"Dancing into the interview" - Phil Collins in conversation about his "Dance Into The Light" album in Geneva, August, 1996. Interview disc transcribed by Alan Hewitt (Disc kindly provided by Annie Callingham).PC: I chose he title "Dance Into The Light" I suppose because it encapsulates the feel of the album and the change from the last album to this one. A lot's gone on... a lot's gone on in my life. Another title I was thinking of actually is "Out Of The Woods", which is a phrase I like, because it's emerging from the very dense jungle into daylight, and I like that idea. But "Dance Into The Light" was actually the title to a song, and the song came first. I just thought it summed up where I am in my life, and the mood of the album, and I hope it spells out to people that it's Dance. "Dance in a Phil Collins title? Well, that must sound a bit different"... Maybe they'll approach it with that in mind.
INT: Musically and lyrically this album is such a profound change from "Both Sides". How did that change come about?
PC: There is a big change between this and the last album and I think - well, anyone who reads a newspaper will know what's gone on in the last couple of years in my personal life. The songs are supposed to be either about things that bother you, move you, motivate you, to tell other people how you feel, what you should be doing, you know, change this, socially and politically... or they're songs about where you are as an individual, about you about how you are in your own life. I tend to write both kinds of songs really. But the last album was where I was at the time, I was feeling very sad. It was my best album you know. But the tone of the songs was sad, so I suppose most people will consider it to be "Oh he's alright now, with the new album he's found his sense of humour again" you know. But really I didn't change that much. I mean mentally or physically.
It was just that some things happened in my life that led me to writing those songs and then in turn led to my divorce and all that went on after it. So this album was born on the road, on my last tour, when all this was going on. And I was listening to a lot of Youssou N'Dour and a lot of African music, as well as what I would normally carry around with me, Beatles stuff and things like that, and you know it comes in here and it goes out there, so anything you listen to you get influenced by. And I found I was writing a lot more up, a lot more rhythmic things. So having started the record with some of the songs at that point on the road, I then left it for about six, seven, eight, nine months before I started working on it and I think the reason they're so buoyant is that's the way I feel - quite simply it's a change of attitude and in my life. I'm quite happy if people try to really find out where I am from my songs. I mean the reason I started writing songs is due to what happened with my first marriage. I wasn't really writing songs as such up to that point. I just wrote bits and pieces, arranged songs with Genesis and came up with verses or choruses which they used, but I didn't consider myself to be a song writer. I was a drummer. And when my first marriage broke up, I was compelled, if you like to start writing songs, really as a way of getting my feelings across to my then wife.
She was the one that left me. So I was upset about all this and I started writing these songs and they were autobiographical, they were like a diary. You read these and you find out how I felt - about my kids, about "How could you do this to me?". So that's the way I came into this business, if you like. And if that's your first record you've got - what's the phrase? Nothing left to hide. And in away I think that's something people have found appealing. I think they like to think that people they buy records off people they hold in high esteem, I wouldn't say anything higher than that, they like to feel those people are the same as them. And if they have a problem they can look and say "he has the same problem, you know and look where he is". Anybody's the same. I like that. So it doesn't bother me, I think it's a good thing, that people know how I feel. It's the only way I know how to write. I'm only trying to justify it, I suppose. I write songs about me, the songs I've finished anyway. "Wear My Hat", "Take Me Down" and "It's Everywhere" - whilst one of those might not be on the record, those three songs are so energetic, and so different for me, and so full of this African influence, that tome I just knew this album was going to be different.
