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Savoy Brown leader looks forward as band turns 50

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, November 6, 2015

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Some bands spend their 50th anniversary celebrating the past.

For Savoy Brown singer-guitarist Kim Simmonds, it was time to create something new.

"The Devil To Pay" came out this fall and is the latest album in the long career of the British blues-rock group that Simmonds founded during 1965 in London. With dozens of members since then, Savoy Brown has become a musical incubator of sorts, best known as an early stop for the players who went on to form Foghat in 1971. And while Simmonds well knows he could spend the year resting on his laurels, he's happier having something new to play -- and a new configuration, as a trio,to play it in.

"It's been awhile since I've done that with Savoy, and I like it," Simmonds, 67, says by phone. "I think it forces me to be more aggressive and to actually play the guitar. One of the failings through my career with Savoy Brown is I've sometimes been sick and tried of playing gutiar. Some of the albums haven't got much guitar on them. And then if yo've got another guitar player or a keyboard player, as I have in the past, sometimes I'm just quite happy to be in the background.

"But Savoy Brown is always best when I've got the guitar really singing, because it leads the band. I am the band leader, after all; I have to realize now that I should've been more prominent in the past, so if I stick with a three-piece it forces me to be out front, which I think is satisfying for the audience and for myself because I'm doing what I should be doing."

Rest assured, however, that Simmonds is not taking Savoy Brown hitting 50 lightly. He has lots of memories -- even a book at some point, he hopes -- and plenty of perspective about a long history that maybe hasn't scaled the heights of peers such as the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds and Fleetwood Mac but remains more vibrant than active than most who came out of the same scene.

"It certainly doesn't feel like 50 years," Simmonds notes. "The looking back over my shoulder is a little disconcerting because I've never been that kind of person. I'd rather keep on moving. And all of a sudden I'm kind of forced to look over my shoulder and realize I did start before a lot of the people around me.

"But I think I know myself a bit more because I've had to reflect on what I've done, whereas before I never really bothered to figure out who I was or who I am. So now I know that, yes, I've had some great bands and, yes, I've made some very good records,maybe some classics to some people. But I'm glad I didn't revisit those times. It's best left as it is, so it's good to have something new to focus on, too."

Savoy Brown

Saturday, Nov. 7. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

Tickets are $25.

Call 248-540-3030 or visit themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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