Simon Phillips (born 6 February 1957) is an English jazz, pop and rock drummer 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.
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.” 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. 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, 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”.