Simon Phillips (drummer)

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Simon Phillips
Simon Tint.jpg
Phillips in 2001
Background information
Born (1957-02-06) 6 February 1957 (age 62)
London, England
GenresPop, rock, jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, record producer
Years active1969–present
Associated actsBig Country, Judas Priest, Toto, Metro

Simon Phillips (born 6 February 1957) is an English jazz, pop, and rock drummer[1] and record producer. He worked with rock bands during the 1970s and 1980s and was the drummer for the band Toto from 1992 to 2014.

Phillips started to play professionally at the age of twelve in his father's dixieland band for four years. Phillips was the drummer on the 1976 album 801 Live with Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno. He worked as a session drummer for Jeff Beck, Gary Moore, Bernie Marsden, Mike Oldfield, Judas Priest, Tears for Fears, and The Who. He was the drummer for The Who during the band's American reunion tour in 1989. He became Toto's drummer in 1992 after the death of Jeff Porcaro.

In 2003, he was inducted into the Modern Drummer magazine Hall of Fame.[2]


Phillips in 2013

Phillips began to play professionally at the age of twelve in his father's (Sid Phillips) dixieland band for four years. He was then offered the chance to play in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. By the mid 1980s he was established as a session musician with Queen drummer Roger Taylor commenting in an interview in 1984, "You have to be as good as Simon Phillips to crack it these days."[3] In 1992, he released two instructional videos displaying some of his work.

Phillips was the drummer in the Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno supergroup 801 in particular on their acclaimed 1976 album 801 Live. He replaced Judas Priest drummer Alan Moore on the band's Sin After Sin album (1977) and went on to record Michael Schenker's 1980 debut album The Michael Schenker Group. In the early 1980s, Phillips formed part of RMS with fellow session musicians, Mo Foster and Ray Russell. He was the drummer for The Who on their 1989 American reunion tour and appeared on solo recordings by band members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend.

In 2006, Phillips released a DVD with his jazz band, Vantage Point, called Resolution with writer and pianist Jeff Babko, trumpeter Walt Fowler, saxophonist Brandon Fields, and bassist Alphonso Johnson. Phillips was a member of Hiromi: The Trio Project 2011-16. In 2015 at The 14th Annual Independent Music Awards, Phillips was the winner in the Jazz Instrumental Album category for "Protocol II".

Phillips has played on, co-produced, and mixed five Derek Sherinian solo records: Inertia (2001), Black Utopia (2003), Mythology (2004), Blood of the Snake (2006), and Oceana (2011). He also co-produced and mixed two albums by Mike Oldfield.

Phillips appeared with Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Steve Winwood in the video for the 1983 A.R.M.S. benefit concert for Ronnie Lane.

Phillips has also worked with Big Country, Jack Bruce, David Gilmour, Steve Lukather, Big Jim Sullivan, Toto, Whitesnake, Frank Zappa,[4] 10cc, Jon Anderson, Asia, Russ Ballard, Duncan Browne, Camel, Stanley Clarke, Jimmy Earl, Gordon Giltrap, Mick Jagger, Nik Kershaw, Juan Martin, Gary Moore, PhD, Trevor Rabin, Jordan Rudess, Mike Rutherford, Joe Satriani, Tears for Fears, Toyah, Bonnie Tyler, and John Wetton.


In 1992, Phillips was asked to fill in for Jeff Porcaro after Porcaro died during rehearsals for the upcoming tour to promote Toto's Kingdom of Desire album. Steve Lukather stated that he would only go on tour so shortly after Porcaro died if Toto could get Phillips to play the tour, so he was the first and only drummer that the band contacted to replace Porcaro. After the 1992/93 tour Phillips was asked to join Toto as a permanent member.

Phillips also had substitute drummers during his tenure with Toto. Gregg Bissonette toured with Toto on the first leg of the Tambu tour when Phillips developed back problems. During the 2003 Night of the Proms concerts, Phillips fell ill and INXS drummer Jon Farriss filled in for one show. Toto tried to contact Bissonette to play again with them but the latter was busy on a clinical tour and Ricky Lawson instead became the substitute.

