Chester Thompson on Decade-Long Rift with Crab Apple Phil Collins

Vistalite Black

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Rolling Stone suspended its policy on Genesis not being cool enough to report on for a long interview with Chester Thompson.

He also talks about his time with noodly-doodly legends like Frank Zappa and Weather Report.

But, with the world’s attention focused on Lily Collins, star of “Emily in Paris” on Netflix, much of the interview focuses on Lily’s crab apple father and serial divorcee Phil Collins. Discover what he did to anger Thompson so much they haven’t exchanged holiday cards since 2019.

Chester Thompson on His Years With Genesis, Frank Zappa, and Weather Report
He spent 30 years in Genesis as a touring drummer, but he had a falling out with Phil Collins in 2010 and they haven’t spoken since.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/...llins-frank-zappa-weather-report-1122064/amp/
 
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Whitten

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I think it's best to keep this stuff to yourself, don't air grievances in public., especially not the press.
Anyone who has worked with a mega star has tough times, difficult experiences. It's challenging, and the stars are also under a lot of pressure.
 

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I was thinking back to the clinic I saw in 84-85 at DRUMS in Crafton PA. I recall someone asking Chester if he could swing with his snare tilted so steeply. I think he was playing a very deep Pearl snare, and it was setup similarly to the live MAMA tour snare, the whole kit was just a smaller version.

He said sure, and lit into a swing solo as if it was nothing. That was the first time I was up close with a finely tuned acoustic kit hit by someone who had real power and confidence and blend. He had a 602 blue label 21" with a bell that was so sweet sounding and incorporated it in a beat using his toms, I can still hear it. After a while searching, I was able to finally find one and pick it up, pretty cheaply.
 

wolfereeno

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I absolutely loved this round table discussion of Zappa's drummers. Too bad Vinnie couldn't make it. But Chester, Ralph Humphries, Chad, Terry and Ruth made for a great conversation.

Hearing Ruth describe her first encounter with Mahavishnu Orch and seeing Billy Cobham was a high point. She was standing next to Frank jaws dropped. She knew Frank was competitive and would do something to up the Mother's game and the next thing was Chester was auditioned.

 

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yet (see the forest thru the trees) don't miss the interesting and insightful drum life Chester has led :)
 

SpinaDude

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As some of the other guys have said, a really great read. Smart interviewer, letting an interesting subject just go.

Thompson is a class act. I love the story about the fallout with Phil. He doesn't approach it with vitriol or finger pointing. He says right off the bat it was a miscommunication and difference of stylistic thinking that lit the powder. He even took blame on himself saying he wasn't prepared to his normal level. Classy, classy dude.
 

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Chester was very cool in this article. No mud slinging at all. He was very cool in a clinic I saw with him and saw Genesis a few times live with Chester boogaloo’n them through. A Godly man a class act.
 

Vistalite Black

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It’s not as bad as it’s made to be , Haven’t exchanged cards since 2019 ??
I doubt they ever sent holiday cards ....
So, you’re a freelance drummer hoping to get re-upped for a gig with a guy who has hired you again and again over more than two decades, and you don’t send a holiday card?

You don’t take the opportunity to remind him that while you’re an ocean away, you’re always looking forward to playing with him?

Fascinating! How’s that working out for you?
 

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So, you’re a freelance drummer hoping to get re-upped for a gig with a guy who has hired you again and again over more than two decades, and you don’t send a holiday card?

You don’t take the opportunity to remind him that while you’re an ocean away, you’re always looking forward to playing with him?

Fascinating! How’s that working out for you?
Does Phil Collins seem a Christmas card kind of guy to you? :icon_e_biggrin:
 

KevinD

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I was thinking back to the clinic I saw in 84-85 at DRUMS in Crafton PA. I recall someone asking Chester if he could swing with his snare tilted so steeply. I think he was playing a very deep Pearl snare, and it was setup similarly to the live MAMA tour snare, the whole kit was just a smaller version.

