Exclusive - Phil Collins Extended Interview

October 26, 2016 - John Della Volpe & Phil Collins 10/26/2016 Views: 10,129

Phil Collins weighs in on the 2016 election and recalls his early days working in the music industry with Eric Clapton and The Beatles in his memoir "Not Dead Yet." (12:49)

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My next guest isa legendary musician

who has sold hundredsof millions of records

throughout his career.

And just released his memoircalled, Not Dead Yet.

Please welcome Phil Collins.

(cheering and applause)

Thank you very much.

Wow. Thank you for being here.

Can I say it now?

-You can say it, you can say it.-Yeah.

Because... we were talkingbefore this started.

-You can say it now.-Yeah.

As a, as a non-voterand as an Englishman,

an-an Englishman that's justwatching this pantomime,

I've got to say that DonaldTrump is a complete (bleep).

(cheering, applause)


Let him sue me, let him sue me.

He's got a long lineto go through

before he gets to me, though.

-He-he genuinely does.-Yeah.

You've been living in Miami,

and you've been watchingthis election.

Yeah, yeah.I'm-I'm pretty glued to it.

Have you seen anythinglike this?

You come from the U.K.,where, I mean,

the election is what?Like, a-a week long?

How long do you guyscampaign for?

Oh, uh, well,they campaign for-for, uh,

you know, a few months,

going aroundtheir local constituencies.

But, but this is, um...this is something different.

And I've never actually beenhere for an American election.

I've passed through whiledebates have happened, uh,

but I've never,I've never really seen...

And you know, I-I really do--and I'm not a Democrat,

and I'm not a Republican.

I just, I just see things...

as right, wrong,

nice, not nice, you know.


-And-and very not nice,you know. -(laughter)

And I... I-I I know-- I mean,

there's no politicianthat hasn't got something

-in their, in their cupboard,you know? -Yes.

Um, and Hillary's got her share,but I mean,

the-the things that he says...his attitude.

I really do believe that one dayhe just woke up and said,

"Ha. What-what haven't I got?

I haven't become president yet."

And this idea just came to himand now,

now it's like the joke is over,but we're living with it.

And I-- please, God,we don't have the consequences.

You know-you know what you...when you say it's like

the joke is overbut we're living with it?

It's like, we've been told ajoke and now we're in that phase

where we're like...(chuckles weakly)

Like, we're... it's fading out.

But let's not-let's not give...We're not gonna give, uh,

your time to Trump. I wantto talk to you about the book.

Is this... I...I couldn't find another one.

This is your memoir?This is it?

-This is it, yeah, yeah. Um...-Wh... Like, I feel like

you've lived many memoirsworth of-of memories,

of information-- why now?

Well, uh, I mean, I've beenwanting to do it since

the-the '90s, you know.And-and I kind of felt... I...

The time is kind of...Why not, you know?

I'm... I was pretty muchdoing nothing

when I started writing this.

-I started doing the, um...-(audience laughing)

I don't see anythingfunny there. The...

The, uh...

In 2010 I startedwriting the early chapters.

-That was the fun stuff,you know? -Yeah.

Dad, Mom, brother, sister.And then, um, I...

When it came to the music I kindof glazed over, 'cause it was

so dense. And putting itin order seemed like

a huge mountain to climb,so I got together

with a journalist,uh, called Craig MacLean

-who helped me sort throughthat mud. -Yeah.

Because, you know, I just...didn't start working.

So... And so, now, you know,

having it onthe-the printed page

feels, um, feels good.

It feels likethe right time, you know?

It's like, full stop.Turning over a page.

-Mm-hmm.-New sentence.

The-the stories that, uh...are really fascinating to me...

I mean, you-you liveda pretty remarkable life,

especially withhow you got into music.

To be-to be telling storiesabout going to Abbey Road

at the height of The Beatles,to be in an environment

where you're referringto Eric Clapton by just "Eric."

I mean, there are stories whereyou say "Eric," and you're like,

"I'm sorry-- Eric who?"And it's like, oh, Er...

oh, the Eric Clapton is...Do you ever look back

and realizehow magnificent that was?

