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Phil Collins Remembers the Alamo
February 20, 2010 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Musician and actor Phil Collins has a passion for the Alamo.
posted by theperfectcrime (74 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, why couldn't he just have evaporated after Wind and Wuthering?
posted by vorfeed at 6:40 PM on February 20, 2010


Al-al-alamo!
posted by mpbx at 6:41 PM on February 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


Collins, who is British, said he has “hundreds” of cannonballs, documents and other artifacts from the Alamo, possibly the largest private collection anywhere, in the basement of his home in Switzerland.

I never would have guessed.
posted by marxchivist at 6:42 PM on February 20, 2010


OK.

Somehow there's a George Lopez routine in here.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:46 PM on February 20, 2010


Could not have imagined a more strange story tonight. Thanks!
posted by cavalier at 6:48 PM on February 20, 2010


Clearly, there's some link between Collins' Alamo obsession and a newfound love on his part for Deep Space 9.
posted by lumensimus at 6:52 PM on February 20, 2010


"Singer Phil Collins said his life now revolves around the Alamo."

Can't be healthy.
posted by double bubble at 6:56 PM on February 20, 2010


It's gotta be awkward if he's ever in the same room with Ozzy.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 6:58 PM on February 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Collins, who is British, said he has “hundreds” of cannonballs, documents and other artifacts from the Alamo, possibly the largest private collection anywhere, in the basement of his home in Switzerland.

I wonder what made him go with the basement. There's no basement at the Alamo.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:58 PM on February 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


Who would have thought that a prog rock drummer might someday transform into an obsessive nerd?
posted by Casimir at 7:01 PM on February 20, 2010 [18 favorites]


Wait- I should have said metamorphose.
Mods?
posted by Casimir at 7:03 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just going to sit here and blink a lot, to give myself time to process this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:06 PM on February 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Alamo's place in Texas lore fascinates me. They were fighting to remain a part of Mexico. The idea of today's Texas as part of Mexico doesn't sit comfortably with your average Dallasite. I am descended from the large German population that was drawn to Texas in the years post-Alamo when Texas broke it ties with Mexico. They actively supplanted the Mexican upper class resulting in today's second-class status for the people who populated Texas for years. It's an interesting analogy to the Palestinian/Israeli situation.
posted by double bubble at 7:10 PM on February 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Phil Collins was a damn good drummer in his day.
posted by herodotus at 7:11 PM on February 20, 2010


Oh lord, oh lord, oh lord
posted by woodway at 7:12 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Who would have thought that a prog rock drummer might someday transform into an obsessive nerd?"

Funny, I always thought of him as a nerd rocker.
posted by double bubble at 7:16 PM on February 20, 2010


double bubble, I think you missed some sarcasm there...
posted by vorfeed at 7:18 PM on February 20, 2010


There's always a chance I missed something.
posted by double bubble at 7:19 PM on February 20, 2010


Eerily, Peter Garbiel is obsessed with Battle of San Jacinto, and has dozens of Santa's Anna's prosthetic cork legs.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:19 PM on February 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


.....It probably says something about how quirky Peter Gabriel is that I honestly am not sure whether Astro Zombie is kidding or not.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:23 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Alamo's place in Texas lore fascinates me. They were fighting to remain a part of Mexico.

I'm pretty sure that's completely wrong.
posted by Bonzai at 7:33 PM on February 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I prefer this to his prior approach to Mexico. The music video is so racist it appears to have disappeared from YouTube.
posted by punkfloyd at 7:35 PM on February 20, 2010


I'm pretty sure that's completely wrong.

Truth is stranger than fiction, but nothing is as great as lies.
posted by The White Hat at 7:45 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Illegal Alien is a satire. It may be a bad song, but the fact that the satire is lost on people who want to say "racist" is perpetually sad.
posted by herodotus at 8:13 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Out of all the former members of Genesis, I definitely would have pegged Collins as "most likely to buy fake memorabilia, falling hook line and sinker for the made-up provenance."
posted by muddgirl at 8:23 PM on February 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reading that the first time I read "Musician and actor Phil Collins has passed at the Alamo."

