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.