To me they're the core songs of the record. Then after that came "Dance Into The Light". I started to deliberately write songs - in fact, most of these songs are deliberately written - with less keyboards than I usually would play, and more guitar. I don't play guitar but I play guitar samples and you try and make it sound like Tom Petty strumming a guitar and that kind of thing, and that changes the way you write songs considerably so that a song would sound a a certain way on a piano or a sustained chord instrument sounds totally different if you play it like a strum guitar. So that's helped move things in a little direction.. And I deliberately put things like Dylan in my car, just to listen to different kinds of music. I mean, I love Dylan, I always have done, but I haven't really listened much to him in the last 15-20 years, you know. I love the early stuff, and I bought the "Like A Rolling Stone" things, I put that in the car just to hear different lyrics,to hear different ideas, to sit in a different colour room, if you like. And it worked, because there are a couple of songs on the album - "No Matter Who You Are", a couple of people heard that and said "it sounds like Dylan" just the way you sing it, the phrasing, the words you use, were a little different from what people expect me to do. So that makes me happy, if I can do something that's pushed me in a slightly different direction. So I actually thought at one point with the new record; I thought before the songs were actually formed, "I'm going to get a producer to do this. I'm going to walk away from it. I want to come home at the end of the day and not worry about it, to come in at the end of the mixing session each day and say 'right that sounds great' and walk away as opposed to living, breathing and sort of dying with it" you know. So that was the first thing that crossed my mind, that was a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that I did everything on the last record. Now I wouldn't have changed anything about the last record. So with this, apart from anything else I thought "Let's have a change - I did that now I want to do this. I don't like staying in the same place, musically speaking all the time... So I'll get Hugh back".
Now High Padgham and I, we did "Face Value", "Hello I Must be Going", "No Jacket Required" and "...But Seriously"... we didn't work together on the live record and we didn't work together on the last record. We did three or four Genesis albums together. So, you know he's part of my team, if you like, we work together. he was kind of ready for a break from me I think, and me from him, and it was just right to get back together again. So we got back together again. And I have a great band, I have some of the best musicians I could possibly want. So I thought "Why not? Bring them on board as well". Originally the idea was that I was doing my demos like I normally would do. And back on that last record those demos became 90% of the record. Previously they'd become 60%, 70% of the record or maybe 50% in some instances. Now with this I thought; "OK, I'm going to get musicians to play on these tracks so I won't take any care with the demos, I'll just get them down as structure". And then, of course as you go on you realise that you liked the way you played that, you like the way you did this... So I kind of ended up doing half and half using my demos as a template, if you like and getting the guys to come in and play what I played and adding something of their own of course. So we had another keyboard player coming in to add my stuff or to replace it; a guitar player coming in; I had one of my oldest friends, Ronnie Caryl, who I hadn't played with since I was fourteen, we'd stayed in touch obviously, you know we used to be in the same be in the same band together, playing Cream songs, I got him in the band, he's now in my band from all those years ago and he came in and played rhythm guitar which gives this an edge, because he's a very rough character as opposed to Daryl who is quite a smooth character.
You know, Arnold and Amy sing with me and it just makes the tunes sound different from the way they would normally sound, because these guys had not played on my record, to all intents and purposes for two records, because the live album was a greatest hits and the last album was all me. So it all just adds up to making a different kind of colour. And with the last record people were saying they were disappointed I didn't play more drums, and to me, I write as a songwriter and although I'm a drummer, I don't mind if I don't play the drums, it doesn't bother me, I'm not threatened by it. I write the songs and if a drum machine part is part of the atmosphere then I won't replace it, because you can't take the atmosphere away, if it's coming from the sound of the drum machine, if it's coming from the fact it never changes, its relentless, hypnotic, so I use it. But I can understand why people were disappointed there wasn't more real drums. So this time I took all the drum machine off, I played all the drums myself and every track is real drums, which definitely makes each song, the album more lively.
INT: A lot of the tracks have that African sound that you've been talking about, almost that tribal rhythm. Being a drummer, is that what interested you in the African sound?
PC: Well, from an early age I knew that there was... I mean I'd been playing drums since I was five, and so by the time I was twelve or thirteen I was listening to Ginger Baker. He was very African the way he played - I mean pre-Cream, when he played with The Graham Bond Organisation he was playing a lot of African. I got to know Phil Seaman, who was just a legendary Jazz drummer, when I was very young, and he taught Ginger Baker. He used to play the odd African record when I was at his place. My favourite band in the Sixties was a group called The Action and their drummer, Roger Powell, was one of my favourite drummers ever. He was always on about African drumming. So, I mean it's something that - I only say this because of my connection with Peter and both our connections with Genesis - sometimes there's a tendency to, if you both have, anywhere something resembling somewhere on the line, people will say 'Oh, it's because of...' But in fact, as a drummer, Africa is a source of inspiration.
INT: Where was the album recorded and has that had an effect on it?
