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Phil Collins Talks Frontman Transition in Genesis ‘Sum of the Parts’ Preview

“I didn’t want to not be the drummer,” Collins says in a clip from the Showtime documentary. “This is what I did. ‘This is my territory”

In 1975, prog-rock legends Genesis lost their dynamic, costume-wearing frontman, Peter Gabriel. And though they held auditions for a new vocalist, they ultimately realized the best replacement, Phil Collins, was sitting behind the drum kit all along. This is an essential turning point in the band’s story – and it’s the focus of the above clip, a preview of the documentary Genesis: Sum of the Parts, which airs Friday, October 10th on Showtime.

“I didn’t want to not be the drummer,” Collins says in the video, which premiered this week at Radio.com. “This is what I did. ‘This is my territory’. . . As far as I can remember, we did revisit some of the tapes and thought, ‘Is there really nobody that we’ve heard?’ And we decided that there wasn’t.”

The biggest question mark, notes manager Tony Smith, was whether Collins’ expressive voice packed enough range and power to fill the massive void left behind by Gabriel. But the drummer-turned-frontman says he remembers “nothing but good vibes from the audience.”

“They wanted this to work,” he says. “They didn’t compare me with Pete – I was one of the guys in the band coming forward, and I’d been there all along.”

Gabriel, meanwhile, maintains that he had complete faith in Genesis’ capabilities during this difficult transition. “I think I had more confidence in the band being able to be successful than they did initially,” he says.

Genesis: Sum of the Parts – which aired earlier this month on the BBC under the name Together and Apart  – traces the band’s sonic development from prog-rockers to pop-rock sensations, along with spending time on individual members’ solo careers. But guitarist Steve Hackett recently spoke out against the project on his Facebook page, calling it “a biased account of Genesis history” that ignored his solo work. 

“It does not deliver the theme of Together and Apart,” he continued. “In interview I spoke at length as much about my solo career as my time in Genesis, but was not given any editorial involvement. Whilst the documentary’s sister project, the R-KIVE box set represents us all equally, the documentary does the opposite. I know the documentary will soon be on sale via various outlets, but I won’t be selling this via my own website.”

A DVD release of the documentary is scheduled for November 18th. The recently released three-disc R-Kive compilation compiles Genesis classics, along with three tracks from each member’s solo discography.

In This Article: Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins

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