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Jeff Moehlis: Kim Simmonds Bringing Savoy Brown to the 805

Shows are set for Friday in Ventura and on Jan. 22 in San Luis Obispo

Guitar legend Kim Simmonds founded British blues rock band Savoy Brown 50 years ago, and has been the only continuous member throughout the band's notable career and frequent lineup changes.

The first Savoy Brown album, Shake Down, came out in 1967 and is credited with helping to spark the British Blues Boom with its covers of songs by the likes of Willie Dixon and John Lee Hooker. The band's later releases mixed up covers with smokin' originals, with classic albums including 1970's Raw Sienna and Looking In, and 1971's Street Corner Talking. Their most recent release is 2014's Goin' to the Delta, which shows that in Simmonds' hands the blues are still alive and well.

Simmonds and Savoy Brown will be performing two shows in our area. This Friday, Jan. 16, they will be at the Ventura Beach Club at 281 W. Main St. in Ventura (tickets are available by clicking here), and on Thursday, Jan. 22 they will be at SLO Brew at 1119 Garden St. in San Luis Obispo (tickets are available by clicking here).

Simmonds answered Noozhawk's questions by email about the upcoming shows and his long career as a musician.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at the upcoming shows?

Kim Simmonds: A mixture of nostalgia (playing the old songs), heavy musicianship and inspiration that the band is still "doing it!"

JM: Can you tell us a bit about the band that will be playing with you?

KS: Garnet Grimm on drums, Pat DeSalvo on bass. Wonderful sympathetic people and musicians who bring the old material alive and have played on the last four releases as well as on the past acoustic solo album.

JM: It's been 50 years since Savoy Brown formed. When you first started out, how long did you think you'd be working as a professional musician? And when did you realize that you're in it for life?

KS: Always gave myself two years ... then another two years ... then another ... . Soon I was in my 40s and realized I could do this til I die.

JM: Why do you think that the blues were embraced so much in Great Britain in the 1960s?

KS: It was honest and unpretentious. It wasn't "show business."

JM: To you, what was Savoy Brown's role in the development of British blues?

KS: We were one of the first truly authentic blues bands that embraced the Chicago style, and inspired many to follow.

JM: I read that in the early days you accompanied John Lee Hooker when he toured England. What was that experience like?

KS: John showed me the power that is in the blues and how it can captivate any audience.

JM: What stands out to you from your early tours of the U.S.?

KS: Playing the Fillmore East made me feel on top of the world. And generally playing in front of educated and enthusiastic audiences across the country.

JM: To you, what are a couple of highlights from the last 50 years?

KS: The last album and the very first album!

JM: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?

KS: Stay focused on one music style. Play to make a living. Work harder than the next person.

JM: What are you plans, musical or otherwise, for the near future?

KS: I have a live album out now and a jazz solo album available at, and I'll have a new studio band release towards the end of this year.

JM: What's the good, the bad and the ugly of being a musician?

KS: Good: It's a love that you can make into a profession. Bad: You have no safety net. Ugly: You attract unscrupulous people.

JM: Do you want to set the record straight on anything about your life, career, etc.?

KS: Too difficult to answer.

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, The opinions expressed are his own.

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