PC: According to the album sleeve notes, which I just wrote, it's recorded "Somewhere in Europe". I don't know whether I'm supposed to say where it was recorded. We recorded the album in France and we recorded it with Sting's mobile studio and we went on... I wanted to do it close to where I lived. I didn't want to go to Paris, I didn't want to go to London. I certainly didn't want to go to America to do it. You know, I wanted to come home every night. So we did it with a mobile unit and we found this hotel, a chateau, and it was closed down for the season, and we just rented it. We arranged all the rooms for the musicians, we had a chef who came in and cooked lunches and dinners they stayed there, I went home... we had the best view you could possibly imagine. We had a huge room, which was all panelled in oak with the desk in and three huge French windows that overlooked the Alps. It was one of the most extraordinary views. You open the windows, you just walk outside on the patio and have a bit of lunch and "This is making a record!" It was fantastic. Whenever you wanted a break you just turned round and there was this fantastic view. So it was a heck of a way to make a record. Having said that, the songs I actually did the demos in my little shack, you know this 10x12 bedroom, the spare bedroom in this little house we have in Switzerland, so the songs were born, they paid their dues, they were born in a shack but they were recorded in a chateau.
INT: So, let's start with "Dance Into The Light", as it's the first single. It's an extremely upbeat song. Was it deliberate, in a choice for single, after coming back from "Both Sides"?
PC: The first single is always this... I can only talk historically, but I mean, I didn't think "Another Day In Paradise" was a single. That shows you what I know. That was not what I would have chosen as the first single. I would have chosen "Hang In Long Enough", which wasn't a single at all. But to me it was up, aggressive and said "This is a new Phil Collins record" you know. But in fact, I guess it was the record company that chose "Another Day In Paradise". The last record I wanted "Both Sides Of The Story" to be the first single because it had guitar, it was anthemic and to me it showed that it was a Phil Collins record. It was not another ballad, it was something different. The record company wanted "Everyday". I chose the wrong one (mimes shooting himself). So this time I think I may have it right. This time it's trying to find something that encapsulates the record, gives you the feel of what the record is about.
There is another song on the album, "Same Moon", which is a kind of ballad, which is probably what people would like to hear from me. But then I'm always interested in trying to make the people who don't like me think again. I don't know why it is; I spend too much energy on this. But I do nevertheless. But "Dance Into The Light" sums up the record, it's about freedom. Literally and lyrically. Literally it's about someone walking down the street and saying; "Come on, you know take the shutters down, open the doors, come out into the light because it's OK". And you know that's true of South Africa; hopefully it's going to be true with Bosnia. It's places, people in places, having the weight lifted off. Its also, I have to say, probably subconsciously about finding something myself. I have always this terrible thing about saying "I have found happiness" - I don't wish it to sound like I was unhappy before and there was nothing good before, because everything was great before, but there are periods in your life where things have to change, you know, and so I have to say that I found a freedom and happiness and that is indicative in most of the album, and its certainly indicative, represented anyway, in "Dance Into The Light" and that's what the song is about. If the song says that, when people hear it on the radio and go out and buy it, that's the whole idea.
INT: Did you feel happy recording and writing it? Was the whole process very joyous with "Dance Into The Light"?
PC: It is always happy; always a great moment when you find a little something, you know. If you had heard the way the song started off; it was actually called "Metheny" because of Pat Metheny the jazz guitar player, and it was like a jazz thing, something I had never written before and it was six bars that went round and round and I didn't know what to do with it. So I made the beat a bit more driving and then I played it on a rhythm guitar instead of playing it on the piano and just treating it like a guitar and straight away it had a groove to it. And the lyrics, as with most of my lyrics, did not have to be thought about; they popped out.
I'm very lucky because I have been doing it for such along time now, I mean the first time it was nerve-wracking but just putting up a microphone and if there is no one else in the room you just sing. If there are people in the room you throw them out because you think you are going to look stupid if you sing rubbish. But if you are there on your own you can sing anything. And the lyrics you hear on the record, I would say that 75% of them are improvised I will sing whatever comes out. And, you know, you take away the crap and remember the good stuff. That is what the song is about, "Dance Into The Light". "OK now what?" then you have got the lyrics that worked, the words you sang or even if you didn't sing it - I listen and think "What might I have sung that sounds like that?" - you know, then you write down a series of words and you sort of start thinking about it - it is very - organic I believe is the word. It's not "What is this song going to be about?"
