on 21 October 2016
Couldn't stop reading it..........I bought the kindle version, and read the whole thing in a day. I wouldn't swap Phil's millions for my life. Someone should have told him a long time ago that we are the sum total of our choices in life. It seems he made some bad choices in favour of his musical priorities, and his regrets, culminating in his downward spiral into alcoholism and depression, severe physical problems, terrible relationships (all his fault) are a reflection of his inability to put others before his hedonism. Gripping, easy to read, and a warning that sometimes, the things you wish for can bring terrible consequences.
on 26 October 2016
I'm a Genesis fanatic; I absolutely love them in all their iterations. I also liked Phil's solo work and thought the movie Buster was great. So I had very high expectations for this book and thankfully I wasn't let down. I highly recommend this book.
As expected, he addresses all the famous and infamous moments of his career. As he was omnipresent (as he admits) during the 80's and 90's I thought I knew all the stories but here we get Collins' perspective. And fair play to him, he's brutally honest about his own conduct at times.
I didn't know much about his most recent years, so it was fascinating to see what became of him after the Genesis reunion tour.
He has a deft writing touch and a nice turn of his phrase, essentially he can spin a good story but then again as a songwriter that's to be expected. It was incredible to read about just how many awards and numbers ones he's accumulated over the years and the famous people he's knocked about with.
It's also a very personal book and it's very touching at times; he was a guy who said yes to everything, leaving no time for his own family life and leading to long term and severe illness in later life.
One slight bugbear was that he didn't expand on certain eras and moments of his life, for example he glides through the Genesis days whilst writing a good deal more about his childhood and whilst the latter was interesting, I was reading it for the former.
But it was nice to see Phil's side of the story after being much maligned by the press for years. Essentially he seems like a good guy and the way he speaks about his family and friends (especially Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford) makes him all the more likeable to me.
on 31 October 2016
Phil Collins tells his life story as he would put it, “warts and all”. It is a fascintating, touching, funny and sad read showing how his dedication to his career resulted in domestic disharmony and ultimately psychological issues, alcoholism and failing health. A man who could do no wrong in the 1980s became pilloried in the 1990s, following what he terms as “Faxgate” – for which he puts the record straight here, and ultimately retreated into a form of semi-seclusion following his so-called “retirement”.
Collins has always been honest and forthright in his interviews and he is brutally honest here about his descent into depression and alcoholism over an 8-year period from 2005-2013. He is frank about how this affected those around him and he is big enough to lay the blame with no-one else but himself. He is riddled with guilt over how he put his career before his family and this is a constant theme throughout the book. It is sometimes hard to read as Collins lays bare his soul and his increased self-loathing, which obviously fuelled his near self-destruction. Fortunately he had people around him who cared enough, but it was a long hard and ugly road that has left many scars on himself and those close to him.
But the book is also balanced and is often very witty and funny. Collins tells of his adolescent years as a child actor and his early musical influences visiting clubs like the Marquee to watch his favourite bands; a strange tale of how, as a 19-year old star-struck percussionist, he was left off George Harrison’s first post-Beatles album All Things Must Pass; his audition and early touring years with Genesis then his ascension to group singer following Peter Gabriel’s departure in 1975. He describes 1987s four-night stint at Wembley Stadium (touring Invisible Touch) as the point where Genesis hit their peak and demonstrates great affection for all his former band mates.
His divorce from his first wife, Andy, set the tone for his song-writing inspiration and led to solo success and his elevation to the pop stratoshpere. He becomes in demand from the musical good and the great (John Martyn, Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Bob Geldof, et al) and flattered he finds it hard to refuse his friends. The result is a constant workload throughout the eighties that bred contempt from non-fans and music journalists. When his second marriage broke down in the early nineties – this time through his own infidelity – the press had a field day and this was the catalyst for Collins’ gradual withdrawal from the limelight.
Fans of Collins will likely be shocked as to how self-destructive he became in the 8-year period from 2005-2013, when he was lout of the public limelight for long periods, excepting a brief Genesis reunion, work on a Broadway production of Tarzan and his Motown covers album Going Back. It’s incredible none of his issues became public at the time – although the press had probably moved on to other targets. Non-fans may find Collins’ humility refreshing and be prepared to re-assess their views of a likeable man who undoubtedly likes to be liked and is hurt by “unwarranted” criticism. But, he is ultimately harder on himself than any of his critics.
That Collins has retained his sense of humour is encouraging and this book will undoubtedly have acted as a release for him. It is a sobering parable of how a single-minded dedication to your career will ultimately lead to unhappiness and loneliness. But there is always the hope of redemption if you are willing to see past the psychological wall and admit your failings. Collins is loved by all his children and is on good terms with two of his three ex-wives. An unwritten postscript to the book is that Collins is now reunited with Orianne, his third wife, and living a family life again,. He has also come out of retirement to tour again – on his own terms – with his son, Nic, on drums.
When I finished the book there was a sense of a story incomplete. Maybe there will be a happy ending for Collins after all – his music is being re-appraised and many modern artists have come out to say he was an influence. His fans have not deserted him and the tour sold out instantly. So, there may be a few more twists to the tale. Collins says at the outset the book is his story as he remembers it and no-one can deny it is a compelling and cautionary tale.
I'm very pleased that I managed to get a signed copy of this excellent book. Phil Collins talks about his life and the events therein, in a very logical chronological order in this book. His childhood, his acting career and early bands, joining Genesis, his solo career, plus his attitude to the negativity about his apparent ubiquity which naturally accompanied his success and being so in-demand - are all dealt with, with a decent amount of detail, though I am sure the hardcore fans will still have a plethora of questions. This is after all, the Phil Collins autobiography, not an A-Z manual. He speaks engagingly and the book is an easy and extremely interesting read for the most part.
