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The Doobie Brothers are still Rockin’ Down the Highway

You know their songs, you recognize the music that has been around for over four decades with the heavy guitar laden sound, and once again the Doobie Brothers will be making a stop in WNY when they play Seneca Allegany Casino on Saturday, April 13th.

With 4 Grammy’s, an induction into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, over 48 million records sold, multi platinum and gold albums, this band has become as iconic as their hit songs… “China Grove”, “Takin’ It to the Streets”, “What a Fool Believes”, “Long Train Runnin’” and “Listen to the Music” to name a few.

I had the immense pleasure to talk with one of the original & founding members, Patrick Simmons, recently about the band and its history, their unique album that brought some of country music’s giants together to put a new twist on some of their most well known hits and playing a couple of shows recently that Simmons says they have always wanted to try… doing 2 full albums.

“I think the reason we are still going and gaining new fans all the time is due to YouTube and social media”, said the Simmons. “People are always looking for something new and there we are. We’ve been lucky not to be pigeon holed into a certain genre, which lends itself to be heard in many different music categories”, he added.

As far as any new projects Simmons said, “We are doing some recording right now… not sure what it will turn into, but it’s sounding pretty good and we’re looking forward to having some new music out there in the spring.”

For tickets visit: www.senecacasionos.com and click on Seneca Allegany

For more info on the band visit: thedoobiebrothers.com


HULICK: How long has this current band been together?

SIMMONS: Well Tommy Johnston and I have been together since 1969. John McFee joined in 1978. Then the members range from the early ‘90’s down to about five years ago.

HULICK: A lot of the members have played with other bands throughout the years, so you have many musical influences when you record and tour.

SIMMONS: Yes. Pretty much everyone has played with other bands from time to time with Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Huey Lewis, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, James Taylor, Kenny Loggins and even some salsa bands. Tommy and I are really the only two that are Doobie Brothers forever. (laughs)

HULICK: How did your shows in November 2018 go where you performed tow full albums?

SIMMONS: Really good. Funny you mention that… I just saw the rough cut of the film we did in conjunction with those shows last night and I think it works. This was different because we never played some of those songs to a live audience, so that was pretty cool. It allowed us to do some of the songs that we originally recorded in sort of a rush because we had to get the album out. Now we are pretty seasoned as a band and we were able to have that show through. In the music industry we call that polishing turds… (laughs). We had a lot of turds to polish. (laughs)

HULICK: (laughs) Well that’s the first time I’ve heard that expression.

SIMMONS: (laughs) The other part is that we had a lot of fun doing this and I think that’s the most important part. Other bands have done full album shows, but these shows were our first go round and we wanted that challenge of can we do this… can we resurrect these tunes and play them with conviction, and I think we did that.

HULICK: I think in the context of your music your songs are not something you would look silly doing decades later, so your music lends itself to be able to doing full albums. For your super fans it’s something fun to hear and see you do songs on your albums that you haven’t done live before that they have known and have listened to for many years.

SIMMONS: That’s exactly right.

HULICK: Your album, “Southbound”, was another first for the band, which had you recording some of your iconic hits with some heavy hitters in country music like Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band, Toby Keith and Brad Paisely. That offered your fans a new twist of your music.

SIMMONS: Yes. The songs pretty much stayed in our lane, but we added in some steel guitar, bottle neck, banjo, mandolin… other instrumentation that we don’t do. So that was a lot of fun.

HULICK: A word that is synonymous with the band is “relevant”. Who do you consider in today’s music scene that would be considered relevant a decade and beyond with their music?

SIMMONS: Oh… I love Train and consider them to be in that category… Adele will be relevant forever… obviously Hip Hop artists will still be out there… Snoop Dogg will always be Snoop Dogg probably forever (laughs)… he’s one of those iconic guys.

HULICK: What is your favorite song to do live?

SIMMONS: Oh, gee… I like playing “Long Train Runnin’”. That’s one of my favorites. I dig the groove and it’s just fun to play. “Black Water” is still a fun song for us. “Listen To The Music” I still love to play because it’s one of those happy audience participation songs.

HULICK: Do you have a message to your fans who will be coming to your show?

SIMMONS: Rock out! We’re looking forward to being there doing our thing!