Whenever I have a song that starts like that, it's usually going to be trouble. The best ones are always ones where the lyrics are jumping out at me, and I've got to write them down before I forget them. So, that was how that was really recorded whereas "It's In Your Eyes" and "That's What You Said" are both Beatles, really. In fact, when I sent my demos in to my keyboard player, Brad Cole, he said "this is what 'Free As A Bird' should have sounded like"! Because it is more Beatle than the actual Beatle reunion thing. But whether - just call me old fashioned - whether it is because I grew up in that period, I mean Oasis are finding it now, there are other bands in America that are doing kind of Byrds/Beatles you can tell what they are listening to and to me it has never died. I mean, talk about reunion; it has never stopped as far as I am concerned. I used to carry all The Beatles records around, and the bootlegs long before you know... I mean these two songs and there was a third one which sounds like it could have come from "A Hard Day's Night", but that is not on the record - to me it's the kind of feel that you had... I get the same feeling when I am listening to those two songs as I did when I first heard "All My Loving" or when I first heard "It Won't Be Long" or "I Should Have Known Better". I get that kind of - it's a smile and you know it's just right, I can't describe it any other way and I love those two songs because trying to write a song that captures that same kind of spirit tome is something of a challenge.
Sometimes I get it right and sometimes you miss the mark. "It's In Your Eyes" I think is a good version of that. I wanted to try and draw in when we mix it, I wanted to try and draw in more of a closer thing; a period thing to it, but there are so many bands around now, actually young bands that are approaching this material in a new way, and yet it still sounds like The Beatles. It's like my son when he played me a couple of old R.E.M. tracks and I said "If you like this you will like The Byrds" and he said "Nah I didn't go much on them" - because he didn't grow up with it. But to me, yeah I feel like they have caught up with me (laughs) not that I have become current because to me there have always been one or two of those songs I've always loved that style of writing. That is the reason I am in this business - because I heard The Beatles and their voices and their harmony. I don't go along with this fact that they were too "wimpy", that The Stones were guys' guys and The Beatles were like moptops. They had an edge, they had an edge. It's just that now it doesn't seem like they had an edge because everything is so cynical and aggressive, But then they had stuff like "Revolver" onwards. Some of that had a very sharp edge.
The other song which is called "That's What You Said" which I think is lyrically kind of different but better, is a song about, because I know how I felt with this particular person when I was growing up, and it was "You told me you would stay with me forever! You told me this, that's what you said, and I believed you. You said that I was your Romeo and you were my Juliet. And that's what you said. I mean, come on! I carried a torch for you through thick and thin..." The kind of teenage naivete. So after the song, I've put "the spirit of '65" because if people don't know that when they are listening to it, they may get the wrong idea. But in fact, it is meant to be "Do you remember feeling like this? Because I do."
INT: "Wear My Hat", now to me, there's humour in that song...
PC: But the idea of the lyrics which again, I did not think about, they just popped out - was the fans. It is about fans. Sometimes it makes me angry, but more often than not it makes me laugh, the fact that people will come up to you and say "I love you, you know I mean, I really love you man". But they don't know you at all. I love you but I don't know you. And there are fans that sort of say, well the first verse of the song is actually about a girl coming up and visibly undressing me with her eyes and saying "You've got everything I want, you've got everything I need" And to me being a little naïve and a little bit sarcastic and sort of Pythonesque will say "I've got everything you need? Right, well you can have my hat, you can have anything you want" you know, not really thinking that she means physically, because I don't ever believe that people think of me that way! (laughs).