I never could have predicted my level of alarm.
posted by cmoj at 8:46 PM on February 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reading that the first time I read "Musician and actor Phil Collins has passed at the Alamo." I never could have predicted my level of alarm.

Ozzy Osbourne, below the battlement, with a full bladder. Game.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:54 PM on February 20, 2010


he saw actor Fess Parker portray Davy Crockett

probably my favorite childhood film
posted by needsnoprosecutor at 8:57 PM on February 20, 2010


Well, he has a built in ability, to buy everything he sees - and now it seems he's falling, falling for it.

He seems to have a visible crutch.
posted by ilana at 9:26 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I now have the picture of a bunch of somewhat inebriated Mefites from San Antonio and surrounding areas enjoying the show he's narrating the introduction for as part of a meetup.
posted by immlass at 9:30 PM on February 20, 2010


Rich people are so weird.
posted by serazin at 9:50 PM on February 20, 2010


Oddly enough, Collins' obsession with the Alamo came after an embarrassing moment which he now refers to as "the basement incident".
posted by Spatch at 10:11 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


So Collins knows that the white people at the Alamo were actually fighting to preserve their right to own slaves, right?
posted by Clay201 at 11:20 PM on February 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Rich people are so weird.

Still a good drummer though. Live show has a certain flare as well. Widescreen recommended.
posted by philip-random at 11:33 PM on February 20, 2010


yes that's true philip-random, but you are missing the part where he's a famous pop star so metafilter has to hate him without really knowing anything about his work.
posted by herodotus at 12:35 AM on February 21, 2010


I heard there was one guy at the Alamo who was going to get killed and then another guy could have saved him but didn't.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:42 AM on February 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


i killed a bear when i was only 3.
posted by herodotus at 1:14 AM on February 21, 2010


Remember the Alamo!

Cause nobody remembers Phil Collins.

[NOT PHILL COLLINSIST]
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:43 AM on February 21, 2010


double bubble: They were fighting to remain a part of Mexico.

What? Who is they? Is this supposed to be trollbait?

So what were Santa Ana and his forces doing in Texas? Trying to convince the settlers there to secede from Mexico? Last I checked, it was a Mexican force that attacked the defenders of the Alamo. I think you've gotten your history a little mixed up, but I'm always willing to learn something new.
posted by syzygy at 3:45 AM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember reading a while back that Collins is living abroad from the UK until a Conservative government is re-elected into parliament. This is by far the best reason I have heard to take another look at Brown's policies... "Vote Labour or Phil Collins come back!" heheh.
Now I know where he is and what he is doing so thank you.
posted by Monkeymoo at 5:20 AM on February 21, 2010


From the Illegal Alien "satire":

...the second stanza of the bridge — in which the immigrant suggestively offers sexual favours from his sister in exchange for admittance across the border.

I can't imagine anybody listening to this and thinking to themselves, "What wonderful satire!"
posted by punkfloyd at 5:40 AM on February 21, 2010


you are missing the part where he's a famous pop star so metafilter has to hate him without really knowing anything about his work.

Ah, but you are missing the part where he makes bleeding-heart songs about homelessness and other social ills then fucks off to Switzerland to avoid paying the taxes that would actually help address those issues.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:25 AM on February 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


It probably says something about how quirky Peter Gabriel is that I honestly am not sure whether Astro Zombie is kidding or not.

Astro Zombie is never not kidding.

except when he isn't
posted by deliquescent at 7:01 AM on February 21, 2010


rom the Illegal Alien "satire":

...the second stanza of the bridge — in which the immigrant suggestively offers sexual favours from his sister in exchange for admittance across the border.

I can't imagine anybody listening to this and thinking to themselves, "What wonderful satire!"


punk floyd, the song's not a successful parody (I cringe at it too), but it was almost certainly intended to be a parody. The songwriters of Genesis, who by the way are not American (perhaps this somewhat explains their insensitivity to Mexican-American relations), have often included a satirical or novelty-type song on each album. As other Genesis fans familiar with the band's song lyrics and themes going back to the early 1970's (e.g. 1974's "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" rock opera based on a young Puerto Rican protagonist) can tell you, Genesis is hardly a right-wing standard bearer.
posted by applemeat at 7:17 AM on February 21, 2010


Ah, but you are missing the part where he makes bleeding-heart songs about homelessness and other social ills then fucks off to Switzerland

Ah, but you are missing the part where he chooses to live in a neutral country and voluntarily gives lots of money directly to organizations that help address such issues instead of paying taxes into a government that would just use his money to help the US invade and wreck various countries, and where the songs themselves help to raise awareness and money for such causes.

