By Sam Bennett, OBU-FM Podcast Host and Staff Writer
October 3, 2023
We’re all familiar with the concept of a family business. That concept usually consists of a local restaurant or shop of some sort. However, what if the family business is selling out arenas around the globe as a member of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted band? That’s exactly the kind of question that someone like Nic Collins, son of Phil Collins, had the answer for in an episode of the OBU-FM podcast.
Nic Collins began playing drums for his father in 2017. At the age of 16, Nic filled in for Phil during the “Not Dead Yet Tour,” which marked Phil’s return to the stage after a short hiatus. Nic performed alongside his father on hits like “In the Air Tonight,” “Sussudio” and “You’ll Be in My Heart” night after night from 2017 to 2019. However, he would eventually graduate to joining his father’s band, Genesis, on their final farewell tour. Kicking off in Birmingham, U.K. on September 20, 2021, Nic found himself living out his dreams. “Honestly, I had a lot of fun. I mean, obviously, since I started off drumming for my dad and his solo band, it felt like a nice progression,” Collins said. “I felt that I kind of needed to do that first before I could do the Genesis thing. And so, you know, it definitely felt big… bigger, at least.”
As most sons do, Nic looked up to his father throughout his childhood. Nic’s heroic view of his father only grew stronger when he realized that he wanted to be a drummer. He emphasized that his dad never pushed him toward a music career in any way and that it happened organically. While honing his drumming skills, he quickly began studying his father’s technique by listening to his large body of work. “I’m super grateful and thankful for the opportunity to just be on the road with them and to play those songs that I grew up listening to and just getting to kind of represent some of my dad’s famous parts,” Collins said. “With how long I was listening to it growing up, it was just really special to be a part of it.”
As a teenager, Nic dove headfirst into the professional music scene, starting his own band called Better Strangers, while performing around the world with his father. He played on his father’s solo tour for a number of years before playing with Genesis. He makes note of the differences between the two. “When Genesis asked me to play… just because it was a band, you’re not just going based off one person’s approval. Now, you’re working for a group, and yeah, it was lots of fun,” Collins said. “Honestly, they’re great guys, and they welcomed me with open arms.”
Genesis’s “The Last Domino? Tour” was historic for its record-breaking ticket sales, as well as it marking the official farewell for the band. Although, Collins explains how it almost never came to fruition. “I’m just glad we got to do it, honestly. Because for a while with COVID, it just looked like it wasn’t gonna happen. You know, it just kept getting pushed back. It was just wondering if it was ever gonna get on the road,” says Collins. He discusses how Genesis, a band known for the very intentional thematic elements in their shows, implemented subjects like the pandemic into the visual elements of certain songs. “I remember the first time we took the set to production rehearsals, and at this point, it would’ve been a year before we ever took it on the road,” Collins said. “Regarding ‘Land of Confusion,’ I remember the visuals they had in the back were very about COVID, and all of that stuff. There was toilet paper coming down, people in masks, and I remember watching it for the first time and thinking that it was a bit intense. It was almost like they were trying to lay out a political message or something, but that’s the nature of that song too. But it was a great reaction. So, I was really happy to be a part of it,” he explains.
Collins discussed how assuming the drumming duties for the final Genesis tour allowed him to develop relationships with the other members- past and present. While he enjoyed developing friendships with Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks, he also appreciated getting the chance to meet and hang out with the original frontman of Genesis, Peter Gabriel.
Now that Genesis has said their final farewell and Nic Collins’s father is officially retired from performing, Collins looks forward to working on more music with his own band, Better Strangers. However, he deems working with Genesis as “the gig of a lifetime,” and he hopes for similar opportunities in the future. You can currently catch Nic on tour with Mike Rutherford’s band, Mike and the Mechanics.
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