I didn’t get to show this here story enough love when it came out. I’m a huge fan Phil Collins’ early solo work. I wasn’t even born and when his debut solo set Face Value came out. Thanks to Lite FM and classic rock radio stations, I knew of the bangers—“In the Air Tonight” and such. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t do a Genesis/Phil Collins deep dive until I was in college about 10 years ago. I bumped into a Genesis documentary and had that, “Oh, these guys were the shit!” moment and bought a Genesis greatest hits album and Face Value. Clearly, I was late to the party. But damn, I enjoyed the hell out of it anyway.
I’d later find out that the genre he and the bunch were classified under is Progressive Rock. But what I gravitated towards was the subtle soulfulness of Phil’s stuff. I could always hear something a little deeper in his voice and instrumentation. “I Missed Again” has horns that, frankly, are Black as hell (something else I’d later find out is that it is Earth, Wind & Fire’s brass team blaring on it). Really, I could go on about how much I love Phil’s albums. However, I’m going to land this plane and get to my point.
Late last year I saw that Phil was re-releasing a remastered Face Value, also adding demos and live versions of some of the tracks. So I jumped into my email and shot Billboard a pitch to talk to Phil about just that. And they were into it!
“He said, ‘No, man. You’re white.’ I said, ‘I know. But you don’t have to put my face on the cover.’”
Talking to the man was a joy. What was supposed to be a 15-minute chat inflated into an hour-long conversation. We talked about the crummy relationship that inspired the album, the love he found while recording and touched on several other subjects as well. But one of the most interesting moments was when he told me a little story about trying to get his record label to have “I Missed Again” played on Black radio. His label essentially told him, “You’re white,” patted him on the ass, and sent him out the door. Hilarious and disappointing at the same time. “I Missed Again” was a jammer.
Check out the Q&A. Enjoy.