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Thread: Why didn't Phil want to continue singing from behind the drum kit?

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    Why didn't Phil want to continue singing from behind the drum kit?

    Watching some early footage of Genesis from Inside Genesis 1970-1975 this evening.. and I always knew Phil sang backup on stage to fill in as well as cover for an out of breath Peter particularly during The Lamb tour. Question is why didn't he just stay behind the kit and sing the songs from there.. I'm sure there are other drummers i.e. Don Henley who manage to pull this off. I recall seeing a interview with Chester where he's asked why did Phil want him to join the band and his answer was "Phil couldn't sing while he was playing drums".. The footage I'm watching right now from 72-73 shows otherwise..

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    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    Watching some early footage of Genesis from Inside Genesis 1970-1975 this evening.. and I always knew Phil sang backup on stage to fill in as well as cover for an out of breath Peter particularly during The Lamb tour. Question is why didn't he just stay behind the kit and sing the songs from there.. I'm sure there are other drummers i.e. Don Henley who manage to pull this off. I recall seeing a interview with Chester where he's asked why did Phil want him to join the band and his answer was "Phil couldn't sing while he was playing drums".. The footage I'm watching right now from 72-73 shows otherwise..
    You'd have to ask Phil for the complete answer.

    But as a drummer, I can tell you that playing drums and singing isn't crazy difficult when doing Levon Helm impressions. Doing Henley impressions is harder. But singing Genesis tunes and playing the drums? Pretty darn difficult that. Could he do it? I bet he could have come close. Would you WANT to? I don't think so. I just don't think he could have sustained the effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zeprogmeister View Post
    Not having a frontman for live shows would not be good.
    Yes, good point. A band needs a front man. Most bands, at least...

  5. #5
    I was drummer and lead singer for my first band. Never again after that. It "drags down" your abilities as a singer and (especially) drummer, at least mine... I often wonder if guitarists, bass players and keyboard players who sing lead might have compromised their abilities, albeit in a lesser way.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by zeprogmeister View Post
    Not having a frontman for live shows would not be good.
    All good points.. Genesis without a front man would really have changed things for sure..

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by zeprogmeister View Post
    Not having a frontman for live shows would not be good.
    Same reason why Hackett suddenly started standing and Rutherford became more animated, as well as the two of them taking turns introducing songs.

    I've been given to believe that singing and drumming onstage can be quite difficult. Drumming by itself is a very physical workout, more so than other instruments. Then you've got to be able to do that while holding steady time, then you have sing on key, remember all the words, etc. Not everybody can be Roger Taylor. (See what I did there)

    And something tells me playing drums on something like Supper's Ready and singing at the same time, might be quite a challenge. Maybe not a Vinnie Colaiuta "playing drums, turning pages fo sheet music and eating sushi ALL AT THE SAME TIME" sized challenge, but I can still imagine Apocalypse In 9/8 being very difficult if you have to assume both roles simultaneously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotron View Post
    Yes, good point. A band needs a front man. Most bands, at least...
    Yeah, pretty much the same thing for Nick D'Virgilio with Spock's Beard (and Jimmy Keegan) after Neal left.

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    Gabriel set a (very strong) precedent for the band to have a front man. They did audition other lead singers before deciding to simply have Collins front the band.

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    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    PFM's drummer has left the kit many times in periods as I recall it.

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    cue: numerous new “PC ruined G” puns … and make of the PC acronym what you will

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    Don't forget that Don Henley didn't sing ALL of the Eagles' songs, and there were acoustic songs that he sang without playing drums. Of course in later years they had an auxiliary drummer to help out.

    In Genesis, Phil had ALL the lead vocals to sing. And anyway, whenever there were extended instrumental passages, he'd be back behind the kit for those.

    Ultimately, the ability to combine the two roles is really unique to each individual. Some people can be excellent singers and instrumentalists but for some reason can't combine the two. Obviously, playing complex music only makes it more difficult.
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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    I'm sure there are other drummers i.e. Don Henley who manage to pull this off.
    Triumph's Gil Moore did as well (on his songs, mostly), mind you he was handling only 1/3 of their songs. I suppose he wrote the drum parts considering he was singning at the same time.

    (I don't know about Henley's share in The Eagles)
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

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    With the way Collins' drumming was so furious from Trick to Duke, I can't imagine he'd want to drum and sing at the same time.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by soundsweird View Post
    I was drummer and lead singer for my first band. Never again after that. It "drags down" your abilities as a singer and (especially) drummer, at least mine... I often wonder if guitarists, bass players and keyboard players who sing lead might have compromised their abilities, albeit in a lesser way.
    That is why I have a lot of respect for Geddy Lee.
    I've once seen a band with a bass-player who also handled keyboards and vocals and his singing suffered from it.

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    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Jack Bruce

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    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Before Chester, the tour drummer was Bill Bruford. Who wouldn't want to simply leave the drumming duties to Bill?
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    Because Phil was a much better drummer for Genesis music, maybe ?

    Bill, though, was the best for KC, no doubt.

  19. #19
    I saw Genesis when Bruford was drumming. It must have been one of the first shows of the tour, because at one point, Phil turned around and tried to show Bill the drum part by sort of "conducting" and "clapping" it out. I want to say it was during "Dance on a Volcano", but I'm not sure at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    Watching some early footage of Genesis from Inside Genesis 1970-1975 this evening.. and I always knew Phil sang backup on stage to fill in as well as cover for an out of breath Peter particularly during The Lamb tour. Question is why didn't he just stay behind the kit and sing the songs from there.. I'm sure there are other drummers i.e. Don Henley who manage to pull this off. I recall seeing a interview with Chester where he's asked why did Phil want him to join the band and his answer was "Phil couldn't sing while he was playing drums".. The footage I'm watching right now from 72-73 shows otherwise..
    A few others that I can think of already not mentioned would be Don Brewer from Grand Funk Railroad and Kelly Keagy from Nightranger ("Sister Christian" was his among others), but like Henley they only sang lead on some songs. Keagy used to come out from behind the drum kit on occasion as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soundsweird View Post
    I saw Genesis when Bruford was drumming. It must have been one of the first shows of the tour, because at one point, Phil turned around and tried to show Bill the drum part by sort of "conducting" and "clapping" it out. I want to say it was during "Dance on a Volcano", but I'm not sure at all.
    That sounds like a surreal moment!
    When I caught the tour at The Beacon Theater "back in New York City" Billy B was just marvelous all around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    A few others that I can think of already not mentioned would be Don Brewer from Grand Funk Railroad and Kelly Keagy from Nightranger ("Sister Christian" was his among others), but like Henley they only sang lead on some songs. Keagy used to come out from behind the drum kit on occasion as well.
    Hey man, nothing tops the difficulty factor like Peter Criss singing "Beth".
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

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    I often wondered if he ever lost concentration during shows by focusing too much on what Chester was doing. Phil was always a consummate professional and it must have been hard for him to not be playing the drums during the live shows.

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    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Because eventually, he'd had his fill.

  25. #25
    Phil was almost a co-lead with Peter during much of the classic run of Genesis albums. As such, I suspect Phil *could* have assumed lead duties while staying behind the kit. However, the need for a front man in most rock bands is obvious. A guitarist or bassist who sings obviously can't jump around or do Daltrey-esque microphone stunts etc., but at least they're out front interacting with the audience.

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