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Phil Collins on Overcoming Nerve Damage, Future of Genesis

March 25, 2010 3:35 PM ET

Phil Collins is putting the finishing touches on a new Motown covers collection despite suffering severe nerve damage to his hands that has made drumming nearly impossible. "The first time I picked up the drum sticks after my neck surgery, they flew across the room because I couldn't grip them," he says. "When I play, I've had to tape the sticks to my hand. It's like wearing a condom. It's very strange. It really cramps your style."

The nerve damage has made more than just drumming difficult for the 59-year-old musician. "I can't let go of the spoon or the knife when I eat," he tells RS. "I can't open a car door. I won't get gruesome with you, but there's a lot of things I can't do. I'm left handed. I'm having an operation soon and there's a good chance of it improving over time."

Chapter & Verse: photos from Genesis' oral history.

Collins' medical problem makes another Genesis reunion unlikely. "He has to play the drums and play some quite complicated things," says Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks. "It's one of the many reasons it won't happen." But Collins says he still hopes to one day perform again with the Peter Gabriel-lead lineup of Genesis. "My hands are way down to picking the order of that possibility," he says. "Three years ago I didn't know I'd be in this position and three years from now it may not be like this. I think the main thing is Peter's schedule and the speed he works anyways." Banks agrees, noting, "I think if it we were to do The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway there's always multimedia stuff that makes it possible now. It would be opening a huge can of worms, not just musical but getting out and playing it."

In the meantime, the band is overjoyed to be one of the few progressive rock bands inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Read our full report from this year's induction ceremony.) "Whoever is deciding these things, obviously they change," Collins says. "Now there's obviously a couple of people there saying 'Guys we've ignored all this other stuff' which is why you've got Abba and the Hollies and us. Very diverse. Jimmy Cliff is somewhere in there. Much more diverse than just rock & roll I think this year. "

Relive the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in photos.

Related Stories:
Peter Gabriel Says He Won't Reunite With Genesis at Rock Hall Inductionbr> • Genesis' Rutherford and Banks Reflect on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductionbr> • The State of Genesis: Collins and Co. Talk Peter Gabriel, Future Projects and the Alamo

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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