into his career—but ongoing health issues have impacted his ability to play.
“I’m kind of physically challenged a bit, which is very frustrating because I’d love to be playing up there,” the Genesis musician, 70, told the BBC, ahead of the band’s reunion tour which starts next month.
The musician shared that playing the drums—his signature instrument—is out of the question at this point. “I can barely hold a [drum] stick with this hand, so there are certain physical things which get in the way,” Collins continued. He still sings, but at recent shows, he has remained seated and used a cane to walk.
Collins’ health problems began in 2009, when he underwent back surgery. “Somehow during the last Genesis tour, I dislocated some vertebrae in my upper neck, and that affected my hands,” he wrote in a blog post at the time. “Maybe in a year or so it will change, but for now it is impossible for me to play drums or piano.”
His health issues snowballed from there, undergoing back surgery again in 2015, and since facing nerve damage, foot injuries, and diabetes. “I’ll never play the way I used to,” Collins said in 2016. “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.”
And in 2017, the “In the Air Tonight” singer suffered a serious fall in a hotel room, hitting his head on a chair.
Even through all of these setbacks, Collins said last year that he still planned to drum “some bits” on the upcoming Genesis tour, which was pushed back due to the pandemic. But, it’s unlikely he will now. The British musician’s son, Nic Collins, 20, will be replacing his father on drums this fall.
Despite his health issues, Collins is still looking forward to reuniting with his former bandmates—although he’s hinted that this tour will be his last. “We're all men of our age, and I think to some extent, I think it probably is putting it to bed,” he told the BBC. “I think, just generally for me, I don’t know if I want to go out on the road any more.”
Even though this will be Collins's last tour, we can't wait to see the whole Genesis crew reunite.