Oh, yes, absolutely.I mean, never a day goes by,

really, where I don'tappreciate how lucky I've been.

I mean, the-the...

the thing with,um, Eric Clapton...

um, was that I-I...

the first timeI came into contact with him

was I was at a bus stop.

Uh, uh, gettingthe last bus home

in my end of the line house

in Hounslow,which is a suburb of London.

And I was... There was a clubin-in Hounslow called The Attic.

And I remember hearing...

♪ Just driving in my car

♪ Smoking my cigar...

You know?And it was "N.S.U." by Cream.

And... and I was standingat the bus stop.

And I was listening to this,thinking,

"Man, what another worldthat is."

And 25 years later,I'm producing him.

You know? And he's my...one of my best mates.

So these... My life has beencharmed like that.

I-I've played witha lot of my heroes.

And the Abbey Road thingwa... you know,

was-was for George Harrison'sfirst solo album

and Ringo was there,Billy Preston was there,

Phil Spector was producing.

You know, and I was-I was 19,and I was in that environment,

and... it's just... it is...

it was a wonderful timeto be alive, the '60s, you know?

Because it was all happeningfor the first time.

When you share the stories

of-of superstardom,

what I found particularlyinteresting was the stories

of you still being starstruckby other people.

Because a lot of peopledon't realize that happens--

no matter how famous you are,there is someone that you meet

where you forget for a moment

-that you are living that life.-Yeah.

Uh, one of myfavorite stories in that

was the Concorde with Cher.

Did that really happenthe way it did?

It really did, yeah, yeah.

I mean, I-I...You know, I can-I can te...

It's-it's written--uh, beautifully, in the book--

but... but, um...

You can tell us a bit about it.It-it is really

-written beautifullyin the book, but... -But-but

Yeah, so, I got on...I got on Concorde

-to go to-to New York, and...-This is-this is when you were

doing the... It was the...transatlantic, when you were...

-Yeah, I'd already done London.-Yeah, you were gonna do

-two shows in one day,which was insane. -Yeah.

Um, and I got on Concorde

and sat down.And I had passed...

someone that vaguelylooked like Cher.

But, um... during the flightshe came up to me and said,

"Phil. Cher. What are you...What-what's going on?"

'Cause we were surroundedby some press, and...

And I said,"Oh, yes, this concert

on both sides of the Atlantic,you know, it's..."

-Um... -I like that youdelivered it like that.

"Oh, you know, this concert.Both sides of the Atlantic.

You know, the s... the usual."

-Well, most people knew about itby this point. -Yeah.

It was-it was street parties,you know,

it was in all the press.And, um,

so, she said to me,"Could you get me on?"

And, uh, I said,"Come on, come on, you're Cher.

You know, I mean,just turn up." Um...

Meanwhile, of course,she had, after seeing the press,

she'd gone to the bathroomto make herself look like Cher.

Um, and so she... You know,

it was the Cher that came up to me.

-And, uh, I said...-Oh, so the person you saw

in the chair was like,she looks like Cher,

and then she pulled a Superman--went, took off the glasses.

-Exactly. -Came back... and thenit was like, "It's Cher!"

-Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly.-Ah, I see.

So, um, anyway,I go out to Philadelphia.

I said, "Just get... You know,you sort yourself out."

-Um... You know, I wasa busy man. -(laughter)

I-I... I'm not an agent.

So-so, I... uh...

Like, when I got there, this...Kenny Kragen,

who managed Lionel Richie, said,"Will you sing a line

of 'We Are the World'?" You know. So I said,

"Sure, yeah, whatever you want."Uh, so, anyway,

I did the th...did my thing again

and I did the Zeppelin thingand I did Eric Clapton's set.

And, uh... and then I wascompletely, you know, knackered.

And, uh, I said, "Someoneelse will have to do my line.

I-I'm g... I've got to go backto New York."

And I-I got the last helicopterback.

And I... and I got to New Yorkand I turned on the TV

and they were doing"We Are the World."

And, uh... and there, onstage,with a microphone, was Cher.

You know. And, uh, I reckonshe was singing my line as well.

