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Exclusive: Phil Collins Admits Suicidal Thoughts

Collins also tells Rolling Stone that he has no desire to return to pop music

November 9, 2010 6:13 PM ET
Exclusive: Phil Collins Admits Suicidal Thoughts
Photograph by Mattia Zoppellaro

In the new issue of Rolling Stone, on stands in the digital archives this Friday, Phil Collins says he believes that he may have lived past lives — and that he's contemplated suicide. The reclusive singer — who hasn't released an album of new material in nearly ten years — took writer Erik Hedegaard into his surprisingly modest home in Switzerland and explained that most of his time is now spent working on his gigantic collection of artifacts from the Alamo and raising his two young sons from his last marriage. Decades of criticism have taken their toll, and Collins says he has little desire to create more music beyond his new disc of Motown covers, Going Back. "I sometimes think I'm going to write this Phil Collins character out of the story," the singer says. "Phil Collins will just disappear or be murdered in some hotel bedroom, and people will say, 'What happened to Phil?' And the answer will be, 'He got murdered, but, yeah, anyway, let's carry on.' That kind of thing."

Genesis: A History in Photos

Other highlights from the article:

• Collins has noticed glowing, semitransparent light orbs in a series of photos he took at the Alamo. "It's paranormal energy," he explains, nothing that a psychic recently told him he fought at the fort in a previous lifetime. "I don't want to sound like a weirdo. I'm not Shirley MacLaine, but I'm prepared to believe. You've seen the pictures. You can't deny them, so therefore it's possible that I was there in another life."

• A neck injury has left him unable to hold drum sticks, sign his signature or even (at times) wipe himself in the bathroom. "I was going to stop drumming anyway," he says. "I had stopped. I don't miss it."

• Collins admits that he's had suicidal thoughts in recent years. "I wouldn't blow my head off," he says. "I'd overdose or do something that didn't hurt. But I wouldn't do that to the children. A comedian who committed suicide in the Sixties left a note saying, 'Too many things went wrong too often.' I often think about that."

Related:
Phil Collins' Motown Road Show Brings Soul Classics to NYC
Phil Collins on Overcoming Nerve Damage, the Future of Genesis

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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