Phil Collins’ Guide to Wassailing

Hey there, everybody. This is everyone’s favorite entertainer, Phil Collins, checking in to wish you all a happy holiday season. My first post here got so much positive feedback that Mike asked me back to post again about the holidays. He gave me carte blanche to talk about anything Christmas related, but because I’m a vocalist as well as a drummer and piano player, I figured I would talk about wassailing. Adding notes along the way is my old partner, Philip Bailey.

For the uninformed, wassailing is an ancient English tradition of going door-to-door and singing songs of the season. Afterwards it’s customary for the residents of the house to provide you with refreshments.

Now, I know most of you are thinking: Phil – that sounds just like caroling! While admit it’s similar, it’s not exactly the same. Wassailing is different in that after you’re done singing, you rob the guy’s house.

Philip Bailey’s note: Wassailing’s the kind of girl you dream of! Dream of keeping hold of….you’d better forget it! You’ll never get it!

There are very few rules when it comes to wassailing. You can sing whatever kind of song you like, as long as it’s about Christmas. Be sure to dress warm, as the majority of the time is spent in the cold. Then after you’re done, pull out your crowbar and threaten the homeowner with bodily harm if he refuses to give you his Blu-Ray player. I like to think of it as helping myself to some “refreshments.” Whenever I was on the road with Genesis in the month of December, the guys would always get pissed at me for running off mid-show to go wassail. I told them, “Have you seen our record sales lately, Guy from Mike and the Mechanics? Nobody’s too pumped about Abacab. Go see how much you can get for these khakis I stole.”

Philip Bailey’s note: Wassailing will play around and leave you….leave you and deceive you….better forget it! Ohhh you’ll regret it!

I left the band in the early 90’s because I had to go wassail more often. It’s not that I wanted to steal, I just wanted to have the Christmas spirit in my heart all year ’round. I would go out on an April afternoon, after I got up around 2 or 3, and I’d go sing for various housewives and the unemployed. I’d sing some of my own holiday hits like Christmasland of Confusion, Throwing it All Away Into Santa’s Sack, and It Must Be a Misunderstanding Between Two Reindeer. After I was done, I’d make off with furniture, clothes, and whatever cash they had on their person. This one dude had a gun, so I took that and incorporated that into my other wassails.

Philip Bailey’s note: You’re the one that wants to hold wassailing…hold wassailing and control wassailing…better forget it! You’ll never get it. Wassailing will say that there’s no other….’til wassailing finds another….better forget it! Ohhh you’ll regret it!

Finally, I got my comeuppance. One Christmas Eve, I went to this convenience store to wassail. Apparently the clerk working the counter knew what was up, because halfway through my rendition of Invisible Christmas Touch, he pulled his 12 gauge on me. I was able to disarm him and put one in his shoulder. As I emptied the contents of the register into my burlap sack, I noticed a small Christmas wreath hanging above the counter. I thought to myself, as the clerk writhed around on the ground in pain, have I forgotten the true meaning of Christmas? Have I overemphasized the robbery aspect of wassailing while neglecting to worry about the singing as much? I had an epiphany. I was going to re-dedicate myself to singing without robbing people blind.

Philip Bailey’s note: You’re not the only one….. seeing wassailing is believing!

As I was frozen in my reverie, the police showed up to the scene. Luckily they were super-cool and accepted my bribe. The best part was I gave them the money I had just stolen, so if those bills were marked, the trail leads right back to them and not me. My main point is, even though I’ve given it up, I urge all of you to wassail this holiday season. Learn a wassailing tune like That’s All (The Eggnog I Can Drink). It will put you in the mood for the holidays. Plus, the economy blows, so it can’t hurt to wet your beak a little bit. Trust me, just go out and try it yourself. It’s the only WAAAAAY….

Philip Bailey’s note:…’ll ever kno-ow-ow-ow!


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