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Simon Phillips (drummer)

Simon Phillips
Phillips in 2013
Background information
Born (1957-02-06) 6 February 1957
London, England
Genres Rock, hard rock, heavy metal, jazz fusion, jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums, percussion, keyboards
Years active 1969–present
Associated acts 801, Hiromi Trio Project, Phil Manzanera, Toto, The Who, Derek Sherinian, David Coverdale, Judas Priest, Far Corporation, RMS, Gary Moore, Michael Schenker Group, PhD, Doves of Fire, Gordon Giltrap, PSP, Jeff Beck, Mike Rutherford, Jon Anderson, Tears for Fears, Mike Oldfield, David Gilmour, Roxy Music

Simon Phillips (born 6 February 1957) is an English jazz, pop and rock drummer[1] and producer, best known for his 22-year stint with Toto.

Phillips first 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 LP 801 Live with Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno. He is also a prolific session drummer, having played for Jeff Beck, The Who, Judas Priest, Tears for Fears, Mike Oldfield and Gary Moore, among others. He was The Who’s drummer in their 1989 American reunion tour. He has released four of his own solo albums. Phillips joined Toto in 1992 after Jeff Porcaro died during rehearsals for an upcoming tour. On January 26, 2014 Phillips left Toto to focus on his own career.

He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2003.[2]


  • Career 1
  • Toto 2
  • Recent projects 3
  • Selected discography 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


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. He quickly became a sought-after session player. By the mid 1980s he was well established on the session scene, 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 best work.

Phillips found an early prominence as the drummer on the 1976 LP 801 Live with Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno.[4] 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.

Phillips has performed and recorded with a wide array of musicians including Big Jim Sullivan, Pete Townshend, Big Country, Toto, Steve Lukather and Los Lobotomys, Jeff Beck, Whitesnake, Jack Bruce, David Gilmour, Frank Zappa,[5] Brian Eno, Duncan Browne, Toyah, Mike Oldfield, Jon Anderson, Bonnie Tyler, Trevor Rabin, Gary Moore, 10cc, Mick Jagger, PhD, Joe Satriani, Russ Ballard, Mike Rutherford, Phil Manzanera, John Wetton, flamenco guitarist Juan Martin, Asia, Stanley Clarke, Jimmy Earl, Derek Sherinian, Nik Kershaw, Gordon Giltrap, Camel, Jordan Rudess and Tears For Fears.

He was the drummer for The Who in their 1989 American reunion tour, and appeared on solo recordings by band members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend.

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 also appeared with Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and others in the video for the 1983 A.R.M.S. concert benefit for Ronnie Lane. In the early 1980s, Phillips formed part of RMS with fellow session musicians, Mo Foster and Ray Russell.

He has released four studio albums of varying styles.

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.

In 2015 at The 14th Annual Independent Music Awards, Simon Phillips was the winner in the "Jazz Instrumental Album" category for "Protocol II".


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.

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.

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 official band's website a reunion for a brief 2010 summer tour in Europe to honor their brother Mike Porcaro who was living with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) which sadly took Porcaro's life in 2015. 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.

As of 26 January 2014, Phillips has departed from Toto to focus on his solo career. He was replaced by Keith Carlock and subsequently, Shannon Forrest, Toto's current drummer.

Recent projects

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.[6]

Phillips playing in PSP in Rome, 2009

Selected discography

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)
Jack Bruce Band
Judas Priest
Jon Anderson
Jeff Beck
Mike Rutherford
Michael Schenker Group
Trevor Rabin
Mike Oldfield
Russ Ballard
  • Russ Ballard (1984)
Nik Kershaw
Tears for Fears
The Who
Big Country
Derek Sherinian
Hiromi, The Trio Project

See also


  1. ^ Allmusic biography
  2. ^ "Modern Drummer’s Readers Poll Archive, 1979–2014".  
  3. ^ Santelli, Robert. "Roger Taylor". Modern Drummer. October 1984.
  4. ^ Allmusic performance credits
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links

  • Simon Phillips official website
  • Simon Phillips Chronology & Releasography Site
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