As the son of drumming and pop icon Phil Collins, Simon Collins grew up with music in his genes. But one listen to his impressive new solo album, U-Catastrophe, and you’ll realize that Collins the younger is a talented artist and drummer in his own right.
Simon picked up the drumsticks at a very early age due to his father’s inspiration, and songwriting wasn’t far behind. When asked whether comparisons to his father, as a singer and as a drummer, are upsetting, Collins answers, “The only time it’s upsetting is when people can’t look or hear past that, and see that I have my own artistic capabilities. Our voices are undeniably similar. And I do what I do because of him, directly. I grew up on the road and I grew up listening to all of his records. Although I was rehearsing a lot to other bands when I first started playing drums, really, in essence, I learned to play by drumming along to his records and playing behind Chester Thompson and my dad during the drum duets at Genesis concerts.
U-Catastrophe is Simon’s first release in the United States. For the project, he teamed with Kevin Churko, who’s known for his association with legendary producer Mutt Lange. Kevin had them record each vocal line separately, which Collins said was an arduous process. But he also says the plan allowed him to release his passion more effectively. “Every word has so much energy, conviction, and power,” he says, admitting that the year was a tough one–and that the album reflects that. “It’s about my own personal uphill battle that I’ve been dealing with, and the climb back out of the trenches over the last few years.”
One of the album’s tracks is an amazing drum duet with his father called “The Big Bang.” Interestingly, father and son didn’t record their parts at the same time. “My part was recorded in Kevin’s dining room,” Simon relates, “miked everywhere we possibly could for that big drum room sound. I wrote the arrangement myself, recorded my drums, and then sent it in an email to my dad. He then recorded his parts at the Tone Factory.
“There are some fills on the track that my Dad taught me,” Simon goes on, “and that was great fun. And now, it’s fun to listen to the song to try to decipher who is who.”
(photo by Joseph Cultice)