Podcast Transcript

– Takin a walk. – My biggest teacher now is YouTube. You know, I spend hours watching all my favorite drummers and I think that’s such a huge asset. Now you can just watch a drum play through and see exactly what’s happening and you have so much access to information that it’s become a great tool,

but I see it, you know, being able to listen to as many drummers and just kind of, you know, add different colors to your palette and to your your arsenal of sounds.

This is the “Takin a Walk” podcast with Buzz Knight, the podcast that delves into the stories of musicians and their passion for their music. Today, Buzz is joined by drummer Nic Collins.

Nick is Phil Collins’ son, and he’s carving out his own musical journey. Here’s Buzz Knight and Nic Collins on “Takin a Walk.” NickCollins,

. Oh, of course. Thank you so much for having me, man. Congratulations on all of your work.

We’re going to talk about the effect and how excited you are about that. But I do want to get into a little talk about your father and your work with him as well.

First of all, how is your dad these days. Yeah, he’s doing good. He’s retired until maybe he gets the itch again to do it,

but at the moment he’s enjoying the retired life. Well, how does it make you feel when fans and fellow musicians are wowed by your playing?

Oh, it’s great. Obviously, huge compliment and an honor that, you know, gets to do things for people like it. That’s great. Obviously, if people don’t like it,

that’s fine too, you know what I mean? I think it’s awesome to be doing the thing that I love, you know? And I’ve been very lucky to have been able to do it in different contexts,

different artists and bands. And so, yeah, it’s a very huge complement. Well, besides your dad, talk about the other drummers that you’ve studied very closely.

Oh, yeah. I mean, dude, the laundry list goes on and on, you know. It’s always growing, but I think my main drum heroes are Danny Carey, John Bonham,

Abe Cunningham, who’s from Deftone, Stuart Copeland, I mean, there’s so much John Theodore from Marsvolta and Queens of the Stone Age It’s just so many all the time coming Taylor Hawkins.

He was a huge one You know, it’s like different eras of like what in different parts of my life and which drummers really grabbed me at different times You know like growing up. It was obviously apart from my dad.

The first three were were bottom And then Taylor Hawkins and Chad Smith from the Chili Peppers and Taylor and Chad, I felt this huge, you know, I really idolized them just because it felt like I,

these were like my generation of guys, you know, like they had, you know, when I, when I say Bonham and Stuart Copeland, that, you know, they’d been around for such a long time that, you know, those were their favorite drummers and it felt like with Chad and Taylor,

it was like, oh, this is like the new, the new guys that I, those are like my guys and it was like you know not like my dad’s guys and stuff like that. So I felt like a real connection to them and it made me fall in love with the idea of being in a band and you know playing live and and then since you know different eras where I started getting into Prague music and that’s when Danny Carey,

Gavin Harrison, I started really John Theodore looking up to them but the same way that I’ll also look up to like the jazz fusion world and you know get into guys like Billy Cobham or even newer guys like Lauren L.

Lewis from Snarky Puppy, you know, they all have such an equal Influence on me because to me, that’s the best teacher is just being able to listen to as much music and as many drummers as possible You know, we had Kenny Aronoff on the podcast previously and Kenny talked about a lot of his Disciplines to sort of stay in tune and primed for every performance,

you know, his whole practice session and management, how do you go about that sort of process? Yeah, I think, I mean, when I’m on tour, it’s a different thing to when I’m like at home and it’s more studio stuff.

You know, on tour I do, I am very disciplined in like a warm -up routine, just because when you’re doing it, you know, playing two and a half hours every night, you want to make sure that you’re not hurting yourself. So I’ll go through like a 30 to 45 minute warm -up routine routine with a metronome and go through a bunch of different rudiments at different speeds and get my body warmed up and just get the blood

flowing to the wrists. Because I used to have some wrist problems, I started using heavier sticks and that kind of took a lot of it away, but I still want to make sure that I’m able to keep it up for as long as possible.