-You know. It was, uh...-If-if I...

-it was funny. -If I...You know, when I... when I...

when I read this,I-I see a life well lived.

There are some tough momentswhen you talk

about the difficultyin balancing

being successful in the world,being successful for the public,

and struggling to be successfulat home with your family.

When you look back--it's a tough question to ask...

Yeah, I know.

...but are there...are there any moments

that you maybewould have traded in

for more time with your familyand kids?

Yes, of course. I mean,

seeing it all in one blockas well... I-I...

You know, the one thingthat astounded me

when I was doingthe-the music onward stuff

-was how much I worked.-Yeah.

You know, 'cause I didn't reallythink about it at the time.

It was just like,"Yeah, I can do that."

You know,it was like Mr. Incredible.

"I got time for that."You know, and...

and I would just go and do it.

And I asked my first wife,you know,

I guess, to put up with a lot.

Uh, she was bringing up two kidsin the middle of the country,

and, um... So, yes,there would have been

some thingsI would probably have...

have changed. I would've said noa few more times than I did.

Um, I was constantly on tour.And then when I had

a solo career,I was constantly on tour

with either me or Genesis.

And then ei-eithermaking records for one or...

or the other. And then peoplelike Eric or Robert Plant

or Philip Baileyor Frida from ABBA,

you know, they wouldkind of ring up and say,

"Would you produce my album?"

And they'rekind of opportunities

that only come round once.

And so, yes, I should've said noa few times.

Um, but I did my best.

I did my best as the breadwinnerof the family,

and-and I worked'cause I loved it

but I also worked'cause I had to.

I had two... two young kids.

And, uh, you know,I had a family.

And... You try your bestand-and...

One of the thingsin the beginning of the book

is-is, um...

that we think mums and dadsknow it all.

You know, we...As-as we're growing up,

-we think our mum and dad knowseverything. -Yeah.

You know, they're gonna bearound forever,

and they know everything.And, of course,

they're making it up every day.

You know. We don't liketo think about that,

but they are, 'cause they'venever had a 14-year-old boy

-that's going through thisbefore. -Yes.

Or they've never hada 12-year-old girl.

So everybody's making it upas they go along

and the best possible waythey can.

And that's really whatI was doing, you know?

And sometimes it fell short.And I've been very honest

in the book when it's...when it's fallen...

when I've been the onethat's to blame.

You-you have now hadthe opportunity though

to say yes to an up-and-comingartist who is really following

in your footsteps,and that's your son.

-Yeah.-And he's playing the drums.

And is he going to be the reasonyou get back into music?

-'Cause you had semi-retired...-Yeah. Yeah, I-I retired

to be with them, you know,and then we split off and...

And then he was like,"Let's go on the road, Dad."


How... What is that like?I mean, we got...

we got to end this, but, I mean,what-what is that like now,

-sharing that experience with...-Why, it's wonderful.

I mean, he played the U.S. Open.He played the-the shows...

I did three kind of shortcharity shows this year,

and he played. Andhe's-he's a fantastic drummer.

I've got three sons, you know.The oldest one's 40, Simon,

and he's a wonderful drummer.

And he's got his own career.

Uh, Nick is-is 15.

He'll be 16 by the timewe go on the road.

But my... but poor Matthew,who's 11,

doesn't play the drums.

Well, he probably realized thenoise in the house was just...

-Yeah. -I mean, that's quitea family to have,

where everyone's playingthe drums.

-No one's doing guitaror anything. -Yeah.

I mean, at one point,there was three drum kits

in the same room, you know?And, uh,

he-he said, "I-I'm not...I'm not going for it, Dad.

"And-and I don't feellike a Collins,

because I don't play the drums."

Which is sad, you know, whena... nine-year-old says that.

And he said, "And besides,Nicholas told me last night

-that I was adopted."-(laughter)

-So it runs in the family then.-Yeah.

It runs in the family. It's-it'sa truly beautiful book.

Thank you so much for your time.Thank you for writing it.

A new single is coming out.The memoir, Not Dead Yet,

and the singlesare both available now.

-Phil Collins, everybody.-(cheering and applause)