Phil Collins's Injuries - Why?

nocTurnal

Senior Member
Why do you suppose Phil Collins played the way he did for so long? As most of you know, he crushed his vertebrae which affected his hands. Even though the operation was a success fixing his vertebrae, his hands still aren't back to normal. He doesn't know if they'll ever return to normal or not. Many reports have said it's "permanent" but that's not what he Collins said.

In any case, what do you think happened? Did he know of his poor posture and was just stubborn and carried on playing like he did thinking he'll be fine? Surely over 30 years as a professional drummer in a band, drummers had to have approached him and told him about his poor posture on the drumset?!? I haven't seen any interviews where he's been asked a question like this. All these reports just mention what I said in the first paragraph.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
My theory:

Don Henly had similar problems from singing lead and playing drums for so long with the Eagles, which he said came from twisting his neck to sing into the mic from behind the kit. Which is part of the reason Henley stoppled playing drums very often after going solo.

If you look at some older pictures of Phil:



Or in the Abacab video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8WGnxBBgeI

You notice his neck is stretched out and twisted to reach the mic. Very different than sitting there like most drummers do.

Of course, Phil hired other drummers to cover his parts live so he could sing out front without this strain, and at times used headset mics to avoid this issue. So maybe this isn't the cause, or maybe Phil has been struggling with this issue for years and years and went to the hired drummer and headset because his neck had been bothering him for some time.

Either way Phil did sing from behind the drums in this strained manner for years earlier in his career, and continued to do so now and then through out his 40+ year career.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Surely over 30 years as a professional drummer in a band, drummers had to have approached him and told him about his poor posture on the drumset?!?
Would you?

Maybe it's just Melbourne Australia, but in my experience I've never seen a drummer walk up to another drummer (even moreso with one who's made a name for himself) after a gig and pull his playing apart. As far as I can gather, that only happens on forums. In the real world I'm yet to see a guy walk up to another and "try to help" him with grip issues, posture issues, or any other issues unless advice has specifically been sought.

Ask the pro's or the working drummers here, how often they've offered advice without being asked. I'm sure may happen, but it'd be a rareity.
 

KBadd

Silver Member
Hands are effected when nerves are effected. The nerves RULE the lower back and neck and spine etc etc etc.....
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
Phil has always slouched a bit when he plays, more so back in the 70s. I think his neck trouble was most likely the result of slightly bad posture for a very long time. It probably didn't seem that uncomfortable to him until it was too late.

Which is a great cautionary tale for all drummers. Even being a little off balance or a little twisted or straining just a little bit can have serious and perhaps permanent consequences if it goes uncorrected for too long.

What is really sad is I see it all the time with other musicians. There's often too much emphasis on "look" and not enough on feel or comfort when it comes to setting up a drumset. Too many set up based on what their hero's set looks like or how it looks in a catalog instead of taking the time to figure out good placement for themselves.

Even worse it seems that many drummers, when offered constructive criticism about uncomfortable setups, brush it off because they're convinced it's fine without trying an alternative.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
Max Roach once said he was playing at a jam session with a bunch of those legendary types he came up with, and while he was playing, another drummer (one of the greats, but I don't remember which one) came up behind him, put his knee is his back and pulled back his shoulders until he sat up straight. I think you can find the story in a Modern Drummer interview.
 

eddypierce

Senior Member
Max Roach once said he was playing at a jam session with a bunch of those legendary types he came up with, and while he was playing, another drummer (one of the greats, but I don't remember which one) came up behind him, put his knee is his back and pulled back his shoulders until he sat up straight. I think you can find the story in a Modern Drummer interview.
I wonder if it was Jo Jones? He always had beautiful posture behind the kit.

Ed Pierce
 
S

sticks4drums

Guest
I think his biggest problem was snare height. He liked it way too low. One of the first things Freddie Gruber, I hope I spelled that right, told Neil Peart, when Peart approached him for lessons was that Neil's snare was too low. He said you needed to be up on top of the drum, not pounding on it down between your knees.
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
One of the reasons I went to a headset mic was because it was uncomfortable trying to sing into a stationary boom mic while playing. A throne is designed to pivot, but that's hard to do when you have to keep your mouth at a microphone that doesn't move unless you manually move it.

If you watch Abe Laboriel play with McCartney, he sings quite a bit of background vocals using a boom mic. He'll push the boom out of the way whenever he is not singing, and sometimes will move the boom around several times during one song. To me, that's a royal pain in the neck. Literally.
 

nickg

Silver Member
i would think that posture plays a MAJOR role on your legs and back over years time. i could never grasp the "sitting so low your snare is far below your kick" concept.

i know a few drummers with serious back trouble and i can guarantee it's from them sitting so low.
 

dantheman

Member
I just saw the "genesis behind the music - remastered" on VH1 classic and at the end phil said that he was retiring from the music business for health reasons and to raise his family. He then joked about reforming with Genesis after his kids were old enough to drive.
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
i would think that posture plays a MAJOR role on your legs and back over years time. i could never grasp the "sitting so low your snare is far below your kick" concept.

i know a few drummers with serious back trouble and i can guarantee it's from them sitting so low.
I sat in for another drummer once who had the throne so low I felt like I was laying on a lounge chair. I like sitting very high so I can strike the drums downward, and not have to reach up so high to strike the cymbals. I've had on and off shoulder bursitis and elbow tendinitis, so this helps in that regard.
 

KBadd

Silver Member
My snare is set "high" for most drummers....probably. I have no neck or back issues. Why do drummers set the snare so LOW??? DRUMMERS!!! Start lifting weights and do aerobic exercise every week!
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I believe that day-to-day posture was probably, in large part, the culprit, rather than just playing drums. I mean, how many hours do even professional drummers play in a day, a month, or even a year compared to all the other hours they are awake and doing other things? And that's when they are working. Many pros at Phil's level of popularity don't work all year every year, as far as I can tell. Beyond a certain point, they make their money from songwriting, etc, rather than spending hours behind the kit.

Lots of things cause vertebral damage. I doubt drumming was the main cause.
 
W

wy yung

Guest
Phil did have poor posture. But I learned in 09 that nerve damage can occur while sleeping. For over 1 year the right side of my body was numb due to a nerve being trapped in my spine between vertabre. It made playing a very strange experience. I still have problems with it.
 

nocTurnal

Senior Member
Would you?

Maybe it's just Melbourne Australia, but in my experience I've never seen a drummer walk up to another drummer (even moreso with one who's made a name for himself) after a gig and pull his playing apart.
You're absolutely right. It would be rude. But... I was more or less in the frame of mind that Collins must be working with sound techs and maybe even approaches help for certain things.. someone he may know very well... someone he knows could tell him in a roundabout way. I guess my feeling is that to go 40+ years without NO one every saying anything at all.... is hard hard to believe. But I suppose you're right. Maybe no one said anything. Maybe they did, and he was just stubborn. Who knows.
 

larryz

Platinum Member
Reviving this thread(?), and I'm about 1 year late in listening and reviewing his latest release, "Going Back" (2010), but I really enjoy it and the Motown/Funk Brothers vibe and was surprised to see that Phil drummed on every track despite his injuries, etc. Often dismissed by critics as a Top 40 commercial hog, I have a different and more favorable perspective on Phil than I did years ago. Especially after viewing some of his drumming videos on YouTube. Plus how can you not like someone who's a Gretsch player? Hope he is getting better and gets back on the road sometime in the future....
 
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