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Remembering Ronald "Ronnie" Anthony Austyn Caryl

I first noticed Ronnie Caryl in 1997 on the A Trip Into The Light Tour as a new member of Phil Collins' band. At that time there was no internet research and his name meant nothing to me. He played a solid guitar, but didn't really stand out on stage. But Ronnie Caryl was much more than just a silent follower. He was a childhood friend of Phil Collins. Both took the first steps of their music careers together. They auditioned for Genesis together. Only one of them got the job. Their lives parted ways. Phil Collins became a world star.

Ronnie Caryl also pursued a career as a musician, but was much less popular and successful than his friend Phil. However, they never lost sight of each other and even played together occasionally as session musicians on albums by Eugene Wallace and Stephen Bishop in the 1970s and 1980s. Since Dance Into The Light, Ronnie has been an integral part of Phil's band, both live and in the studio. Only the big band tours took place without him. Ronnie, who had been living in France with his wife since the mid-1990s, helped Phil out as a guitarist for one-off gigs for the Little Dreams Foundation and on other occasions. He was probably the least known member of Phil's band, which was full of top musicians, and yet he was so important to Phil. For Ronnie, working with his friend was the biggest opportunity of his career. He toured the world with Phil until his last solo performance. His bandmate Luis Conte recently paid tribute to him as a good friend with whom he laughed and cried a lot. With his down-to-earth attitude, Ronnie was a vital part of the band, a bit of a good soul and, in the end, simply a loyal companion.

I myself was lucky enough to see Ronnie live as a solo support act for Martin Levac in Essen in 2010. He performed alone and proved what a passionate thoroughbred musician he was. After Don Myrick, Ricky Lawson, Andrew Woolfolk and Mo Foster, who passed away in July 2023, Phil Collins has not only lost another former band member with Ronnie Caryl, but also and above all perhaps his best, oldest and most loyal friend. Rest in peace, Ronnie!

Ulrich Klemt

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