Philip David Charles Collins
The Early Years
hil Collins was born to play the drums; of that there is no doubt. His timing, sense of rhythm and sheer inventiveness have given him a unique style and sound, which is instantly recognisable, yet compatible with the many different styles of music he chooses to play.
Born in Chiswick, London on Jan 30th 1951 he got his first drum, one of those noisy tin ones, at the age of 5. His first proper kit came when he was 12, and whether in front of the mirror or the TV he would be drumming along to any music he could.
A natural performer Collins attended stage school, and was soon playing in London's West End as the Artful Dodger in the musical Oliver. The cheeky Cockney image from Dickens camenaturally and would stand him in good stead during his future successes. He soon formed a band called The Real Thing and played his first gigs. He was playing with anyone he could, and eventually joined a group called The Freeholdafter being the only one to reply to their Melody Maker advert. The Freehold saw Collins make his recording debut with a self-penned number called "Lying Crying Dying", the original demo of which has just recently surfaced.
After a while, supporting John Walker of The Walker Brothers, Collins and his guitarist friend Ronnie Caryl formed Hickory who soon found themselves with a concept album, the backing of Phonogram, and a new name, Flaming Youth.
Their album Ark II, was premiered at the London Planetarium and received lots of favourable press, but musical differences and a lack of commercial success soon meant it was time to answer another Melody Maker ad, this time from a struggling young band from Surrey, called Genesis.
Genesis had been gigging up and down the country without much success, and were still recovering from the departure of guitarist Anthony Phillips. They had also decided a change of drummer was required and after an eye opening audition at Peter Gabriel's parents' house, Collins was in.
Playing for a while as a four piece, including the odd gig with Ronnie Caryl on guitar, Genesis soon felt the benefit of their new percussionist, his much needed sense of humour and an unlimited enthusiasm for playing injected a new energy into the group. As Tony Banks said "He was by far the best musician in the band". Then with the arrival of Steve Hackett on guitar the final piece was in place.