Nic Collins is the son of Phil Collins and Orianne Cevey. As the son of one of the most famous drummers in the world, it is not particularly surprising that Nic started drumming when he was two or three years old. In September 2009, when Nic was eight, his father became unable to play drums after an operation on a vertebrae.
In 2014, Phil revealed that a nerve issue had left him unable to grip the sticks. By June 2017, Phil was suffering from “drop foot” from a back operation. This made walking difficult and meant that he needed to sit when singing. Nic stepped into the breech first as Phil’s drummer, then as Genesis drummer. Now he is touring with Mike & the Mechanics.
Nic Collins certainly isn’t scared to whack the drums when necessary, and he has a nice clean sound. Commenting on the video, American bass legend Leland Skar, who played with 17-year-old Nic in 2017 on Nic’s first tour with his father, writes: “Nic has been a gifted musician since he was a little kid. I loved playing with him on Phil Collins’ Not Dead Yet Tour. He nailed it every night & just kept getting better and better as the tour went on. I am so proud of him. Plus he is a GREAT GUY!”
When Nic joined the Phil Collins tour, his father said it wasn’t because he was the boss’s son; it was because he was good enough. The success of the Not Dead Yet tour showed that in spite of his health struggles, Phil Collins was still able to sing as well as ever. This encouraged Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford to agree to a farewell Genesis tour with Nic on drums. Meanwhile, Nic was also drumming with his own band Better Strangers. Here is Better Strangers with But I Don’t Know Your Name (2022)
Better Strangers features Nic Collins’ long-time friends and bandmates Yang Waingarten (bass) and Joey Rodriguez (guitar) along with singer Ricky de Casa. In Better Strangers, Nic Collins makes a point of not trading on his famous name. With Phil Collins, Genesis, and Mike and the Mechanics, Nic has played in stadiums around the US and Europe. With Better Strangers he plays in clubs. He says: “At this stage of the band, doing it in a club is the best you can ask for. You get to see the most raw, unfiltered reaction to your music. There are no lights to cover it up. It’s all about the energy and the songs.”
Going back to Genesis, rehearsals for The Last Domino? reunion tour started in January 2020 – it was the first time in thirteen years that Genesis played together. No sooner was the tour announced than Covid19 intervened. When the tour resumed, it was shorter than it would have been but still included 50 shows across the US and Europe.
Genesis played their final gig at the O2 Arena London on 26 March 2022. Peter Gabriel was in the audience and joined the band afterward for supper. In its review, JazzandRock.com said the sound was fantastic and that “young drummer Nicholas Collins gave an impressive performance. He rightly received frenetic applause.”
Nic Collins is currently standing in for Mike & The Mechanics’ regular drummer Gary Wallis, who is not available for the Refuelled tour. Finally, a treat for drummers and drum nerds. Here is an hour-long video of Nic Collins breaking down Phil Collins’ Genesis grooves. Enjoy.