But I do also realize I need to do a better job of that when I’m at home or when I’m just this week we were rehearsing You know, I I’ll like just jump into rehearsals and then now I’m like oh my arm kind of hurts You know and I should like just because it’s rehearsals does not mean you should not warm up You know just because it’s not a show so that’s something I’ve got to get better at but definitely taking

care of myself You know and staying active going to the gym and you know always making sure that my body is in shape Because drumming is very physical and I don’t want to be injuring myself and so far everything’s been good I try to make that a priority.

I love what I saw online the the grooves of Genesis that whole presentation there with Duke’s intro and cinema show and behind the lines so many great songs,

the watcher of the skies. Did you have fun doing that particular session? Yeah that was great I mean you know the shout out to the guys at Dramio they were at Drumeo, they’re incredible guys and the platform that they’ve built,

I mean I’ve been a fan of theirs since I was like 12, looking up and watching those videos on YouTube. So to finally be in the space and doing stuff with them was really awesome. That was probably like two years ago that we filmed it,

which is a trip because not all the videos have come out yet. So we had another video come out in January and I remember my girlfriend being like, “You look really young and I’m like, “Yeah, that was two years ago,

I’ve aged,” but no, that was a lot of fun. It was a lot of rehearsal and because basically we shot a course about my dad’s playing and that’s kind of, that was the live stream that we did and that’s out on YouTube and we actually did a more in -depth course about each of those songs kind of by themselves plus some additional ones.

And it was great fun. I mean, I think to me it was, It felt like this is the thing I want to do for my dad. And also I think the younger generation maybe don’t know my dad as a drummer and know him more as the Indie era guy or the Tarzan guy.

And I feel like I want it to showcase like, no, you know, my dad was a bad ass drummer, you know? And that was after doing the Genesis thing, we shot like a huge course and I learned 40 songs,

like some of the songs we were playing in the show, but then a bunch of other of of the really heavy prog tunes, which we didn’t do in rehearsal. So it was a lot of work and a lot of pressure, but it was a great time.

I had a lot of fun doing that session and so many great drum parts. And it is a weird thing when you’re trying to explain and teach parts that you didn’t write or that you weren’t involved in, because I’m like, “This is like…” Some of these songs were 30 years before I was even born,

you know what I mean? So it can be a bit interesting, but I thought It was good fun and I’m excited for that course to finally come out when it does. There’s just some copyright things that need to be cleared up first.

I thought it was fantastic and I have to tell you, Nick, you make it look really easy and I know it’s not. Thank you so much. No, I’ve been around those parts for a while but it definitely takes getting it down like I wouldn’t you know I’m not gonna be like oh yeah I just went in there and just played them you know like that was a maybe two months worth of repetition multiple days a week to try and be

comfortable with the songs because some of those songs are just like really complex and a lot of improv and when you’re trying to learn somebody’s improv it’s very you know I can get very tricky. I was privileged to see your dad play with Genesis a few times also to see him play with brand X and I wanted to share one of those experiences that I’ll never forget.

It was the trick of the tail tour and it was the dual drumming of your dad and the great Bill Bruford.

I was wondering if you ever got to see and any sort of video form, anything from that tour? – I’ve seen videos, I don’t know if it’s from that tour. I’ve seen some videos of him and my dad and Bill doing cinema show that may have been from the seconds out or before that,

like maybe the tour after “Trick of the Tail.” I’m not sure when that video was, but I’ve seen some of it. I mean, Bill is another guy who’s become such a big influence and he’s like Prog drummer of the 70s,

you know, it was in every great prog band. Bill Bruford was in it at some point, you know, and he’s, what a great drummer. And that was, you know, that the double drums became a theme of my life from watching those videos to watching him and Chester do it to actually watching it live between them.

So yeah, I mean, amazing stuff. It was the Ohio Theater in Columbus, Ohio, where I saw it. And our mind was completely blown from that that show.

