Phil Collins was born in London, England back in 1951, starting his musical career about 12 years later in 1963, when Beatlemania was only in the beginning. The musician learned to play the drums and in the early 70s ended up becoming the drummer for the legendary Progressive Rock band Genesis. With the departure of the group’s vocalist Peter Gabriel, Collins also became their singer and that also helped in the evolution of their sound, which resulted in a more commercial approach that was crucial to make them one of the best-selling bands in the world.
Over the decades Phil Collins talked about many other groups and gave their opinion on them. But not always he had good things to say about other groups and he even mentioned once a Progressive Rock band that he never liked.
The Progressive Rock band Phil Collins said he never liked
Psychedelic Rock already existed in the 60s but Progressive Rock music as it became known had his roots in the United Kingdom in the late 60s with bands like Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull. With longer and complicated songs, the groups also became famous for the incredible technique their accomplished musicians had. But for Phil Collins that could be a little dangerous because sometimes a few groups would exaggerate and it wouldn’t work so well.
He gave the supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer as an example in an interview with John Edginton back in 2014. The musician was explaining why he doesn’t believe that Genesis could fit in the same box as other famous Prog Rock groups.
(Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage): “I was a big early Yes fan, less so. Even though I like the guys in the band I didn’t relate to a lot of their music after the first two or three albums. Jethro Tull, ELP not for me, musically,” Phil Collins said.
Collins already wasn’t a big fan of ELP in the 70s
Phil Collins joined Genesis in 1970, three years after the group was formed. It was in that same year that the power trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer was formed and released their self-titled debut album. The supergroup had the keyboardist Keith Emerson, bassist and singer Greg Lake and the drummer Carl Palmer.
Four years later, when Genesis and ELP already were influential bands, Collins gave an interview to Ken CK when his band was performing in Cleveland, Ohio. During the conversation he was asked about the Italian band Premiata Forneria Marconi and he used ELP as an example. (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) “They were good then, they were then. But I don’t like them so much now. They got too much like ELP for my liking. I don’t like ELP. I don’t like the way they are, as people. Emerson’s alright. I don’t like Carl Palmer’s drumming. I don’t like the music.”
“It’s much too neurotic. And It’s too on one level. It’s all like ‘Karn Evil #9’ to me. I mean, I like new Rock and Roll, I like Mahavishnu neurotic. It seems to be done with taste,” Phil Collins said.
Although he said he didn’t like ELP, later in the same conversation he said that he didn’t heard their music that much. “To be fair, I haven’t listened to that much ELP. But what I’ve heard, and I’ve seen backstage. I just don’t like them. (But) I would never doubt the fact that they’re excellent musicians. I don’t like the kind of things that (ELP) did. But the sound on the record is a fine sound. And of the three of them I like (Keith) Emerson, mainly because he used to say nice things about us,” Phil Collins said.
Collins and Carl Palmer are good friends
Although Collins criticized Carl Palmer’s drumming back in the 70s, they are good friends according to the ELP and Asia drummer. In an interview with Anti Hero Magazine in 2021, Palmer was asked if he had seen any footage of Genesis’ farewell tour. He praised Collins son Nic Collins who played the drums and said that the Genesis leader was a good friend.
“A scene of Phil Collins’ Genesis has been on YouTube. As you know there’s been an incredible number of clips posted. Lots of different songs they’ve done, shows in Birmingham and just all over the place.”
“I was impressed with his son on the drums. I thought he did a very, very good job. Overall, I thought the sound was pretty good. Phil’s always been a friend. So I wish him well for what he’s trying to do. I understand the restrictions that he’s got,” Carl Palmer said.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer was active from 1970 until 1979. But they reunited in 1991 until 1998 and for the last time in 2010. Emerson died back in 2016 at the age of 71 and in that same year Greg Lake also passed away at the age of 69.
Carl Palmer continues to tour around the world with his band and occasionally with Asia. He recently made a “reunion” tour of ELP using live footage of his ex-bandmates.