Chester Thompson interview in US Rolling Stone (4th Feb 2021)

  • Terrific read. I had no idea they had talked about him going in the studio from the first tour in 77. And very baffled by the decision not to use him (and Daryl) for CAS, I remember reading about that at the time.


    I didn't know he and Phil had had a falling out either. It's kind of sad in a way.

  • I had no idea I just missed out seeing Chester with the Bee Gees in 1989!


    Not only that but Genesis dumped Australia in 2008.

    That Info was leaked back then. One of the reasons was Phil’s commitment to Disney for the musical, but of course also his health problems that occurred first on the North American leg of the TIOA tour

  • And very baffled by the decision not to use him (and Daryl) for CAS, I remember reading about that at the time.

    I'm not necessarily saying it was the best decision but it did make sense to me that they'd want a completely fresh start, take a different approach and not go with two musicians still associated with the solo work of the key member who'd just left.

    Abandon all reason

  • It sparks the imagination at the mention in that article that Phil wanted to use Chester on albums after their first tour together. Could you imagine the kind of stuff they'd have come up with rythmically having two drummers in the studio together. Considering what came out anyway and what could've come out of those kinds of sessions is an amazing thought. At least for me it is :)

  • I'm not necessarily saying it was the best decision but it did make sense to me that they'd want a completely fresh start, take a different approach and not go with two musicians still associated with the solo work of the key member who'd just left.

    Fair enough. I just kind of thought after so long they were part of the band and would fit right in, so why take a punt on something new. I actually think it paid off with one of the drummers, nir z I think, he was great. Just not the decision I would have made!

  • It’s a shame they fell out, I thought they both had such a good understanding of each other behind a drum kit. It seems a little unfair of Phil blaming him (allegedly) for his mistakes on the 2010 tour. I guess Chester sort of admits to not being as methodical in preparation. But a shame they fell out id have loved to have seen him on the next tour- a real shame they can’t bury their issues and get on again.

  • Fascinating interview. I spent a couple hours listening to all the youtube vids in the text, I'm not even half through but the change from all the American music to Genesis is really like another universe, no wonder Chester needed to adapt. Also I'm glad I got hear some really interesting Zappa stuff, I used to avoid Zappa because I thought he does nothing for me, I saw him as pretentious, now hearing and seeing these videos changed my mind.

  • He was obviously very open about things, so now we know his story and this will probably put an end to all those "why is he no longer working Phil" debates.

    From a personal point of view, one might feel a little sad that they haven't talked for year. Having said that - don't we all have those things in our lives?

  • Terrific interview, thanks for sharing! Really gives you a good picture of his experience behind the scenes. It must have been quite a transition to playing progressive rock from what he was doing earlier. He is quite the professional in being able to make that switch and be the best guy for the job even if prog music wasn't necessarily in his background.


    It is too bad to hear he and Phil don't talk anymore. I would personally much rather Chester on the current about-to-be tour than Nic, just because Chester has been there and played these songs and it feels like he should be the one playing them alone up there if anyone. But he sounds very at peace with his life and good for him!

  • It is a shame, but maybe we sometimes have a rosy views of bands all being mates for life. In fact it’s a bit more like Phil and Chester had a row at work and don’t keep in touch. Genesis generally do very well to be professional and remain on good terms and seem to be well known for looking after roadies etc and no-one is perfect. But it does seem as if Phil had almost a personality change, to the point where Chester didn’t feel able to sort it out with him in the spot, as mates would have done. An interesting insight into band politics and dynamics and I think Chester seems to have handled it all well over the years.

  • Chester is also 72 years old. That's quite old for a drummer and I can imagine that Nic can deliver a completely different performance regarding power, dynamic etc. That doesn't mean Chester can't play anymore, but Nic obviously brings some new freshness into the band.

  • It is a shame, but maybe we sometimes have a rosy views of bands all being mates for life. In fact it’s a bit more like Phil and Chester had a row at work and don’t keep in touch. Genesis generally do very well to be professional and remain on good terms and seem to be well known for looking after roadies etc and no-one is perfect. But it does seem as if Phil had almost a personality change, to the point where Chester didn’t feel able to sort it out with him in the spot, as mates would have done. An interesting insight into band politics and dynamics and I think Chester seems to have handled it all well over the years.

    It is a shame and a bit of a stain on somebody like Phil who always carried himself like a gentleman. He is generally known for being one of the nicest guys in the industry. Things like this happen but Chester, another nice guy and tremendous drummer, didn't deserve it, particularly after all the years they spent together..

    Edited 2 times, last by Fabrizio ().

  • According to Phil's book this must have been in the period when Phil, under the influence of medication and alcohol, would act like he wasn't himself. He was mean against people around him and had zero memory of these episodes afterwards. This story sounds like another one of these incidents. Maybe Phil doesn't even know why Chester cut contact with him; then again this is now more than 10 years ago, enough time to get something like this sorted out.

  • The same thing happened between Leland Sklar and James Taylor. Leland told a story to the audience when I saw him fill in as bassist for Toto a few years back. He was told by Taylor in 1985 that there were no scheduled gigs for a few months and to go ahead and work with whoever you'd like to until we have some dates lined up. Well, he was asked by Phil Collins to play bass on the No Jacket Required tour. He accepted. While he was on tour with Phil, he got a call from Taylor who said to drop what you're doing, I've got some shows lined up and I need you here. Leland explained to him that he's contracted with Phil for a few months and there's no way to join up right now. Keep in mind that Sklar had played bass on all the great James Taylor albums of the 1970s. JT told him that if he doesn't get his ass back there immediately, he can forget about ever playing his songs professionally ever again. Sklar was really upset, he said, because those songs meant everything to him too, and to think that he would never tour again with Taylor just about broke his heart. He stayed touring with Phil and I don't know whether he and James Taylor ever saw eye to eye after that.

  • There's always more to a story, it is interesting that Chester has been as honest as possible. But lets just say that Phil is like most other humans on the earth, not perfect.


    I'm not sure if it was just drinking that cause problems, Phil has been known to indulge. But the way he treated Chester was disgusting. There was indeed chairs thrown, a table turned over and some disgusting language from Phil. But as Phil once said in an anti drugs/drink commercial. Drink and Drugs can wreck lives.


    TGA