It changed us really. Oh wow, that’s amazing. Yeah. And of course, were you able to sort of go back and study some of the Brand X work from your dad? Yeah,

we didn’t do as much for the course. It’s funny, I’ve kind of gotten more into the Brand X stuff more recently after the Genesis thing and getting into the Prague side of their sound and getting Getting into BrandX and the more fusion stuff,

it started really impacting me also as a drummer and going from playing the really heavy, loud beats to the really quiet, intricate, more fusion -y stuff. But that’s some great material with BrandX.

And I think we broke down maybe one or two for the drumming thing, but now it’s one of those things that I get into more now. Like, it’s just the evolution of what you listen to and what into and and yeah you know I mean it’s it’s funny to see that different sides of like my dad’s playing which I haven’t you know been familiar with until I’m like 21 or 20 you know and I mean it’s strange to be like oh you did

this too you’re not just this guy you also happen to do something that’s completely totally different. And on the dual drumming theme what’s your personal take on the dual drumming that was so part of the Allman Brothers and obviously the Grateful Dead as well.

Yeah, I thought it was great. I mean, you know, I think it’s like my opinion is always dependent on like the context. You know, I think as like as a drummer, you kind of want to go into be like, I don’t need another drummer.

I could do everything. You know what I mean? Like there’s like that ego side of things. But I think when Genesis were doing it, it was amazing asset to have to the to the show not only just in like the Prague Bits and the instrumental parts were both my dad and where it was Bill or Chester When they would play it became it just added this layer to the music both visually and you know sonically But I also think

you know to have those drum featured moments where you know Not every band can just get two guys to do to do it at that level You know do it at that level. I think you can get some guys where a lead singer or a band will go and play some toms or something,

but to have two guys who are just absolute monsters at drums playing off of each other and creating compositions together, I thought it became something that I was just so familiar with from watching all the live DVDs and just being there and watching the shows later and it was a weird thing when I joined Genesis and it was just me because we had something similar in my dad’s band where me and the percussionist would

do a drum bit like a drum part kind of not a solo like a drum duo kind of thing and we’d play off of each other but with Genesis it you know we didn’t do that because my dad can’t play drums anymore but you know it was tricky playing navigating some of the instrumental songs which used to have double drum featured moments,

especially “Cinema Show” had a call and response on the snares. And it was just me. And so I think Daniel Pierce, who was one of the backing singers, did do a little bit of timbales to have that effect,

like the call and response. But it was also for me trying to find, okay, how can I play the groove, but also still include some of that double drum stuff? Because it’s hard when you’re just one person, back then it would be like Chester would keep the groove going,

and my dad would go and play off the keyboards or something. So it was a bit tricky to find the right balance. But by the end, I think we got it down by the end, hopefully.

I’m pretty sure you did. So the great movie Whiplash, I guarantee you probably saw it. The question is,

did it scar you for life that’s it you know it’s funny that the whiplash is what I did the drumming thing one of the first time listening videos was the song whiplash which I’ve seen the movie whiplash but for some reason didn’t connect the song I just like I was like something sounds familiar about it but then you know Brandon starts riffing off whiplash quotes and you know it’s threatening to throw a symbol at me

and that’s when I was like oh that’s from whiplash you know what I mean but I I really liked the movie when it came out. I was young enough where it was just like it made me really interested in jazz. But it is,

now I look at it and I can see why it would upset some people just because it’s very unhealthy, but I think that was the point. The point and the great, JK Simmons is amazing in that movie and that role where you really hate the teacher and you hate the band leader,

I think it was supposed to be influenced by Buddy Rich, obviously I’m not sure I never met Buddy Rich, but that was what I’ve heard, that that was the influence of the harshness,

and I think maybe it was a bit extra, but it’s a movie, you know what I mean? When Miles Teller puts his hand in the jug of water and he’s all bleeding, I’m like, that doesn’t happen either,

you know what I mean? It’s the dramatization of Hollywood, but I thought it was a good a good movie. I understood the message and obviously I think it’s not supposed to be taken literally.

