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Phil Collins on faux retirement, Genesis reunion rumours and working with Adele

Singer Phil Collins poses for photographers during a photo call to promote his upcoming tour and book 'Not Dead Yet' in London, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. A few years ago, Phil Collins told everyone he was easing into retirement so he could take care of his health and reconnect with family.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Vianney Le Caer/Invision
October 30, 2016 - 8:38 AM

TORONTO - A few years ago, Phil Collins told everyone he was easing into retirement so he could take care of his health and reconnect with family.

But as time wore on, it became abundantly clear that saying goodbye to his influential music career wouldn't be so easy.

Between his role as the frontman of Genesis and a solo run that sometimes eclipsed the band, Collins has racked up more than his share of unforgettable hits.

With Genesis he had the likes of "Invisible Touch" and "In Too Deep." And his solo career began with the iconic "In The Air Tonight," which was featured prominently in the pilot for TV's "Miami Vice." He followed that with a steady flow of gold-record hits including "You Can't Hurry Love," "Against All Odds (Take A Look at Me Now)," "Easy Lover," "Sussudio," "A Groovy Kind of Love" and "Another Day in Paradise."

Throwing it all away for a quieter life in retirement didn't come as naturally as he hoped. This year, a series of album re-issues arrived on shelves, a 2017 European comeback tour began to form, and his memoir "Not Dead Yet" has just been released.

"I learned that I should never say never," the British singer said in a recent phone interview from New York.

Admittedly, Collins always had trouble saying "No" to attractive creative opportunities. Throughout his new book, he faces up to a few stark truths, in particular, that he often sidelined his family life in favour of projects that seemed too good to pass up.

"I'm much better at it now than I used to be," the 65-year-old performer says. "I'm liable to say 'No' to anything right now, I'm so tired."

And yet Collins still couldn't turn down what's billed as a limited tour next summer. Fifteen dates will stretch through most of June with multiple sold-out shows at London's Royal Albert Hall, as well as concerts in Cologne, Germany and Paris.

"That's it, as far as I'm concerned," he adds.

Except, never say never.

He's also talked about playing more shows in South America, which could lead to a few North American tour dates.

None of that is official at this point, and neither are the rumours that he could reunite with Genesis one day.

"There's always speculation about Genesis. I don't know what to say anymore," he says.

"Throughout (writing) the book I kept coming back to how much I missed the guys and how much I think of them as great, great friends. There's always a possibility (to reunite) ... but there are no plans, believe me."

Writing a memoir gave Collins the opportunity to take it all in: the fame, his pop-chart fortunes and personal failures. He has seven chart-topping singles in the U.S., three dissolved marriages and lost time with his children, including his Canadian daughter Joely and son Simon.

"It's easy to confront your successes," he says. "It's a little bit harder to admit to and confront where you've failed."

But Collins felt it was necessary to tell his side of the story after he felt a 1997 unauthorized biography, featuring interviews with friends and family, missed the mark.

"I didn't think it was very good," he says. "It was a somewhat inaccurate look at my life and I just wanted to tell things the way I remember them. The way — as far as I'm concerned — they happened."

Collins says researching his past forced him to reflect on where he went wrong. Years of gruelling tour schedules didn't seem quite so bad at the time, but now he sees how they left precious few days of family time.

In between the hard truths, Collins leaves plenty of room in "Not Dead Yet" for colourful anecdotes about his career, his assessment of changes within the music industry, and a few encounters with the super-famous.

One of the funniest scenarios features Cher as a passenger on a cross-Atlantic flight. Collins is headed to Live Aid, and it seems the huge 1985 charity event is totally off the radar of the costumed pop star. She asks Collins if he can score her a last-minute spot on the lineup.

Collins also recalls the time Princess Diana pulled up in her BMW to say hello and then proclaimed that she'd just had a colonoscopy, a treatment she highly recommended he try himself. Collins says he was surprised by her candour.

But it's a brief meeting with Adele that offers Collins a taste of what could've been.

The two musicians entertained the possibility of him adding his touch to a song in the running for her third album. Despite some tinkering between the artists, the track quickly became a low priority on the new mother's busy calendar.

Collins would still like to work with Adele one day.

"The gentlemanly thing to do would be to wait for the invitation," he says.

"She's a bit of a ghost, Adele. Even people that work with her regularly say she comes and goes and does things at her own speed."

Collins adds that even though he hasn't written anything for the singer, he would never turn her down.

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Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version had the incorrect title for "Not Dead Yet."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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