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See Phil Collins' 20-Year-Old Son, Who's Taking Over as Genesis Drummer

Nic Collins started drumming for his dad's shows when he was only 17.

Some kids follow in their parents' footsteps, but this son is stepping right into his dad's shoes. Because of a health issue, Genesis singer and drummer Phil Collins is no longer able to play drums. But the band has found a solid replacement for their live shows. Phil Collins' son, Nicholas Collins (who goes by Nic), has taken over as the band's drummer for their upcoming tour. Phil is still the lead vocalist.

The older Collins commented on the arrangement and on his health in a new interview with BBC Breakfast. The 70-year-0ld musician says he can "barely hold a stick" with one of his hands, which means that his drumming days are over. It also sounds like the tour, which begins on Sept. 20, will be the last for the band. Read on to find out more about Collin's condition and to learn about 20-year-old Nic.

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Phil had neck surgery in 2009.

Phil Collins performing at the US Open in August 2016
Leonard Zhukovsky /

In 2009, Phil had surgery to repair a dislocated vertebrae in his neck. In a statement on the Genesis site at the time, he wrote, "Somehow during the last Genesis tour I dislocated some vertebrae in my upper neck and that affected my hands. After a successful operation on my neck, my hands still can't function normally. Maybe in a year or so it will change, but for now it is impossible for me to play drums or piano."

This will likely be Genesis' last tour.

Genesis performing at 2007 VH1 Rock Honors
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images

In the BBC interview with his bandmates, Phil was asked about whether this tour was really "putting it to bed" as far as the band goes. "We're all men of our age and I think to some extent, I think, yeah, it probably is putting it to bed," he answered. "I mean just generally for me, I don't know if I want to go out on the road anymore."

He also said that he can't hold a stick with one of his hands, so he can't play drums at all. "I'm kind of physically challenged a bit, which is very frustrating, because I'd love to be playing up there with my son," Phil added. Additionally, he often has to sit down when he's singing at at their shows.

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Nic has performed with his dad for a few years now.

Nicholas Collins drumming for Phil Collins in June 2019 in Milan, Italy
Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images

Genesis last toured 14 years ago, in 2007. Their new tour was supposed to start in 2020, but was postponed to September 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nic was added for this tour, but it isn't his first time playing drums for his dad. Nic performed on his Phil's most recent solo tour starting in 2017 when he was only 17 years old.

"It's not because he's the boss' son that he's playing the drums, it's because he's good enough," Phil said on the Australian show The Project (via Smooth Radio), explaining that Nicholas has been playing drums since he was two. "The band fell in love with him… suddenly it was like he knew what he was doing and wasn't in awe of the situation. I'm very pleased for him, and for me, that we get to go through this together."

Nic also has his own band.

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A post shared by ~ Nic Collins ~ (@nic_collins)

Nic, whose mother is Collins' third wife Orianne Cevey, also has his own band called Better Strangers. They released their debut EP, Luna's Daydream, in April, and describe their sound as "blend[ing] a heavy rock style with contemporary layers and melodies."

He's grateful to his dad for the opportunity to play "the music [he] grew up with."

Matthew Collins, Orianne Cevey, Phil Collins, and Nicholas Collins at the 4th Annual Dreaming on the Beach Gala in November 2018
Desiree Navarro/Getty Images

Nicholas posted about performing with his father after the 2017-2019 tour, thanking his fellow band members, the fans, and his dad. "This tour gave me the chance to represent all the music I grew up with," he wrote in part. "I've had the chance to share the stage with such remarkable musicians and they have helped me progress so much as a musician and I owe so much to them. I also owe so much to my dad. He made this all happen and was impeccable from start to finish. To be able to look back on this period of my life and the memories I got to share with my old man is incredible."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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