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No (Strait)jacket Required

Photo: Reuters, Denis Balibouse

After weeks of speculation and rumors — about his declining health, “bad press” and his relationship with fans — former Genesis frontman-turned-soft rock station staple Phil Collins took to the Web with his version of “Breaking News.”

“Many of the articles printed over the last few months have ended up painting a picture of me that is more than a little distorted,” Collins posted Monday on PhilCollins.com.

In his post, Collins wrote that these articles (notably, a recent interview in British FHM) portrayed him as a “tormented weirdo.” In response, the singer-songwriter-drummer explained that he’s really quite normal and in fact “just wants to be a full-time dad to his two young sons.”

With his clarification picked up by dozens of media outlets — the AP, USA Today, E! Online, BBCAmerica.com, Today’s Parent, People.com and The Onion, among others — and links breathlessly shot out via Twitter and Facebook, Collins managed to generate the most diverse coverage he’s had since 1985, when he played same-day Live Aid sets in both London and Philadelphia. This time, though, all it took was a Web post.

The Grammy- and Oscar-winning voice of unforgettable hits (including “Illegal Alien,” “Sussudio” and “You Can’t Hurry Love”) also emphasized that although he’s no longer able to beat drums, he’s by no means retiring.

No way, said the now 60-year-old Collins. Just taking some “serious time off.”

Watch Phil Collins rock the house in ’85, back before he needed “time off”:

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