Doobie Brothers’ Pat Simmons Sounds Pretty Sane in This ‘World Gone Crazy’

John McFee, Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Brothers

This has been a tough year for touring, with many music acts singing the blues over anemic concert attendance amidst the recession.  However, “You can make it work if you want to,” contends Pat Simmons. 

The Doobie Brothers’ founding member, currently riding a fresh wave of acclaim with the band’s new “World Gone Crazy” album, goes on, “I think it probably has to do with people’s expectations.  I think some of the bigger artists have expectations that they’re going to sell out stadiums.  Some can’t face having to step down another rung.  People actually cancel tours because they’re unable to accept the fact they’re not filling baseball stadiums.  The problem is with their egos.  Why not go into a smaller venue?  Why not lower your ticket prices?  You have to be realistic.”

At this stage of their careers — with some 30 million in album sales already under their belts — the Doobies “don’t have a lot of illusions about what we do.  We have continued to tour over 20 years with this entity we have.  We’ve been working.  We love it,” says Simmons. “It’s not just a job to us.” 

Not surprisingly, he finds the welcoming reception to “World Gone Crazy” — the band’s first album in a decade – “really satisfying, I have to say.”  The result of a collaboration with their original producer, Ted Templeman, the album features appearances by Willie Nelson and by former member Michael McDonald, along with members Simmons, Tom Johnston, John McFee and Mike Hossack.  They’ve performed live with Nelson and McDonald in recent times, and Simmons won’t be surprised if there are more joint appearances.

“Mike is just a great guy and one of my best friends, so I see him quite often.  To have him do this song (“Don’t Say Goodbye”) was something special for me personally, after playing with him for so many years,” Simmons notes.  “I kind of heard his voice on the track before he did it.  Ted and I were talking one day, and said, ‘You think Mike would come in and do the track?’”  As it turned out, not only did McDonald perform vocals, but his wife Amy – “She’s a great singer,” says Simmons – and past Doobie collaborator Gail Swanson came in as backup vocalists.  “Mike with the two girls,” he says, “it was the exact sound we were looking for.”

4 thoughts on “Doobie Brothers’ Pat Simmons Sounds Pretty Sane in This ‘World Gone Crazy’

  1. George Aldridge

    Michael McDonald is a great singer and I wish he was still with the Doobie Brothers because he adds another dimension to the band. His blues and his soul add greatly. I am glad he got to sing on the new CD. Keep on rockin down the highway Michael!

  2. Doug (DA) Anderson

    I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak with Pat Simmons, at some length, while he was here at the River Rock show last August. He was insightful, lively & alert, and blessed with a steel trap mind when it comes to the who’s who of the west coast music scene for the past 45 years. It was bliss to hear him speak. That weekend were the 26th and 27th times I’ve seen the Doobie’s live since Nov. of ’73 when they opened up for Rare Earth – and then they blew us all away with “The Captain & Me” tunes. Pat and Tommy – you guys rock! …and the other Brothers (current and former) are all super cool!

  3. phoenix

    Been a big fan since ’75 when I was berated for having no Doobie Brothers albums in my collection and to be honest , I had never heard any. Fixed there and then and promptly brought ‘The Doobie Brothers’ , ‘Toulouse Street’ , ‘What Once Were Our Vices…..’ and ‘The Captain And Me’ into my collection. Loved these guys ever since. I come from a colder part of the World than California and it is so easy listening and dreaming of rocking down the highway on a warm day…..enchanting , man. Listen out for a tremendous guitarist from my neck of the woods – Geoff Torrn from Aberdeen , Scotland but now resident in Toronto. Peace !

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