Phillips began to play professionally at the age of twelve in his father's ( Sid Phillips (musician) ) 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 and in 1992, he released two instructional videos displaying some of his best work.
From Simon's website:
Simon'sprofessional musical career began at the early age of twelve,performing and recording with his father's - Sid Phillips - Dixielandband until he turned sixteen. With an offer to play in the musicalJesus Christ Superstar, his path was marked and his career in fullbloom. Simon soon became one of London's most celebrated sessiondrummers. In his early twenties he was well on his way to having amusical career nothing short of brilliance. To date he has toured andrecorded with many bands and artists, including: Mick Jagger, The Who,Jeff Beck, Jack Bruce, Peter Gabriel, Joe Satriani, Tears for Fears,Judas Priest, Roxy Music, Michael Schenker, Nik Kershaw, Phd., AlDiMeola, 801, Pete Townshend, Russ Ballard, Robert Palmer, StanleyClarke, The Pretenders, Jon Anderson, Whitesnake and Dave Gilmour... toname but a few.
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 1992, Phillips joined American group Toto, replacing Jeff Porcaro after his sudden death. He was the first and only drummer that the band contacted to replace Porcaro.
Simon's website states:
In 1992 Simon decided to move to the USA, coinciding with being askedto join Toto for their world tour. He has remained a full time memberever since. After recording the Toto album "Tambu" in 1995, anotheryear of touring followed in 1996, covering Europe, Japan, SE Asia andSouth America.
Nicknamed "Si-Phi" or "Si" by his bandmates in Toto, Simon is 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 (Jul 15, 2008) "to go their separate ways and begin new chapters in their lives", on Feb 27th 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 is living with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).
Expanding his career from drumming to writing solo projects, Simonrecorded his first album "Protocol" in 1988, followed by "ForceMajeure" in 1992. "Symbiosis", which he recorded in 1995, was asspirited but more inspired than ever, and showed a change of directionin the compositions. Simon likes to link his growth in songwriting andnew artistic depth to his move to the States. The 1997 record "AnotherLifetime" shows yet another layer of his tremendously resourcefulplaying and an even more motivated composing. "Out of the Blue", a livealbum, followed in 1998 and in 1999 another complete change of styletook place in his latest record "Vantage Point", which is a pure,straight ahead jazz album.
Yet another expansion to Simon's musical career is producing andengineering, which he first started back in England with Britishcomposer Mike Oldfield, working on three albums with him. Aside fromhis solo projects, Simon also co-produced Toto's "Tambu" in 1995,followed by "Mindfields" in 1998. Simon was asked to engineer thelatest Toto album, and spent a couple of months during the winter of2001/02 recording "Through the Looking Glass" in his own studio. Simonis currently back in his studio mixing a recently recorded show for thenext Toto DVD.
In 2000 Simon took a break from Toto and recorded with DerekSherinian, formally of Dream Theater, as well as produced andengineered "Inertia". The following year included the recording ofprogressive band Planet X, "Moonbabies" and mixing a live CD "Live FromOz".
Simon's sympathy to the various styles of music and his interest insound and arrangements will always drive him to expand his career.
In 2009, Simon 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 "Super Colossal" Album, appearing on multiple tracks.
Phillips' trademark is his precise, creative and very dramatic style. His fills often begin earlier than is expected, often beginning on the "2-and" and continuing to build until "1" of the next bar. His use of metric modulation is notable, and he often uses it to build tension in sections of songs with repeated chord progressions. He often uses double bass drums in the context of a fill.
Phillips has been an endorser of Tama drums for 30 years. His carefully tuned and dynamic drum sound is highly identifiable, and he uses large drums and incorporates octobans and a gong drum in his kit.
Noted for his versatility, Phillips plays diverse styles, including rock, fusion, metal, prog, and jazz. He also plays open-handed, meaning that he plays the hi-hat with his left hand and the snare with the right, not crossing his hands, though he usually uses this technique when playing jazz fusion. The ride cymbal is also played left instead of right, even though he is right-handed. He will occasionally ride with the right hand, especially on the 22" china, and the 12" Special Recording hi-hats on the right side of his kit (they were abandoned for a third floor tom).
Simon Phillips (born 6 February 1957 in London) is an English jazz, pop and rock drummer.
Simon Phillips is by far one of theworld's most renowned and respected drummers, whose style not onlyreflects his technical gift but also his distinct musical sensibility.Whether it is Rock, Fusion or Jazz, Simon applies the same precisionand intensity to his drumming, which is never lacking in emotion andfeel.
Simon Phillips found an early prominence as the drummer on the acclaimed 1976 LP 801 Live with Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno. He went on to play with a wide array of musicians including Big Jim Sullivan, The Who, (including the solo efforts of Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey), Big Country, Toto, Steve Lukather and Los Lobotomys, Jeff Beck, Judas Priest, Whitesnake, Michael Schenker, Jack Bruce, Brian Eno, Duncan Browne, Toyah, Mike Oldfield, Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Gary Moore, 10cc, Mick Jagger, Ph.D., Joe Satriani, Mike Rutherford, Phil Manzanera, John Wetton, flamenco guitarist Juan Martin, Asia, Stanley Clarke, Derek Sherinian, Nik Kershaw, Gordon Giltrap, Jordan Rudess and Joe Satriani.