Phil Collins, inspiration that comes from dealing with a broken heart
Superstar Phil Collins, who is currently releasing remastered and extended versions of his classic albums, tells Shuffle that the break-up of his first marriage to his school sweetheart Andrea fuelled the start of his songwriting.
In an exclusive interview, the former Genesis star pointed out that his role in that supergroup had been as a drummer and an arranger of songs. “We had enough good writers in the band,” Phil tells me.
“When Tony Banks played something I could see how it could be arranged. That was my strength.”
But the success of Genesis and worldwide touring put pressure on his relationship with Andrea and the couple ultimately split up.
“We went back a long way, so when the marriage broke up and we had two kids I started to write on the piano over a period of a year because Tony and Mike were doing their solo albums.
“Lyrics were pouring out of me, relating to what was going on in my life. After about a year they became songs and the lyrics were quite personal. That kind of set the way I would write for the future. I just wrote about what was happening to me in my life. Even with the social issues I looked at it from a simple point of view.”
Face Value, which was released at the end of January with Both Sides, was inspired by the hurt, frustration and confusion of losing his wife. It includes the harrowing opener In The Air Tonight.
Collins (65), who recently reunited with his third wife, Orianne Cevey, says songwriting has been his therapy in times of trouble and strife in his life.
“Stuff happens to me the same as everybody else and you go through things that you find hard to deal with,” he reflects. “
Everybody copes in their own different way. I’ve got an outlet for my emotions through songwriting. In schoolboy terms it’s a way of saying, ‘well, when she reads this she’ll know!’ But it’s something I do to try to cope.”
The Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) singer, who is currently writing his life story due out for Christmas, has this week released his 1982 second album, Hello, I Must Be Going, with songs that include I Don’t Care Anymore, Thru These Walls and his upbeat interpretation of The Supremes’ You Can’t Hurry Love.
He has also released his 1996 album, Dance Into The Light. The extended versions of the albums have his personally selected demos and B-sides.
As with the rest of the reissue series, Hello, I Must Be Going and Dance Into The Light are available as a 2CD digipak and digital versions which feature the remastered album and the additional content, as well as the 180 gram heavyweight audiophile vinyl format which features the remastered album as a stand-alone product.
Each album is remastered by Nick Davis, who earned a Grammy nomination for Best Surround Sound album for his work on the Genesis 1970-1875 box set.
Meanwhile, Collins says his life has never been sweeter since he reunited with his wife Orianne. The couple plan to remarry and are now back living together with sons Nicholas (14) and Matthew (11).
And it looks like Nicholas is going to follow in Phil’s footsteps. “Nicholas has got a band and he’s a drummer,” he tells me. “I’m not going to stop him because he’s a fantastic drummer.
His band come and rehearse at the house, so I’m part of their world which is great.”
Younger son Matthew, meanwhile, is showing promise as a future star of the soccer world according to Collins. “I take him to soccer and he’s a great player, it’s what he wants to do,” Phil adds. “I’m enjoying their enthusiasm for what they’re doing, being a part of it and meeting the other parents and kids.”