The Doobie Brothers, one of the great blue-eyed soul boogie rock bands of our time, will be “rockin’ down the highway” in a performance planned for 8 p.m. on April 13 at Riverside’s Fox Performing Arts Center.
You know the songs, of course: “China Grove,” “Black Water,” “Minute By Minute,” and “Listen To The Music,” are just a few of their 1970s hits that are still staples of FM radio playlists across the country.
Two of the founding Brothers — Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons — who both share vocal and guitar duties and have written many of the Doobies’ best known songs, continue to entertain their fans across the globe, 40-plus years after starting the band.
Johnston tells SWRNN.com why the Doobies keep “taking it to the streets” after all these years.
“Well, it’s what we love to do,” said Johnston. “The audience keeps us going. That’s the important factor — the interaction with the audience. The main goal is the give and take between us and our fans. That’s what it’s all about.”
At the heart of the Doobies’ sound has always been the distinctive guitar and lead vocal styles of Johnston and Simmons. Think Johnston’s “China Grove” compared to Simmons’ “Black Water.”
“Pat and I met back in 1969, and he brought his unique finger-picking style to the band, plus he could sing. I’m more of a power strummer — more of a ‘chunka-chunka’ rhythm guitarist. These two styles have defined the sound of the Doobie Brothers,” Johnston said.
As for what the Doobies have in store this year after their current tour which will see the band criss-cross the U.S. through August, there are tentative plans of going back into the studio to record a new album.
“There’s a possibility of an upcoming project that involves other (current) artists performing and recording our well-known songs,” said Johnston. “There’s no ink on the paper, as they say, but it’s being discussed and a big country producer is in the mix. I don’t want to jinx it, but it looks like it may happen.”
Regardless if that project takes flight, the bottom line is that the Doobies have no plans on slowing down. Where there’s a loving audience, there will be the Doobie Brothers.
As Johnston reminds us, “More than ever, it’s all about the songs and the music.”
Fox Performing Arts Center is located at 3801 Mission Inn Ave. in Riverside.
For ticket and venue information, please visit www.foxriversidelive.com
Chris Baptiste is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.