Phil Collins returns: “I am no longer retired”

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has plans for new album and tour, also open to Genesis reunion


Phil Collins’ last solo album of original material, Testify, was released way back in 2002. He released a covers album of Motown classics in 2010, but announced his retirement a year later. The move came as the former Genesis frontman desired to take a more hands-on approach in raising his two children, whom his ex-wife had moved to Miami in 2008. Now that the kids are grown, the iconic singer-songwriter has revealed to Rolling Stone that he is ready to get back in the studio and onto the road.

“I’m no longer officially retired,” Collins revealed. “The horse is out of the stable and I’m raring to go.”

Amazingly, the announcement of Collins’ return to music came just five days after he underwent major back surgery. Not long after moving to Miami earlier this year, he woke up and found himself unable to move his right foot. “I had an MRI and my back and hips were just shot,” he said. “The doctor had to go in there, work on the sciatic nerve and take my back apart and unscramble the mess.” He’d previously dislocated a vertebra in his neck during Genesis’ 2007 reunion tour, an injury that took his ability to play the drums. After this latest surgery, however, his doctor is hopeful he could return to the kit. “He said to me, ‘If you want to play drums again, all you have to do is practice.'”

Collins had actually been planning a return for a while, having brought bassist Lelan Sklar and drummer Jason Bonham together for rehearsals last year. After he got sick, though, those sessions fell apart, so it’s unknown whether those musicians will continue on with him in this latest revival. Still, he’s moved a recording studio into his home and is preparing to begin recording next month. A tour may happen before a new album, but that depends on the fans’ response to his upcoming reissues campaign. “I’m easily flattered,” Collins said. “If people rediscover the old stuff and show interest, it would be silly to not make more music.”

As for what a tour might entail, the details are currently being ironed out, but Collins has some ideas in mind. “I don’t think I want a very long tour,” admitted Collins. “But I would like to play the stadiums in Australia and the Far East, and that’s the only way to do that. But there’s a part of me that just wants to do theaters, so we’ll see.”

Of course, the question then becomes if another Genesis reunion could be in the future, a topic about which Collins is tentative. “I love the guys. I would just prefer to do this first. For now, let’s just see how this goes.” He added that he doesn’t think fans have “thought it through” regarding a full-fledged, Peter Gabriel-led reunion of the band. “Pete won’t sing ‘Invisible Touch’ or ‘I Can’t Dance,'” said Collins. “We’d only do material like ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.’ Also, I can’t play drums, so I can’t do what I did. I just want to settle with the bits of me that I can possibly do.”

Whatever happens with his former band, Collins appears excited to return to his solo career and get back on road. “No matter what happens, I can go out there, play piano and sing. I’m just in a very happy place right now.” For that matter, his kids are all for his comeback too. “They were in nappies when I was last on the road. They love my music and I’d like to take them out so they can enjoy it.”

Watch Collins’ video for “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)” below.