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Phil Collins in London
Image: picture-alliance/AP/V. Le Caer

Phil Collins releases autobiography, gears up for comeback

Bettina Baumann kbm
October 24, 2016

In his new autobiography, "Not Dead Yet," Phil Collins reveals how alcohol consumed him over the past decade. But now he's back on stage, with a dozen concerts planned next summer.


Phil Collins turned up at London's Royal Albert Hall last week to talk about his new autobiography sporting grey stubble, a brown baseball cap pulled low over his eyes and a black cane.

"Not Dead Yet" is a telling title for the book, which is being released Monday in Germany as well.

Phil Collins playing drums in 2005
Collins is pictured here at the drumset in 2005 - the year he withdrew from musicImage: picture-alliance/dpa/T. Bozoglu

Visibly weak, it was clear at the press event that Phil Collins' 45-year career has taken its toll. Still, he remained friendly while replying to questions about his health, speaking honestly and in detail, with a touch of regret in his voice.

Collins makes no bones about his numerous ailments and spoke openly about having no feeling in his right foot, his spine that's being held together with six screws, and the injured nerve in his left arm, which keeps him from playing drums.

Nevertheless, Phil Collins wants back on stage. He clearly communicated that wish in London's Royal Albert Hall last week - the very venue where he gave his debut performance in 1985.

In June 2017, the musician has 12 concerts lined up - five each in London and Cologne and two in Paris.

Lonely nights in New York City

It's been nearly 10 years since Phil Collins' last tour. The 65-year-old has had a rough patch in the meantime; the title of his autobiography, "Not Dead Yet," refers to the fact that his excessive alcohol consumption nearly cost him his life.

In a chapter dedicated to the topic, he recalls the lonely nights he spent in the Peninsula Hotel in New York while he was working on his musical "Tarzan" in 2006. He would go to Bar Centrale on 46th Street or plunder the mini-bar in his hotel room, he confessed.

Though he's since managed to kick the habit, he liked all kinds of alcohol at the time, he said - anything that eases the pain.

The pain he was talking about was that inflicted by his third divorce, finalized in 2008, which really hit him hard. Since then, however, he's gotten back together with Orianne Cevey and they live together with their two sons in Miami.

But Phil Collins doesn't only talk about his marriage problems in his 500-page autobiography. He also brings up his success with his band Genesis, tours with them and on his own, a film shoot with The Beatles, recording sessions with Tina Turner, Eric Clapton and Adele, his seven Grammys, the Oscar he won for the score to the Disney film "Tarzan," and much more.

Comeback thanks to Collins' kids

Looking at Phil Collins now, it's hard to imagine how he will manage his 12 concerts next year. He says it's his children who motivate him. They got him to get out and try new things.

"I want to make my kids proud," he said.

Collins' 15-year-old son Nicholas will be joining him as a drummer on the summer tour next year. He already proved himself in August at the inauguration of the new Arthur Ashe Stadium during the US Open. At the event, Phil Collins celebrated his big live comeback and performed classic favorites like "In the Air Tonight" and "Easy Lover."

Click through our playlist featuring 20 hits from Phil Collins and Genesis:


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