Love Letter to Phil Collins

by ANDREW HICKS

Dear Phil Collins,

I just got finished reading the feature about you in a recent issue of Rolling Stone. It said you don’t want to make music anymore–and you don’t even want anyone to call you Phil–because the “Phil Collins” we think we know is a hated public figure who is perceived as being uncool.

Well, the plain truth is, you ARE uncool. You’ve always been. It’s a big part of your appeal. Your voice, and the irresistable pop genius of much of your ’80s/early ’90s output is appealing, yes. But so, too, is your massive, glaring uncoolness.

You’ve got Noel Gallagher of Oasis making fun of you on the microphone at his concerts, but look, everyone makes fun of that dude, too. Embrace your Philness. There’s lots to love. For instance:

  • I love the saga of the “Bill Collins” character in the video for “I Wish It Would Rain Down.” Bill Collins is a fictional creation of Phil Collins who starts as a stage actor and becomes an enormously popular solo music star. The details of the life and career of Bill Collins are in no way related to those of Phil Collins. Also completely conjured up from thin air are the characters of Bichael Jackson, Bem-Cee Hammer and Balla Abdul in the video. Oh Phil, you’re such an imagineer.
    • Your sensitive but catchy ballad about the homeless, “Another Day in Paradise,” will always trigger the following memory in me: It’s a beautiful early summer day, I’m walking into the old Busch Stadium for a day game, and I notice a fenced-in outdoor patio area where people are stuffing their faces and drinking free beer. Right outside the fenced-in area of casual opulence, a homeless dude is digging through the trash. The piped-in soundtrack to all this? Your song “Another Day in Paradise,” blaring over the outdoor PA.

  • Until I was 23, I thought you played Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. So I’ll give you the credit for making my adolescent years more entertaining by playing the sour-pussed, alcoholic comic foil to a crazed cartoon rabbit. I’m sorry a toon killed your brother, Phil Collins. Wink.
  • You were right. You really can’t dance. But it’s cool. I mean, it’s uncool. I mean we’re cool with it being uncool.
  • The Tarzan soundtrack? I won’t even bring it up. I know you’ve had a bad week and stuff.
  • I’ll always love the femmy way you toss that snowball into the camera in the video for “Take Me Home” at the 1:53 mark. But it’s still a badass song. Melody, lyrics, drumbeat, production, epic running time, everything. And you inspired the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony reboot called “Home,” which is just as killer as the original. The B-Thugs even let you be in the video, lip synching to your own sampled vocals from 12 years before and not throwing any snowballs into the camera.
  • When I was 8, and my dad would take me to the bowling alley, I loved playing “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” by Genesis on the old-school jukebox full of 45’s. I still love that song and get still flashbacks to that jukebox at that bowling alley when I hear it.
  • You inspired a back-and-forth hairstyle competition with David Letterman throughout the ’80s. Remember how the Beach Boys heard The Beatles’ Rubber Soul album and fired back with Pet Sounds, which in turn inspired the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band? Well, when Dave saw your thinning, mousy-brown hair–with its prominent, comma-shaped hair isthmus jutting down toward your eyebrows–he was inspired to create his signature muskrat-stole ’80s look. Dave’s look then inspired you to respond with an even thinner head of mousy-brown hair with that little Kewpie boomerang hair wisp. Then the ball was back in Letterman’s court, and so on.
  • After noticing how similar the drum machine track from “Sussudio” was to the drums he programmed for “1999,” Prince challenged you to a shirts-and-skins rugby match. And Team Collins emerged victorious!
  • As masturbation-themed pop hits go, “Sussudio” is better than “I Touch Myself” by The Divinyls (who actually do have a VEVO channel–go, Divinyls!) but not quite up to par with “Longview” from Green Day or Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop.” But it’s definitely good enough for the iPod.
  • Thanks to the distinctive way you sing the word “touch” in “Invisible Touch,” I’ve been annoyingly shouting “tuh-CHAY!” in people’s faces for 24 years now.
  • Watching the 4-minute, phony-televangelist parody music video for “Jesus He Knows Me” is far better than watching all two hours of Steve Martin playing a phony televangelist in Leap of Faith, which was also released in 1992.
  • You had the balls to make not one but TWO music videos where there are multiple characters played by you that make up a group act. Even Paul McCartney, who made a ton of cheesy ’80s videos, only went to the Fill The Video With Multiple Goofy You’s well one time.
  • The Genesis “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZtWABLuWHo” video had the same type of Sid and Marty Kroft political puppets that were featured in the late-night syndicated comedy show “D.C. Follies,” which I got to see a few minutes of here and there when I was a pre-adolescent. I have never seen the show since, but I remember it fondly.
  • I’ve never seen that episode of “Miami Vice” you appeared in, but I bet you wore something pink.

See? It’s not all bad. You don’t have to live in a remote village in Switzerland and only show your face when you’re out in your SUV, dropping your two young children off at school. And I really am sorry you can’t play the drums or grip anything anymore. That must suck.

We love you, Phil!

Sincerely,

(insert handwritten signature here)

Andrew Hicks

Co-Creator

We’re Not Funny Humor Magazine

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