Nicknamed "Si-Phi" or "Si" by his bandmates in Toto, Phillips was noted to be the group's 'technical' guru; handling the engineering duties on both the 2002 Through the Looking Glass and 2006 Falling in Between albums. He also engineered the 1999 Livefields album, and the Live in Amsterdam DVD from 2003.

Phillips playing in PSP in Rome, 2009

After the decision (15 July 2008) "to go their separate ways and begin new chapters in their lives", on 27 February 2010 former members of Toto announced on the band's website a reunion for a brief 2010 summer tour in Europe in honour of their ex-bassist Mike Porcaro who was living with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). They scheduled more dates for a tour in 2011, and ended up with the DVD performance in Villafranca Di Verona. Phillips toured with Toto in 2012 and 2013. After the last attempts at releasing a new DVD were all shelved the band recorded another concert aimed to be released on DVD in Lodz, Poland. On January 2014, Phillips left Toto to focus on his solo career and was replaced by Keith Carlock, then later, Shannon Forrest.

In 2009, Phillips joined with keyboardist Philippe Saisse and bassist Pino Palladino in forming an instrumental jazz/funk rock trio: Phillips Saisse Palladino or PSP, who toured in Europe in 2009 through 2010, spotlighting the talents of each performer in the songs chosen for their set list. Phillips also performed on Joe Satriani's album Super Colossal, appearing on multiple tracks. Phillips appears in Alan Parsons' Art & Science of Sound Recording educational video series, as well as the program's single "All Our Yesterdays". He played in the Michael Schenker Group album In the Midst of Beauty and took part to the band's 30th Anniversary world tour in 2010. Phillips is featured on Hiromi Uehara's 2011 album, Voice. He also toured with Hiromi and bassist Anthony Jackson as part of the Hiromi Trio Project.[5]

In 2019 Phillips was featured on “Origin Of Species” album, in addition to playing drums, percussion and keyboards, also engineered, mixed and drove the production on the album. Veteran bass player and singer Matt Bissonette performed a rich array of lead and background vocals and bass. DarWin himself drove the songwriting and conceptual vision while playing various guitars.[6]


Phillips cites Buddy Rich, Tony Williams, Billy Cobham, Steve Gadd, Ian Paice, Tommy Aldridge and Bernard Purdie as his main influences.[7]

Selected discography[edit]

Solo albums
  • Protocol (1988)
  • Force Majeure (1992)
  • Symbiosis (1995)
  • Another Lifetime (1997)
  • Out of the Blue (1999)
  • Vantage Point (2000)
  • Protocol II (2013)
  • Protocol III (2015)
  • Protocol IV (2017)


The Best

  • Live in Japan (1990)
Jack Bruce Band
Judas Priest
Jon Anderson
Jeff Beck
Mike Rutherford
Michael Schenker Group
  • Maxus (1981)
Stanley Clarke
Trevor Rabin
Mike Oldfield
Russ Ballard
  • Russ Ballard (1984)
Nik Kershaw
Tears for Fears
The Who
Big Country
Trilok Gurtu & Simon Phillips
  • 21 Spices (2011)
RMS[8][circular reference]
  • Centennial Park (1984)
Derek Sherinian
Hiromi, The Trio Project
Roger Glover
Jon Lord
Bernie Marsden
  • And About Time Too! (1979)
  • Look at Me Now (1981)
Gary Moore
David Coverdale

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Phares, Heather. "Simon Phillips". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Modern Drummer's Readers Poll Archive, 1979–2014". Modern Drummer. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  3. ^ Santelli, Robert (October 1984). "Roger Taylor". Modern Drummer.
  4. ^ Thodoris, Arno (16 August 2014). "Interview:Simon Phillips". Hit Channel. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Hiromi: The Trio Project feat. Anthony Jackson & Simon Phillips". Blue Note Jazz Festival. 25 June 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  6. ^ "DarWin Releases Debut Concept Album "Origin Of Species" Internationally Featuring Drum Legend Simon Phillips". Music News Net. 11 February 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  7. ^ Marinescu, Patricia; Bâscă, Dragoş (2016). "Interview – Simon Phillips: I have a distinctive sound". Twin Arts. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  8. ^ RMS (band)

External links[edit]