STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
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Music is about the only thing blues guitarist/singer Kim Simmonds has any patience for.
The 68-year-old Simmonds admitted in a phone interview that the nearly constant touring with his band, Savoy Brown, “was tedious (as far back as) when I was 19 because there’s all this waiting around. But I have all the patience in the world for music, so I was meant to play, I was meant to travel.”
Formed in 1965 in London, Savoy Brown was part of the blues rock boom of the late ‘60s that set the stage for ‘70s classic rock. In fact, the astonishingly long list of all the people who have been in the group, at one point or another, includes three members of Foghat.
“It started with ‘Lonesome’ Dave (Peverett),” Simmonds said. “I knew ‘Lonesome’ when he was a child — I knew his younger brother. I saw him play and he was really great. I said: ‘Join the band; we need another guitar player.’ He played that night (with Savoy Brown).”
Then Tony Stevens and Roger Earl joined Savoy Brown. But somewhere during 1968, “we had a falling out, and they went and started Foghat,” Simmonds said, adding that they buried the hatchet and became friends again. According to Simmonds, he even played at a Foghat CD release party for their recent album “Under the Influence.” Peverett passed away in 2000.
“A lot of it is me, for better or worse. I don’t like to stay in one place, and I want to constantly be challenging myself,” Simmonds said of his restless nature, which contributes to the band’s lineup changing every couple years. Since 2012, Savoy Brown has been a trio, with Pat DeSalvo on bass and Garnet Frimm on drums.
“The trio sound is fantastic,” Simmonds said, recalling that Savoy Brown was a trio before in 1979-1980. “It’s good for me. I don’t do well with the guitar jams; I’ve always been the type to retreat into myself. (Being the only guitarist) frees me to be up front. The audiences, they know me as a guitar player; they appreciate me as a guitar player.”
He added that for a long time, someone else would sing the lead vocals in the group before he got enough confidence to take on that role.
While driven to keep moving forward, Simmonds feels that he’s stayed true to himself as musical tastes shifted through glam rock, punk, rap/hip-hop and electronic music. “No matter how good you are, you always go back to basics,” he commented.
With close to 40 albums — both studio and live recordings — to draw from, Simmonds promised a set of “old music, new music (meaning within the past 20 years) and future music” from a Savoy Brown album, due out next year, during a show this weekend at one of the band’s regular tour stops, Sellersville Theater. “It’s modern, in the sense that I’m rocking out,” he said of the new stuff. “But it’s not like The Foo Fighters,” he laughed.
Born in Wales and living in the U.S., Simmonds is grateful that Americans warmed up to albums like “Looking In” and “Hellbound Train,” and songs like “I’m Tired,” ”Lay Back in the Arms of Someone” and “Tell Mama.” “The band was never quite the success in Europe. America is the greatest musical country — everybody can find an audience,” he said.