If a teacher was really like that, then there’d be a problem because I don’t think that’s really healthy, but I think for a movie and to almost put drums in the limelight, especially jazz drumming, which became this huge thing around the world when that movie came out,

I think it was great to be able to feature the drums that way. We’ll be right back with more of the “Take and Walk” podcast. Welcome back to the “Take and Walk” podcast.

– Who are the teachers aside from your father, obviously, that made an impact on you and really shaped you to this moment today? – Yeah, I mean, I’ve only really had one Trump teacher.

His name is John Pierre Espirito Santo. And I started taking lessons with him when I first moved to Miami, Florida and I was like 11 or 12 and You know originally I kind of wanted to be a soccer player That’s really that was what I wanted to do and then I moved to Miami and kind of realized I’m not that good at soccer and I’m like oh,

I guess I’m okay at this other thing Let me take this more seriously, but my tech, you know I played drums and I had a good sense of groove and rhythm, but my technique was just not there. And so he really was able to help me hone in on that technique.

And he taught me about all the different rudiments, but also different Latin grooves, which at the time I didn’t understand why I was playing Bossa Nova or Samba.

I was like, “I want to play Foo Fighters music. Why are we doing this?” But then I’ve understood as I got older and then I started getting into progressive music and polyrhythms. I was like, “No, it was about the limb independence.” So I’m very grateful for him teaching me that,

but I don’t take lessons necessarily anymore. Honestly, my biggest teacher now is YouTube. I spend hours watching all my favorite drummers, and I think that’s such a huge asset that I don’t think young people nowadays realize how lucky we are to have the access to YouTube because I talk about it with different guys and they’re like,

“Yeah, well, back when I was growing up, it’s like you had to rewind the DVR and try and play it so you could see what was happening, or just like you just had to listen, whereas now you can just watch a drum play through and see exactly what’s happening,

and you have so much access to information that it’s become a great tool, but I see it being able to listen to as many drummers and just add different colors to your to your to your palette and to your arsenal of sounds,

I think that’s such a big asset nowadays. – And the interesting thing about YouTube as a teacher is, it doesn’t really do you any good to get angry at YouTube for like you would a teacher.

– Yeah, you can get angry at yourself where you see, like I will say sometimes on YouTube, it’s like, you’ll see some seven year old from Japan or something and he’s just way better than you and you’re just like,

“It makes you like, you’re like, ‘What the hell is this?'” But that’s the only thing. I think you can maybe get a loose side of what the point is because you see so many people that are just so great and it can damage your confidence.

But I think it’s better to just look at it in the approach of a learning side of things and you see these people and it’s, “What can you take from these different drummers to add to your own drumming.

So let’s talk about the effect. How did the effect come together? Talk about all the key players there in the band that make up the effect, and how excited you are about the project.

Yeah, so the effect came about Trevor Lukather, who’s the guitar player and producer of the band. His dad is Steve Lukather from Toto, you know, we actually,

Leland Sklar and Amy Keys, who were both in my dad’s solo band and Toto at different points, you know, they’d been telling Trevor and I that like, you know,

you guys need to get together, you know, you guys would really get along and, you know, you need to do something together and, you know, I think we followed each other on Instagram and just like connected on social media, You know supported each other here and there but it wasn’t until January of 2023 Where he was in Miami for some reason,

you know for a TV show that kind of went south it was like he was gonna be hosting this thing and producer and and director kind of went at it and so the show was canceled and he was like well I’m stuck in Miami.

Who do I know and So he invited me out to dinner dinner, and it was him and his wife Madison and me and my girlfriend Isabella, and we got together on a double date. And that was the first time we met,

and we totally hit it off. We connected and found that we related a lot in different ways, almost felt like we’d lived parallel lives and just so many things that were in both of our lives that we really were able to bond on.