You could play this game all night like a tedious session of Pong. Better to stick to the story: a guy has a hobby, like most guys do, only this guy has more pocket money than you do, so he can afford to spend a bit more on his hobby.
posted by pracowity at 7:22 AM on February 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Applemeat. I understand. Such a fine line between stupid and clever.
posted by punkfloyd at 7:40 AM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stephen Tobolowsky has some wonderful words about that Crockett flick on vol 2 of the Tobolowsky Files.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:02 AM on February 21, 2010


I now have the picture of a bunch of somewhat inebriated Mefites from San Antonio and surrounding areas enjoying the show he's narrating the introduction for as part of a meetup.

As close as yer gonna get, so far.

posted by The Whelk at 8:03 AM on February 21, 2010


This is almost as startling as the revelation that Ernest T. Bass has a passion for interpretive dance.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:15 AM on February 21, 2010


Ah, but you are missing the part where he chooses to live in a neutral country and voluntarily gives lots of money directly to organizations that help address such issues instead of paying taxes into a government that would just use his money to help the US invade and wreck various countries, and where the songs themselves help to raise awareness and money for such causes.

A fair point, so far as it goes. I still think Phil Collins could afford to do the good stuff he does and also not avoid paying UK taxes like everyone else has to, the overwhelming majority of which (fascinating PDF link) funds schools, hospitals, pensions and social benefits.

I certainly don't begrudge him his hobby.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:27 AM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


metafilter has to hate him without really knowing anything about his work.

How could any human being over age 30 fail to know something about Phil Collins' work? I'm not a specialist, but I'm very familiar with Genesis - early to late - and I certainly know all Phil's more successful singles. Some are quite catchy!

But you're right, I have knee jerk hate for the super rich because I think they lead unconscionable lives, and additionally, I find his music mostly quite dull and his "socially conscious" lyrics trite, and yes I find it somewhere between bizarre and amusing that he now spends his time obsessively buying up Alamo memorabilia, given the history of the Alamo.

"Rich people are so weird" is in part, for me, shorthand for, "Perhaps this type of obsessive attempt to purchase the entire history of - what - Texas "independence"? is a subconscious attempt to fill the void inevitably created when such outrageous wealth and fame leaves you unable to connect with the real world."
posted by serazin at 8:49 AM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Alamo's place in Texas lore fascinates me. They were fighting to remain a part of Mexico.

Texas public schools?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:54 AM on February 21, 2010


They were fighting to remain a part of Mexico.

Misremember the Alamo!
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:59 AM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actor?
posted by cjorgensen at 9:10 AM on February 21, 2010



yes that's true philip-random, but you are missing the part where he's a famous pop star so metafilter has to hate him without really knowing anything about his work


Who could possibly have missed Phil Collins along the way? Whether it was the raw, natural food of Genesis, the well-marketed, whole-grain/whole-wheat/enriched white descention Phil Collins solo career or the high-fructose discount cola that was Tarzan, every human being not hooked to a feeding tube has tasted Collins at least once since the early 80's.
posted by Hiker at 9:13 AM on February 21, 2010


There's one thing I definitely don't understand about Phil Collins' work though: can someone please explain what the hell Su-Sussudio means?
posted by serazin at 9:14 AM on February 21, 2010


can someone please explain what the hell Su-Sussudio means?

Well, in theory it's a woman's name.

But to really understand it, you have to get into Collins' songwriting technique, which involves setting up a drum track and then sitting at the piano and banging out chords and singing glossolalia-style lyrics as he comes up with a melody and rhythm for the song, all the while recording. It's only later that he goes back and puts actual words into the song. Often the final lyrics contain phrases which came out "by accident" during the fake lyric stage ("I wish it would rain down" is an example of this), or sometimes the nonsense syllables pass through unchanged. Sussudio is an example of this.
posted by hippybear at 9:25 AM on February 21, 2010


While plausible, this explanation is not as amusing as I had hoped.
posted by serazin at 9:27 AM on February 21, 2010


There's one thing I definitely don't understand about Phil Collins' work though: can someone please explain what the hell Su-Sussudio means?