What I did not expect from this book was the last quarter, which was really disturbing. Phil Collins comes across as a very likeable man, an in-demand musician, who can't refuse 'an offer that you can't refuse' (pretty much the undoing of his marriages). I was absolutely saddened to read that last part of the book. His personal dispair at his life situation came as a total surprise to me. You have to wish him well and hope that he is doing ok now.
A great read. His story told very well and with a lot of honesty and humility.
Six stars if I could.
on 17 December 2016
I'm not really a fan of Genesis, though I once had to learn to play Turn It On in a band and was hugely impressed by how it was put together. They're a clever bunch. As for the solo stuff, I quite like the singles I've heard over the years and have always known how great a drummer he is, that's about it. But I read a lot of rock/pop biogs and was curious about the 'real' PC.
My overall impression is that he is a very intelligent man. This is reflected in his approach to his instrument, his precise knowledge of his personal and professional strengths and weaknesses, and his self-awareness. He is the self-confessed joker in the Genesis pack but at the same time is sensitive to the group dynamics driven by factors like length of tenure and, let's face it, social class. He knows that musical ability is a leveller and that it allows him access to an existing tight-knit unit.
He is startlingly honest. This, perhaps surprisingly, is not uncommon in rock memoirs but old Phil, it turns out, does have a lot to be honest about. I came away thinking here was someone who just loved being involved in any project he could, and you can't achieve what he did without a huge commitment. So while this took him to quite dizzying heights of fame his personal/family life suffered. People naturally get fed up stuck at home waiting for the star to come home knackered from living his 'real' life. The end result was that when he took a step back it was very much 'after the Lord Mayor's show', his family was gone and he suffered an alcohol-driven collapse. All described with candour and not without humour where appropriate.
So he's not a perfect human being but we sort of knew that. This is a very well-written book that I would recommend to anyone, fan or not.
on 27 December 2016
I always hoped that Phil would write a book one day, as I knew that it would be searingly honest and sure enough as you would expect this is a full-on, no holds barred account of his life, good and bad. As others have rightly said there's little about Genesis- the music in particular- but come on, how thoroughly is that covered in so many other places? So it's not a problem and instead we concentrate on Phil's own life and career; his telling of his early life in particular was very interesting, and you can tell that he has more passion for this than endlessly regurgitating the same old band/music stories later on. His telling of the failure of his three marriages is sad, but brutally honest- this is a man who was so aware of what happened and why, but still so broken hearted every time it happened to him- again. His descent into drink and physical problems is a scary read- that someone so chirpy in public was basically drinking himself to death.
Phil seems to have come out of the other side of it all now, and even seems to be coming back fighting, with new shows planned for 2017, etc- so I really hope that this genuinely honest man, who has entertained me all of my life, is ok now, and stays that way.
on 3 January 2017
Not Dead Yet:The Autobiography is Phil Collins' candid and brutally honest account of his life.From his first experiences of the showbusiness world,to his early days as drummer/frontman of prog rock group,Genesis,to his successful solo music career.and much more.
He describes,in candid detail,the toll that the road to success has taken on his relationships,and his health;the highs and the lows of being one of the most successful musicians of all-time.
This is the story of a brilliant but flawed man,who freely and bravely admits that he's made mistakes in his life.A must-read.The best book I have read in 2016/17.Highly recommended.
on 22 October 2016
Anyone who buys the book is likely to be an admirer of Phi Collins's music. What comes as a shock is the enormous toll that making this music has taken on Collins. The descent into multiple relationships, alcoholism and disability is highly troubling, because so much of it is self-inflicted. One is left rooting for our hero but full of empathy and fear at how fragile we all are. It's a hugely compelling read but a sobering one too.
on 15 January 2017
For a man who has been playing drums since the age of five he has had a very long career and 400 or so pages isn't enough to do it justice. The early years are the most interesting when he's hungry for recognition . Strangely enough the section when he finally gets there is the least engaging. He's had so much success as a drummer, singer and songwriter that listing them all is the only part where the autobiography loses steam. I don't read a lot of autobiographys so its probably too much to expect Phil Collins to bear his soul but many of his fans (me) would have liked more about the creative process, especially in Genesis when they worked together on songs. How did they come up with the fantastic music they created? His drumming was always an integral part of the band and I've no doubt that without him they would quickly have been another 60's oddity included on a 'nuggets' compilation but we get nothing about his drumming except to imply that it was something mechanical and just his job - like being a plumber or a mechanic. Sadly we can't have everything but what we do have is pretty entertaining. There are a few stories about his friendship with John Martyn that were surprising and the book whizzes along name-checking the great and the good of the 70s and 80s music scene. We could have probably done without some of the frank descriptions of his fidelities and infidelities. case in point would be when he , as a 43 year old man, describes his pursuing 23 year old Orianne while still married to his second wife. There's not much you can do to put a good gloss on that but he does try and , to be fair, they are now back together and she seems to be the one for him. If you like Genesis in all it incarnations or if you are a fan of Phil Collins wildly successful solo career then this book is a must.
Wow - what a story. You would imagine that this book comprises a lengthy series of uplifting, heartwarming triumphs; a testament to unpalleled success and happiness. Yet it's anything but. "Not Dead Yet" is a disarmingly frank account of how a hugely talented musician plumbed the depths thanks to a series of self-inflicted disasters. It makes for gripping reading and you cannot help but admire - and like - this guy. One of the best music autobiographies you will ever read. Honestly.