So, I actually from the humorous point of view say "Sure, take my bag, its yours". In the second verse it's her friend who wants to know my room number, you know and she's the kind of angry bitter one that says "Come on, you owe me this man, I've bought your records" That's a funny one when they say "I've bought your records so I own a big piece of you", you know. So I suggested "Well you can have my hat". Then there is the third verse where the guy, the sort of loud American who comes in, he doesn't really know who you are and he says, "Hey buddy, sign that" and he has got this little piece of paper. And I always wonder what happens to those little bits of paper. If you've got a book, OK; if you've got a record cover, that's OK; but a bit of cigarette paper or a cigarette packet, you know they are going to lose it. It's going to get wet in their pocket and they are going to go home and forget where they put it, and it is just a ritual, you know. So you sign your name and then you get angry because of the way the guy said "hey, buddy" - he doesn't know your name, maybe - "can you sign your name for me?" and I say jokingly "Why? Do I owe you money? What's the problem? Are we close?" "Yeah man I love you like my brother" And then because he says "put your arms around me man, I love you!" and I say "let's not rush things and pick out curtains" you know. Which is a line I actually wanted to use, but I couldn't fit it in. So I just put "Let's not rush things". Anyway it is meant to be a funny song but as I think with humour, there is an underlying truth, the fact that there is some weird people out there, they want evidence. Autographs are funny; they're evidence of having met.
"Just Another Story" is three little films for me, I guess in the same way that "Both Sides Of The Story" was trying to give different examples of how frustrating catch-22 is for people who can't get a job because they haven't got capital so they can't get an address so how can they get a job, they can't get an address without a job and they can't get a job without an address. So it goes on, yeah? Well, this song, which I think is the closest kind of thing I get to rap, this is my rap song if you like, I deliberately, well not deliberately actually, I mean... I wrote this... there is something about the very simple, naïve dated drum pattern like rappers use, it appeals to me, they always have the slightly naff sound and when it's a groove, when it actually locks in as a groove, then its fantastic. So, the song "Just Another Story", about going too far, is about people just taking that one step that they shouldn't have done, so that father who comes home; he has spent all his money gambling or he has spent all his money in a bar and he comes home, you know, you can picture it, and he's leery and wants his dinner, and the kids are all backing off because they can smell his breath, and the wife, who is used to this is just staring at the television, you know, and the dinner is not on the table because she has probably taken a couple of pills because she is depressed, you know, and then the dinner is not there. So he smacks her because he has had too much to drink, he didn't mean to... he hits her too hard... fade out. It all went a little bit too far. It could have been so nice but it all went too far.
Then the next verse is the little girl that goes to school, you spend five years teaching your children what you think they should be like, and then they go to school and you lose them. They have outside influences; peer pressure and I have always said this to my kids; "There will be a time when someone is going to say to you; 'Come on. Just try this'" and if you say no - well, if a guy says no, he's a sissy, a mother's boy you know. And you can't do that, the kid won't have that happen to him, so he does it and the whole world is open, anything can happen, you never know... So she is getting good grades, but the peer pressure is starting, too bad; she had it made, she's got to be careful now... and then the kid comes up and says "Come on, try it, it's only a smoke, it ain't gonna kill you" so she takes a toke... again fade out.
The last one is this guy who is quite happy in his warehouse factory job, guys are very nice to him, they take him out, buy him a drink after work, even supplying him with the odd girl he may get lucky with, and if he doesn't see anything wrong with it... then he starts to think "Well we've got the same jobs but I drive a Pinto and these guys are driving an Oldsmobile" or something, you know... why's that? The same job? Then he starts to realise that they are all out there doing illegal stuff, shaking people down as it were, but they have already bought his silence by doing all this stuff for him. So he is in a difficult situation. So to me it is just that little step too far that takes you over the edge and you have got a disaster on your hands. And in a way I think that's true of America you know. Not so much Europe but I think it is true of America. That country is spinning wildly and unless everybody realises they have all got to try and slow it down - and everybody has to realise that - it is just going to spin and spin and spin and become unbearable, because there is so much of that stuff happening.
I mean, when Ahmet Ertegun who is a great, great friend of mine, when he heard that song for the first time -and he has been very involved in this record, like he was with "Face Value", he came over here a couple of times to hear the songs and give me advice and ideas - when he heard it he said. "Everybody knows somebody who is doing that. Everybody knows someone whose child is doing that at school. Everybody knows someone that's going home and there is domestic violence." It is not meant to be a depressing song for me. I am not going to be pious and holier-than-thou, I'm just... with all these titles that write about this kind of stuff I'm not just saying "Here's an idea what do you think of this? Do you agree?" You know; it's all just throwing it out there and seeing if anybody else feels the same way.
