Bassist Lee Sklar confirms that Phil Collins is planning three weeks of rehearsals, though he’s quick to note that no concert dates have been scheduled. These sessions include a firm setlist, and several members of Collins’ last working band on 2005’s First Final Farewell Tour — though Chester Thompson was unavailable. Jason Bonham will be sitting in during these initial rehearsals, Sklar adds.
“If at the end of three weeks, he feels like it’s still got the old mojo, then he’ll talk to management and see what they want to do,” Sklar says in a new episode of I’d Hit That. “Personally, I didn’t think we were ever going to play again, and then all of a sudden, I think he’s in a better place in his life. His two young sons, I think kind of said to him: ‘We’ve never seen you.’ And I think a lot of things came together, where he wants to test the waters.”
Sklar also talked about the period leading up to Collins’ surprising early retirement, and the forces outside of his health that pushed the star off the road. Collins made a surprise return to the stage in May, though it was with a group of middle schoolers.
“Phil, pretty much the last time we worked, we were doing the final farewell tour,” Sklar says, “and at the same time, he’d done the music for Tarzan on Broadway. It was going into rehearsals, and I think the producers really wanted him to be there for that. We had still a huge section of our tour left to go, and we can to cancel everything. I think by the time he finished the Tarzan stuff, and all of that, I think he was just tired. He was going through a bad divorce. There were a lot of things going on in his life that were kind of not great. I think he just decided at that point that he needed to stop and just spend time with his kids, and be a dad — and try to just get away from the stress.”