But at the time, he still does a lot of production work, and I think that was the extent of what we thought was going to happen if we work together was just like I’ll play on a session or something like that.

But then fast forward a couple months, I was on the road with Mike and the Mechanics and Trev sent me a text and he was like, “Hey dude, I’m thinking of putting a group together. Just an experiment and this is who’s in the band.

Are you down?” And I’m like, “Well, maybe.” I was like, “What do you have in mind?” And then he sent me the guitar riff to “Unwanted.” That was literally the first tune we ever did together. And I was like,

“Oh yeah, I’m down. Let’s do it.” I didn’t get to record my parts until I got back from the road. And then we did that first song, and then it turned, “Let’s do another.” And then two, three songs turned into,

“Well, no, let’s actually be a band. Let’s actually do it.” But the funny thing is We were written, recorded, and mixed three songs before all four of us were ever in the same room together.

Which is because I live in Miami, Trevor lives in LA, and then Steve Maggiore who plays keyboards and does background vocals, he lives in Palo Alto, so NorCal, and then Emmett Stang who’s the singer,

he lives in Vegas. So it was all being done very remotely, but then we got together and we all kind of really hit it off, And, you know, we all really got along and basically that was in June,

June was when we started the record and basically we finished the record by December. It was very, we didn’t go like, let’s write the whole record and then record it. It was, we were just,

we were recording it and mixing it as it was being written. And, you know, everybody brings such an interesting take to the interesting take to the whole band,

we never had a conversation, what kind of band do we want to be, what genre, what bands are we going to try and emulate. It was literally, this is what the four of us sound like when we are writing music together.

The first song I’ve recorded last, but typically what we’ve done is Trev will come up with a guitar part and a guitar idea and will map out a whole song’s worth of like,

okay, here’s the verse, pre -chorus, chorus, whatever, and he’ll just send it to me blank with just the guitars. And then I will go and, other than “Unwanted” where I was the last one, every other song has been this way where I’ll go and basically write a drum part and go into the rehearsal room and then I’ll FaceTime,

Trev, and we’ll basically bounce notes off of one another of what he likes, what I like, what I don’t like and then from there, I basically record the drums the day that they’re written,

which I’m not very used to because usually with my other band, Better Strangers, I’m very meticulous about how much work I can put in overthinking my drum parts and Trev wanted me to just be very instinctual.

Like, “No, I want to capture whatever magic you were able to get.” So then once I’ve You know, Trevor will lay down his real guitars and Steve McDroy will lay down his keyboard parts, which, you know, the textural stuff that Steve is able to create is really amazing on both keyboard -wise and also background vocals,

and then Emmett gets together with Trev and they write the lyrics and top line together, and you know, Emmett’s voice is the range that that guy has, not just literally on a musical range,

but I mean the fact that he goes from being like this really heavy rock singer to also being able to dial it back and do the total pop thing. It’s a really, the whole band is just A -class musicians and it’s lots of fun to be able to create and work with those guys.

Everybody brings just so much to the table. And what is the expectation on the band in terms of touring and just getting out for people to see it?

Yeah, so we finished the album at the end of last year so we just put out another single a couple weeks ago and actually I was just in LA last week we just recorded and did a video for something very exciting that will be announced soon so we’re very pumped about that but no we’ve got some American dates that will be announced eventually in May and then we’ve got a European tour happening this summer where We’ve

got our own headline shows, but we’re also playing the Isle of Wight Festival and also the Kuplai Festival in France, and then we’re opening for Toto in Germany, which huge shout out and thank you to Luke and everybody in the Toto crew for being able to,

for wanting us out there and for having us. It’s going to be a great time. So yeah, basically we’re going to be playing some shows and getting on the road this year and hopefully the album, we don’t have a set release date.