INT: "Same Moon". A love song. Tell me about "the love song".
PC: This is "the love song" of the record. Well, I was on tour and everything that had happened, people that know me or that followed what happens to me, they know what we are talking about... that had already happened. I was in a different place, personal life wise, and Orianne would, whenever she could because she was working, she would fly out to the tour to be with me. And it was like three days here, then two weeks, three weeks without seeing each other and then four days there, she would fly to Boston or something for three days, I mean it would be... it was a very intense time for lots of different reasons. The press were hounding everybody, the press were camped in my hotel lobby, the press were following her; her father and grandfather were dying of cancer, and my wife, now my ex-wife, Jill she couldn't take Lily to school because they were outside the house and she was in a terrible state for obvious reasons. Meanwhile the eyes of the world were I felt like this (mimes binoculars) - the song was on those visits. Well, you know, the lyrics are, the lyrics. I would wake up and she would be packing, it would be 7.30 in the morning because she had to get an 8 o'clock flight because she had to get back to Europe... and you know you kind of reached out and... I still feel funny talking about it. But we had this idea, this agreement... we had this idea that when we couldn't be together, at a certain time you could look at the moon if the person, wherever they were, looked at the moon, you would have a sort of connection. And so that's it, that's The Same Moon. Wherever you are, whenever you are, whenever it is; just tell me and we'll look and that's that. And there will be times like there were when you think the days just don't go by fast enough but it will be alright.
I went to see; I was at the premiere of "Lorenzo's Oil" in London. I'm not sure... it wasn't a Prince's Trust premiere.. but I was interested in the movie and I got sent tickets and I went to the premiere. I met Lorenzo's father, the real father backstage before the film started and he is a very nice, warm man. Then I saw the movie and I couldn't believe it; that the person, that Nick Nolte... you have got to know, it was a Hollywood movie.. but at the same time it showed amazing strength and resilience to conquer... the medical world said that nothing could be done but the mother and the father learnt to become doctors so that they could save their son. And I was amazed at this kind of determination. And this kid was great, it was a very moving film, because you felt you knew how you would feel if it was your child, you know. And I saw the movie and I've seen it a couple of times since then when it was on television because Susan Sarandon was fantastic. Nolte was fantastic and the kids were great actors and suddenly I guess it was two and a half years ago now, suddenly out of the blue I got this fax sent to me from Michaella Odone, the mother, she gave me the run down of who she was, as if I didn't know, but she didn't know I'd seen the film even, and she said that Lorenzo had written these lyrics to her and that he had asked, because I guess he listens to music, he's a young teenager, would I put music to his lyrics?
First of all, I was amazed that this had happened because I had actually felt a connection, because I had been so moved by the movie. I had felt a connection with him, I was touched by it, you know. So I looked at the lyrics and because they were based on his life, which had started in Africa, I felt it would fit musically with what I was doing. It wouldn't be out of character with the music I was writing. So, I started to fool around with it and I finished it. I had to trim his words down a little bit, but basically it's his life, in his words to his mother. So it starts off when he was a kid of two or three years old in Italy, and then going, because of his father's job, to Africa where he contracted the disease, and then he describes it as a swarm of locusts, and as dark clouds coming over his life, which was the disease, which strips the nerves, strips the mylar which is the coating of your nerves; strips it from your nerves so you have no control. It's a scary disease. But they have now done so much for the research into this disease and other things, and just recently there was an update on what Lorenzo is doing. He has stabilised. Because the only way to stabilise it was by getting his diet right, they found. Which is why Lorenzo's Oil - they got the right mixture of oils in his body and it was actually a guy in England, an old guy in England, but it is fantastic story, and a very moving story. So I felt that this would be fantastic, to be a part of it. For he touched my life, I would like to touch his life, so the proceeds, the royalties will go to his charity.