He said sure, and lit into a swing solo as if it was nothing. That was the first time I was up close with a finely tuned acoustic kit hit by someone who had real power and confidence and blend. He had a 602 blue label 21" with a bell that was so sweet sounding and incorporated it in a beat using his toms, I can still hear it. After a while searching, I was able to finally find one and pick it up, pretty cheaply.
I believe I saw him on that same clinic tour 84-85 in NJ. I actually kind of felt bad for him, he was trying to impart what it takes to be a working drummer (discussing things like getting no sleep with Zappa, his approach to odd times, prepping for touring, being versed in many styles, reading etc..) part of the audience was peppering him with Genesis questions like "what is Phil Collins like?," and the other half just wanted to hear some blazing solo.. odd crowd. I enjoyed it though.
Not sure if it was sponsored by Paiste or not but I bought a 20" Power Ride that night, still have it.
 

langmick

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I believe I saw him on that same clinic tour 84-85 in NJ. I actually kind of felt bad for him, he was trying to impart what it takes to be a working drummer (discussing things like getting no sleep with Zappa, his approach to odd times, prepping for touring, being versed in many styles, reading etc..) part of the audience was peppering him with Genesis questions like "what is Phil Collins like?," and the other half just wanted to hear some blazing solo.. odd crowd. I enjoyed it though.
Not sure if it was sponsored by Paiste or not but I bought a 20" Power Ride that night, still have it.
I recall a Paiste rep being there and doing some demos. One of the things I remember clearly was that he came out late, and was very particular about the tuning of a 12" power tom. I'm not sure if he was doing that on purpose as an example of how one should care about their sound or there was a serious issue. He did play a long-form solo, really long-form.
 
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First, a great interview. I interviewed Chester years ago for Percussive Notes, and he's a great guy, we actually spent an entire day together. I really admire his career, and his commitment to his FAMILY. Great career: McDuff, WR, FZ, Genesis, Carlos, PC, BG's... The guy's a pro, and he plays his ass off.

Second, so many people (even some musicians) don't get it. Chester's a pro, he gets it! When you work for someone in a band, it doesn't mean you are best buddies, or ever will be. You are an employee, and that's the basic relationship, if you are lucky to have it go beyond that, well you are lucky, and that's rare. But you are best to look for friendships elsewhere.

If you are replaced at some point, that doesn't always mean there's animosity. When you move on, it doesn't always mean there was a knock down drag out confrontation that resulted in being fired. Most times, ships just change course, it doesn't mean they hit an iceberg, nothing personal. However, many people are (weak) afraid of even a simple discussion (confrontation,) so they just hire someone else, or don't rehire you. That's the music biz, and you keep the details to yourself.

There is a saying in the sports field, "Coaches are hired to be fired." Everybody knows it. I think music is the same deal. In am in a freelance field (professional musician.) I have NEVER accepted a gig thinking that would be the last gig I would very have to take, or I would be the last drummer to ever sit in that chair. Always look forward. If you can't understand that, or deal with it, find another occupation. Sure I am loyal to the gig, and I do my best to responsibly satisfy the music, the employer, and the audience (aka. "the gig" in general.) And a good bandleader should have the same basic loyalty. But no matter how many hotels, tour busses, vans, studios, recordings, or songwriting credits, you share, NOTHING is a lifelong commitment.

In the past, I have toured with (and worked longterm for) countless bandleaders and bands, eventually all of those gigs have come to an end. If any of them called now, we would happily pick up where we left off, when I run into any of them, it's nothing but very pleasant. For many of them, there has eventually been call-backs, and more gigs.

Keep in touch, exchange pleasantries with ex-employers? Sure. Going on family vacations together, inviting them over for dinner, or talking every week? Nope. Business is business. My father retired from a 40 year career as a high school guidance counselor. After he retired I don't recall many interactions with his old work-mates. He RETIRED. He moved on. My wife has worked at other jobs (careers) before, she doesn't go out of her way to "send Christmas cards" to her old employers or work-mates.

There are many levels of relationships. Spouse, Family, close (lifelong) friend, buddy, friend from work, employer-employee, work-mate, acquaintance...... Enough fundamentalist thinking, the world is gray. So are relationships, at least in the adult world. And you keep the TRUTHFUL details of relationships to yourself.

But as a professional in music (at least,) you are smart to NEVER base your whole financial well being (or career) on one person. Chester didn't. That has spelled disaster more times than not. It's the same as being a doctor, plumber, lawyer, etc....If you are good, the phone rings.

We could-should ALL learn a ton from Chester.
I admire him deeply!
MSG
 

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Now this really pisses me off...

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/chester-thompson-phil-collins-solo-tour/

I want to give this writer the benefit of the doubt...maybe he just misunderstood what was said in the interview, but c'mon. Totally taking things out of context to make a click-bait headline. No class. And most people are too lazy to go back to the source and find out for themselves what the real context of all that is. Lousy reporting.
 


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