Hold On, Heart Of Texas: Phil Collins’ New Love Is The Alamo

Mar 4th, 2009 // 19 Comments

has renounced his life of overly self-referential videos and mugging for the camera for a new passion: The Alamo, the former Roman Catholic mission that was the site of the Texas Revolution’s Battle of the Alamo in 1836. Collins is in Texas for the anniversary of that battle, and he took some time out to tell a San Antonio News-Express reporter that he’s basically given up on his music career so as to fully indulge his obsession with the structure. Luckily, his esteemed stature went unnnoticed by a lot of Alamo enthusiasts who had no idea who he was!

What began as a boyhood passion as he saw actor Fess Parker portray Davy Crockett now is a full-time pursuit for Collins, 58.

“He’s very well read,” said Jim Guimarin, who owns the History Shop and has traveled with Collins to battle sites.

Last year, standing under a moonlit sky among the walls at Mission La Bahía in Goliad, it was as if he and Collins had been transported back to 1836. Collins was given a private tour of the San Jacinto battleground, where the Texans defeated Mexico and won independence April 21. This year, they may visit a historic site near Corpus Christi where 35 Texans were killed or captured.

Collins also plans to attend Friday’s commemorations of the Alamo battle and is set to speak to the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association on Saturday.

Some Alamo history enthusiasts who weren’t familiar with Collins’ hits – such as “In the Air Tonight” and “One More Night” – didn’t know who he was when he appeared unexpectedly at last year’s events on the battle’s March 6 anniversary.

Tom Jackson, president of the Travis chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas, was a featured speaker that day. He said he knew who Collins was, but was shocked to see him there.

Jackson said Collins’ zeal could help stimulate an interest in Texas history in others.

“Phil has a strong passion, and I think that’s wonderful. There’s a great deal of well-written history for anyone with a desire to learn,” Jackson said.

Collins is narrating a 13-minute “diorama light and sound show” at the site’s attached shop, as well as working on a collection-themed book, at least one chapter of which will be devoted to the making of the book.

Alamo is new passion for singer Phil Collins [My San Antonio; HT bg5000]


  1. Audif Jackson Winters III

    His favorite part is the basement.

  2. Whigged

    Why all the Phil Collins hate? Oh – wait…nevermind.

  3. Chris Molanphy

    @Audif Jackson Winters III: Oh, all right, I’ll bite…

    There’s no basement in the Alamo! [/janhooks-southernaccent]

  4. Anonymous

    Or, perhaps he just hates Mexicans. (Were I more tech savvy, there would be a video embedded here.)

  5. Anonymous

    Phil Collins was not an object of scorn during the period of 1970-1975 when he was the drummer and backing vocalist of Genesis…his drumming during this period is some of the best drumming I have ever heard in my life…

    Yes he did much harm later…but really…not as bad as we like to think…

    Besides do we really think it was just him who ruined Genesis during the 80′s?

  6. Anonymous

    Phil really is the man. People need to realize that more. It seems like even in the indie world his ‘All Things Must Pass’ appearance gets him no cred.

  7. Ned Raggett

    @17Vargas17: “All Things Must Pass” is something that prompts cred in the indie world?

  8. bcapirigi

    Am I the only one in the world that thinks Invisible Touch is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than any pre-1985 Genesis?

  9. Cam/ron

    @Chris Molanphy: Add [Collins flees in shame and confusion, and is unable to know which direction to go]

  10. Thierry

    @17Vargas17: How about Eno’s Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), Another Green World, Before and After Science or Music for Films or John Cale’s Helen of Troy? Yeah, Collins is on all of these as well. That’s almost enough to redeem him for the “Illegal Alien” video, but not quite.

  11. T'Challa

    If you find yourself “DJing” at a party and really want to set things off, cue up Phil’s duet with Phillip Bailey, “Easy Lover.” And then stand back.

  12. T'Challa

    If you find yourself “DJing” at a party and really want to set things off, cue up Phil’s duet with Phillip Bailey, “Easy Lover.” And then stand back.

  13. Chris Molanphy

    Forgive me if I’m repeating myself, because I’ve said this ’round these parts before, but: I’m fascinated by Collins’s recent mass reputational redemption. That is, after the ’90s, his decade in the critical/public-opinion wilderness, when he was such a punchline that an entire South Park episode revolved around dissing him, and Amiee Mann felt emboldened to talk smack about him publicly when she lost an Oscar to him in 1999-2000.

    The fact that commenters here can’t decide how much to hate on him is a case in point.

    I was a teenager in the ’80s, and I don’t feel like I have to hide the many nights I spent listening to Face Value or Abacab anymore. He’s a schlock merchant, but he’s my schlock merchant.

  14. Anonymous

    What about the fact that The Alamo was a battle to preserve slavery, Phil? Eh? Where’s that in your little diorama?

  15. Thierry

    @Chris Molanphy: Hey, he’s my schlock merchant too! I was given tickets to see Phil Collins in Paris in 1997 – I sang in the mic when he came down in the crowd during “Sussudio” and I can see myself quite clearly in a crowd shot on the live dvd of the show – and Genesis last year. I have no interest in anything he’s released from the 1990s onward, and he’s largely responsible for turning Eric Clapton into the Godfather of Mayer-rock but, music credibility be damned, he’s a great drummer and a surprisingly engaging live performer.

  16. Lucas Jensen

    @Thierry: That Howard Jones song was way better when he produced it, too. I like him because he’s the most unlikely superstar maybe ever. Prog rock background, short, drummer, strange-looking, sings like a cricket. Sure, make him and his weird band two of the biggest hit-makers of the 80s and 90s. Why not?

    And even “Invisible Touch” has its strange moments…”The Brazilian”?

    I love Phil Collins and love him without equivocation.

  17. Anonymous

    @T’Challa: If loving “Easy Lover” is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

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