I chose "The Times They Are a Changin'" I suppose because there are certain songs you consider to be classics and also maybe have a lot of melody that might not have been brought to the original, although Dylan's original had so much of other things that makes it wonderful apart from the melody. First off; the lyrics are just as relevant today as they were then. There is the first thing. I'd been listening to a lot of Dylan in the car and there are some things that you forget about. "Positively Fourth Street" I have always loved that song. "Times They Are A-Changin'" I have always loved that. "Gates Of Eden" you know, I kept hearing these songs on the "Greatest Hits" records and I thought "Wow, I'd forgotten about that, I love that song". And "Times They Are A-Changin'" I just thought, you know wouldn't it be funny? You know people don't think of me and Adam Ant working together - a completely stupid idea. Me singing a Dylan song - wow, he'd never do that. So I just thought it would be interesting from that point of view.
That's not why I did it. I just thought after I'd done it, "well, this will be strange. I wonder what people will make of this?" But I did the demo just kind of, you know, took a few chances made it up as I went along to see I was going to do it, put bagpipes in, because bagpipes are a very uplifting sort of sound. I love bagpipes you know, but it was just a different take on a song that could have been written yesterday really. All the lyrics, especially you know, as was pointed out to me. with a presidential election... it is actually; "Come on guys, let's get our stuff together" - what I was saying earlier about America in a spin. We've got to sort it out, we've got to get it all together otherwise it's going to be problems, more problems galore. I enjoyed doing it.
I enjoy singing other people's songs. I enjoyed doing "Tomorrow Never Knows" on "Face Value". I did that because I felt the same thing, there was a melody in there that was kind of hidden by all the psychedelia on the track when The Beatles did it, so I took some of that psychedelia but I also tried to bring out more of the tune because I thought it is a great tune as well as a piece of psychedelic art. I could do a whole album of covers. I mean, I know Bowie did it and Bryan Ferry did it a long time ago, and lots of people have done it since then, but I would love to do an album of covers because I could really... there are certain songs you can find... a song like "You Can't Hurry Love" was a song where people... I'm sure that every time somebody plays a Supremes record on the radio "You Keep Me Hanging On" or "Baby Love", you know or... um... there's a handful of huge hits they had, but "You Can't Hurry Love" was overlooked - it was a big hit but... "I used to love this song! Wow!" There are lots of these little gems about that people forget about.
INT: The Big Band first. What was that all about? Tell me about that project?
PC: The Big Band is something I have wanted to do for about thirty years; ever since I heard Buddy Rich and his band back in '66, and I wanted to do it since then and as a drummer it is a wonderful opportunity to stretch yourself and believe me, I had to stretch myself as far as I could go. I had a mountain to climb in terms of I've got a broken wrist here, I had to learn to play again (it's still broken but I can play). I had to learn to read, and I had to write my own charts out because I couldn't read proper music. I had to invent my own phonetic language - but it was the most exciting thing I have ever done. I mean it is something that I will pick up and put down over the next few years. It is not something I will do all the time - it's not possible to do it all the time. So I did a few gigs in the summer in Europe at some of the Jazz festivals and we recorded those and I am sure in the early part of the year there is going to be an album. I hope, I am sure there is because what I have heard sounds great.
There is also a video of the band in Montreux. So we will pick that up and down throughout my career, if you like because you can do that 'til you drop, it is something you don't have to look good while you are doing it, you just have to sit there by the drums. So we will do that and maybe take it to America next year. But that is not to be confused with the other touring I do, which is of course, my Phil Collins solo band, the solo 'artiste' with band tour. We are going out next year to America, we are going to do a reasonable length tour of America and then we are going to have a bit of a break because I'm doing this Tarzan movie for Disney. I am doing the music for that; so that is an ongoing thing, I started nine months ago and I will still be doing it in the Christmas of 1998 until it is actually in the cinemas. Until those films are in the cinemas and it is too late to change anything, it is changing. So I will be doing that in the middle of the year and then later in the year we will be doing a tour of Europe. We are playing everywhere, places where people might think "Oh we saw Phil Collins and the Big Band advertised in Italy, so when hecomes back to Italy he is going to be with the Big Band?" Well, the Big band is something totally separate, that's my little pet project, like Brand X was. It's something I am deadly serious about and it is fantastically exciting to do but nevertheless the tour of America will be touring with the songs that everybody knows and the new album and the tour of Europe the same.
There you have it folks, another interesting look at one of Phil's albums. Thanks again to Annie for providing the disc. Hope you enjoyed it.