We’ve released three singles so far and everything’s finished. It’s just basically about finding the right time and place to put it out, whether nowadays so much music gets put out every day on streaming services that if you do it wrong,

you just end up being another drop in the ocean. And I think for us, we believe in the record and everybody’s put in work into the album that we feel like, it deserves the,

you know, to get the right attention. And will better strangers still, still exist as well? Yeah, of course, you know, I’m doing both and, you know,

it’s funny, I grew up in a, from a dad who, you know, had a solo, very successful solo career and a very successful Genesis career as well. So the idea of doing both is not something that scares me,

you know? And I really like actually doing both because they are such different bands and like almost every way, you know, the effect is more of a pop rock. That’s what I consider a pop rock,

but we do get pretty heavy sometimes whereas Better Strangers is more of a progressive, you know, progressive band, you know, with that goes a bit heavier, maybe like the line between progressive hard rock and progressive metal at this point,

but it’s great. It’s great. I get different creative outlets in different ways and it’s been lots of fun to be able to do both. So when you’re playing live, how much of playing live as a drummer is about getting in a particular zone that you’re just kind of off at a different place and it’s coming so naturally?

Yeah. I mean, I think, again, it depends on the band and what the role is because you know with the effect we play I played a click and so that is different because you you really have to you’re you got to be really locked in with what you’re playing along to because if you’re off then it becomes a whole train wreck but it’s a different kind of thing because you’re not really worried about whether it’s with Genesis

or my dad or better strangers where I don’t play to Um, those become more like I have to get in the zone where I’m, I gotta make sure I don’t let the adrenaline take over and I’m playing things too fast,

too slow. I think with the effect, it’s like making sure, obviously, you know, the songs and really locking in and, you know, it comes, it’s, it’s a mix of muscle memory,

but also really being familiar and becoming almost one with the material. That’s always something I’ve said to anybody when I’ve done, you done the few clinics that I’ve done. My biggest advice is when you get hired or asked to play a gig,

familiarize yourself with the songs in a way where they become second nature and you’re not just listening to them in the rehearsal room, but you’re listening to them on the way to the grocery store or on the way to the gym or whatever it is.

I think that’s the biggest thing is being aware that this is what’s best for the song, this is what the song needs, and really kind of getting into that mindset. – In closing,

is there a dream band that you, I realize the effect is a dream right now, ’cause there’s a great amount of serendipity to it, but is there some dream players that you think about and go,

my God, if I could ever do a session with this group of people, this would be incredible? – That’s That’s a great question. I think it really, it really depends and I mean,

I, there’s obviously the guys like, you know, I would love to play a song with Chino from the Deftones, Chino Moreno singing, or Main or James Keenan from Tool singing,

I love both of those guys, you know, they’re, they’re singing so much in their vocal parts and their sound that I’d love to do a song with them on it. Then as far as musicians, I mean there’s so many,

I think off the top of my head now I’m thinking John Frashante or Flea from the Chili Peppers, I mean those guys are such a big deal for me growing up that to be able to be on a track with them would be a dream.

I’ll have to get back to you on that one, you know what I mean? There’s so many different producers and guys that I look up to that of course I want to work with,

but also in that same way it motivates me to try and make my own thing and with my own bandmates and be able to create something that I believe in and that’s unique that way as well.

Well definitely get back to me because I’m not going to be surprised at anything you pull off Nick, okay? Amazing, thank you so much. Yeah, congratulations on everything, congrats on the new project,

the effect and better strangers and all your work around Genesis and your dad and Mike and the mechanics please tell your dad give them our love and it’s so great to have you on “Taking a Walk” Nick.

I appreciate it Buzz thanks so much for having me. Thanks for listening to this episode of the “Taking a Walk” podcast. Share this and other episodes with your friends and follow us so you never miss an episode.

“Taking a Walk” is available on the iHeart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your podcasts.

About The Author

Buzz Knight

Buzz Knight is an established media executive with a long history of content creation and multi-platform distribution.

After a successful career as a Radio Executive, he formed Buzz Knight Media which focuses on strategic guidance and the development of new original content.