Live Pre­views

Classic Rock - - Contents -

Must-see gigs from The Doo­bie Brothers, Dweezil Zappa, Redd Kross, Mount Holly and Jonny Lang. Plus full gig list­ings – find out who’s play­ing where and when.

The band pre­view their first UK shows in seven years, in­clud­ing BluesFest dates.

As part of the Cal­i­for­nian band’s first UK visit since 2010, the Doo­bie Brothers are to co-head­line this year’s BluesFest in Lon­don and Dublin, along­side Steely Dan. Their co-found­ing gui­tarist, lead singer and key­board player Tom John­ston sets the scene.

Last month the Doo­bies played sta­dium shows in Cal­i­for­nia and New York along­side the Ea­gles, Fleet­wood Mac, Steely Dan, Jour­ney and Earth, Wind & Fire. Were you able to watch the new-look Ea­gles?

Yeah. I saw them in New York and they were phe­nom­e­nal. Vince Gill fit­ted right in – as you’d ex­pect, as he’s an amaz­ing singer and mu­si­cian. Glenn Frey’s son Dea­con also did a great, con­fi­dent job. They put on quite a show. I was very im­pressed.

Steely Dan had Larry Carl­ton dep­ping for Wal­ter Becker, who of course re­cently passed on. Did you know Wal­ter well?

No, I didn’t. Our bands toured to­gether back in the 1970s and I haven’t seen Wal­ter since, but

I’m a huge fan of Steely Dan. As we started, they were get­ting started and a lot of their tunes re­ally res­onated with me.

Don­ald Fa­gen says that he in­tends to keep Steely Dan’s mu­sic alive for as long as he is able and will def­i­nitely be at BluesFest. How were they with Carl­ton on guitar?

I wanted to get out and watch them at the sound­board but had to make do with a mon­i­tor in the dress­ing room, but they sounded great. You guys in Lon­don and Dublin are in for a treat – I can’t imag­ine fans of ei­ther band go­ing away dis­ap­pointed. The BluesFest shows will be great.

Is it stretch­ing things a lit­tle to call the Doo­bies a blues band?

Yeah, I guess so [laughs]. The thing that’s made the Doo­bies what they are is the amount of in­flu­ences that go into our mu­sic. Blues, and rhythm and blues, is cer­tainly one of them, but there’s also folk blues, and John McFee [gui­tarist] comes from a coun­try back­ground and has played on many, many rock al­bums that you would know all about. It’s a con­glom­er­ate of sound, but it all fits to­gether re­ally well. We never sought one par­tic­u­lar di­rec­tion.

Why has it been seven years since the Doo­bies last toured the UK?

Well, it’s a good ques­tion and I wish that I knew the an­swer. We re­ally need to spend more time over there than we do, but at least on this trip we are also do­ing some dates of our own [in York, Glas­gow and Manch­ester].

At those re­cent open-air shows in the States, al­most all of the band’s set com­prised FM ra­dio hits. Do you still be­lieve in play­ing the songs that peo­ple want to hear?

Well, that wasn’t your av­er­age show. At our own shows we can get away with play­ing a few more deep cuts, but we know that any­where we go, peo­ple want to hear the hits. And if you want to get a re­sponse then just whip out Long Train Run­nin’, Lis­ten To The Mu­sic and China Grove.

Bill Payne of Lit­tle Feat is the band’s tour­ing key­boardist. That’s quite a coup.

What a phe­nom­e­nal ad­di­tion

Billy is – he played on just about ev­ery al­bum we ever did, in­clud­ing most of the ones for Warner Brothers, and it’s great to hear that sound of his com­ing from that cor­ner of the stage each night.

Now seven years old, World Gone Crazy is the band’s last record of orig­i­nal ma­te­rial. Will there be a fol­low-up?

Yes, and we’re al­ready work­ing on the songs. What stymies that is the fact that we’re on the road all the time. We end for the year in Novem­ber and we’ll hit the stu­dio right af­ter­wards.

As we’ve dis­cussed, it seems like al­most no­body is in­dis­pens­able in rock’n’roll any more. Would you like the Doo­bies to carry on af­ter you’re gone?

[Af­ter a slightly shocked si­lence] No­body’s ever asked me that be­fore and to be hon­est, I’ve never re­ally con­sid­ered it. All I can say is that I don’t plan on go­ing any­where, and I’ll keep on do­ing this un­til I no longer can. DL

“The thing that makes the Doo­bies is the

amount of in­flu­ences in our mu­sic. We never sought one par­tic­u­lar


The Doo­bie Brothers play BluesFest Dublin on Oc­to­ber 28 and Lon­don 29.


The Doo­bies were formed in 1970.

none of their mem­bers, past or present, are brothers.

Past line-ups have in­cluded michael mcDon­ald and Jeff ‘skunk’ Bax­ter.

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