It's a tricky one, to be sure, and scholars are divided. Wooly bully, insist the noveltists. Wooly bully, wooly bully, wooly bully. Watch me now, hey, watch it.

More recent scholarship, however - the tutti-fruttist school - lists Su-Su-Sussodio as a loose synonym for a-whop-bop-a-loo-wop, a-wop-bam-boo. (And please, don't get them started on the proper transliteration of that richardist root phrase.) The noveltists are particularly outraged at the mere suggestion of Phil Collins as a legitimate heir to the tradition of Little Richard.

All agree, in any case - and here I'm quoting from the Take A Look At Me Now Subclause of the Universal Declaration on Listeners' Rights, aka the "Muzak Clause" - that everything Phil Collins has done since parting ways with Peter Gabriel has constituted "an increasing affront to the human auditory system that is indefensible in the aggregate and should be removed from the airwaves in the name of mental liberty." While acknowledging Starship's "We Built This City" as the most grievous '80s crime by a formerly respectable recording artist, the declaration's authors suggest that the volume and deepening excrementality of Collins' output, particularly combined with its mounting pretenses to social value (viz. "Another Day in Paradise"), make it at least as worthy of consideration for prosecution at the International Music Court.
posted by gompa at 9:33 AM on February 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Cool. I love this state, and so do others.
posted by Senator at 9:38 AM on February 21, 2010


Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. Sabrina, remove your dress. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Sabrina, why don't you, uh, dance a little. Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I've heard in rock. Christy, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your asshole. Phil Collins' solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like In the Air Tonight and Against All Odds. Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it. But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group, than as a solo artist, and I stress the word artist. This is Sussudio, a great, great song, a personal favorite.
posted by Senator at 9:40 AM on February 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I liked Collins on Miami Vice; I really think he could have turned into a great character actor, but, then, we already have a Bob Hoskins.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:42 AM on February 21, 2010


Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual.

Who let Patrick Bateman into this thread?

yes that's true philip-random, but you are missing the part where he's a famous pop star so metafilter has to hate him without really knowing anything about his work.

To set the record straight, I was actually looking for very old Genesis footage of young, long-haired Phil Collins being maybe the hottest drummer that rock had to offer at the time (say 72-77), but got sidetracked by that 2007 live footage.

My experience of Mr. Collins is rather opposite of Mr. Bateman's. I discovered him (and Genesis) shortly after Peter Gabriel left, but it was the Gabriel fronted version of the band that I fell MADLY in love with (complex and ambitious song structures, fantastical themes, jaw dropping live performances). The old sound continued (with Collins taking lead vox) for two, maybe two and half more albums but then, come 1980 with the release of Duke and the surprise success of Collins first solo album, it all most definitely turned ...

To the point that by say 1983 (yes, sadly it took me that long) I found myself well-ensconced within the HATERS club, and I've been there ever since. But just as I'd never deny the love I once felt for an old girl friend (before things went horribly wrong), I stand by the early Genesis. Ambitious, complex, inimitable, beautiful -- what else could one want from art?

That all of this could somehow lead to the Alamo is, of course, strange.

As for Illegal Alien, I'd say it's not at all racist in intent, just a really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really AWFUL song.
posted by philip-random at 11:03 AM on February 21, 2010


I'm with philip-random. Early Genesis is fucking brilliant and I resent Phil Collins's entire solo career for the billboard-sized caveat he's made "I like Genesis" require.
posted by applemeat at 11:19 AM on February 21, 2010


Let us not forget about Mike and the Mechanics. When defending your Genesis love it's not just Collins you need to disown.
posted by FfejL at 11:23 AM on February 21, 2010


True. I resent them too.
posted by applemeat at 11:33 AM on February 21, 2010


I just quantify my Genesis love to a very specific point in time. I'm between you both -- the Peter Gabriel stuff was too esoteric for me, but then Invisible Touch went way too pop. I first got into the "shapes" album, then kept working my way back through their career while waiting for "the next album" -- so I went from there to Abacab, then to Duke, then...so by the time Invisible Touch came out I'd just come away from Trick of the Tail, and boy was THAT ever a stylistic jump.

