The Reason Phil Collins Never Wanted To Be The Genesis Frontman


Phil Collins is a drummer, singer, producer, and songwriter mostly known as the drummer and singer of the band Genesis. Apart from his career with the band, Collins is also a successful solo musician. Considering his solo work, work with Genesis, and collaborations with other artists, he had more top-40 singles than any other musician back in the 1980s.

The talented musician Phil Collins started playing drums at the age of five. Following his career as a child actor, he decided to embark on a musical career and joined Genesis as their drummer in 1970. Five years after he joined the band, he became the band’s lead singer following Peter Gabriel’s departure.

Throughout his career with Genesis, the award-winning musician Phil Collins contributed to the band with a great number of musical efforts. Despite his success in Genesis, Phil Collins once stated that he never wanted to be the band’s frontman in the first place. Let’s learn more about the reason why Collins stated such a thing.

Phil Collins Wanted To Remain As Genesis’ Drummer Instead Of Being The Frontman


Phil Collins joined Genesis as their drummer back in 1970. Between the years 1970 and 1975, he played drums and sang backing vocals in the band’s albums and live shows. In the song ‘For Absent Friends’ from Genesis’ 1971 album ‘Nursery Cryme,’ Collins sang the lead vocals for the first time.

Following ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway Tour’ in 1975, Peter Gabriel left the band due to internal disputes. Collins then became the band’s lead vocalist during the recordings of ‘A Trick Of The Tail.’ The album then became a major critical and commercial success. From then on, Collins continued with the band as their lead vocalist.

In a previous interview by Classic Rock, the host Mark Ellen asked Phil Collins about what the shift from being the drummer to being the frontman felt like. As a response, Collins said he felt exposed and insecure as he lived all his life behind a drum kit up until that time. Moreover, he said the band sounds different from the front, and it made him uncomfortable.

Following that, Collins said he didn’t want to be the band’s frontman because he wanted to stay as their drummer. He said that he became the band’s lead singer after it turned out that he was sounding better than anyone else during the auditions. So, according to Collins, Genesis couldn’t find anyone and ended up with him.

Speaking about suddenly being the frontman of Genesis, Phil Collins told Classic Rock that:

“I felt exposed. I’d lived all my life behind the security blanket of a drum kit, and suddenly there was nothing except a microphone stand. And the band sounds different from out front. You hear a different kind of balance out front, and it isn’t comfortable. And I didn’t want the job, frankly.

He then continued, revealing his reason:

I wanted to stay the drummer. We had people down every Monday auditioning, five or six people, and I would teach them what they had to do. We were writing ‘A Trick Of The Tail’ and I would teach them some old songs – ‘Firth Of Fifth’ or whatever – and I ended up sounding better than anyone else. And Genesis was kind of a family. ‘Do we want this person in our family? Will he fit in with the way we do things?’ Anyway, we didn’t find anybody and ended up with me.”

Although Phil Collins claimed he felt more secure behind a drum kit, he managed to do a successful job as Genesis’ lead singer after he became the band’s frontman. Besides, the talented drummer proved that he is also a successful singer.