So Invisible Touch can go pound sand, but Duke makes me very, very happy.

I liked Collins on Miami Vice; I really think he could have turned into a great character actor, but, then, we already have a Bob Hoskins.

He actually was a child actor -- he was in a West End production of OLIVER! at one point, playing the Artful Dodger.

And interestingly, at some point I swear I heard him claim in an interview that he was talking with Bob Hoskins and Danny DeVito about trying to come up with some film project where the three of them all played brothers or something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:37 AM on February 21, 2010


When defending your Genesis love it's not just Collins you need to disown.

You're absolutely right. It's pretty much everything that happened since Steve Hackett left.
posted by philip-random at 11:41 AM on February 21, 2010


I liked Collins on Miami Vice; I really think he could have turned into a great character actor, but, then, we already have a Bob Hoskins.

He actually was a child actor -- he was in a West End production of OLIVER! at one point, playing the Artful Dodger.


Not just any child actor. When he played the Artful Dodger in that production, Jack Wild was Oliver (the same kid that would go onto play the Dodger in the Oscar winning film a few years later). So it's arguable that Collins was one of the very best, just like he was/is one of the very best drummers. He might even be a great singer. I certainly didn't really mind him until he got all white-soulful-and-whiny-angsty with his solo stuff ...

Natural talent and the drive to refine it -- the guy obviously had it. But if the Collins trajectory tells me anything, it's that talent must be tethered to something. Otherwise, ego (or whatever) just takes things way too f***ing far.
posted by philip-random at 11:49 AM on February 21, 2010


Phil Collins hangover.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:52 PM on February 21, 2010


Genesis fandom can be a very insidious thing. Initially you just think you're going to warm to the Gabriel era, but slowly, inexorably, the Collins era wins you over. First you justify Trick of the Tail & Wind & Wuthering as being good continuations of their Gabriel period, and rightly so. But then stuff like "Undertow" & "Burning Rope" hook you from And Then There Were Three and before long you're even apologizing for "Follow You, Follow Me".

Then you realise that Duke is actually an incredibly ambitious, weird & sophisticated album, and that is was the only time they tried doing a linked-up suite of songs like "Supper's Ready" again in their career. Maybe you get hipped to a couple bootlegs of that tour, at which point they were fucking unstoppable onstage. Finally you realise that Abacab, though not unjustifiably considered a sharkjump in a lot of ways, is actually a pretty interesting album as well. If the band had just wanted to go mainstream there would have been easier ways to do it, because the best moments are so stripped down and minimal they sound like they could sit comfortably alongside the stuff Conny Plank was recording at the time. Old prog guys will swear up and down that "Who Dunnit" was the absolute nadir of the band, but then you find out it sounds like a fucking Devo outtake or something.

But, of course, you finally run up against the spiked Flavor-Aid that is "Illegal Alien", and take a deep breath and step back from the trough.
posted by anazgnos at 10:30 PM on February 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


You never properly appreciate the lighter side of Phil Collins' artistry unless you have lived in a second floor walk-up apartment over a Viet gangster Karaoke bar. Another Day in Paradise was one of the two recognizable English-language songs in regular selection. The other was Love Potion Number 9.
posted by ovvl at 4:34 PM on February 23, 2010


Mother Whale Eyeless.
posted by ovvl at 4:41 PM on February 23, 2010


Then you realise that Duke is actually an incredibly ambitious, weird & sophisticated album, and that is was the only time they tried doing a linked-up suite of songs like "Supper's Ready" again in their career. Maybe you get hipped to a couple bootlegs of that tour, at which point they were fucking unstoppable onstage.

My first year of high school -- when I was too young, by my parents' estimation, to start drinking coffee -- I would listen to a live version of "Turn It On Again" to charge me up in the mornings instead.

....It still kinda works.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:21 AM on March 3, 2010


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