ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON MAY 21, 1998
By Steve Newton
I know a little about seminal blues-rockers Savoy Brown. I know that they’ve been around since 1966, that founding guitarist Kim Simmonds is the only original member left, and that the boogie tune “Tell Mama” used to rock my world in the early ’70s.
What’s news to me is that the band has earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records in the category Most Personnel Changes in a Rock Group.
“It’s hilarious, isn’t it?” says Simmonds, chuckling on the line from a Minneapolis hotel. “The amount of people that have been in the band is enormous, and what I did to commemorate the 30th year is put a T-shirt out with all the names of the band members on it.
“I restricted it to the guys that actually recorded with me, and that whittled it down quite a bit. They still had to be triple-X large, of course.”
The latest band members are vocalist-bassist Nathaniel Peterson and drummer T.G. Xiques, who will accompany Simmonds when Savoy Brown plays the Yale on Thursday (May 21). Simmonds is convinced that the current lineup is one of the best in the band’s 32-year history.
“Nathaniel has this great star quality about him,” claims the veteran rocker, “and his voice kind of takes the band back to the ’60s, to that classic period. He’s the best singer I’ve had for years and years, and it sort of enhances my guitar-playing, I guess.”
Although Simon’s latest release is a solo album of acoustic blues, he promises that the current Savoy Brown set is an upbeat and electric mix of tunes from the band’s 25 or so recordings.
“I started off this year reviewin’ all the material from all the albums,” he points out, “and seeing what I was gonna play and what I wasn’t gonna play. And the only reason I do the old things is if I can breathe new life into them.”
Fortunately for fans of ’70s-era Savoy, Simmonds still manages to resuscitate tunes like “Hellbound Train” and “Tell Mama”. And speaking of classic boogie blues, word on the Internet has it that Simmonds recently jammed with his old bandmates Dave Peverett, Roger Earl, and Tony Stevens (who left Savoy Brown to form Foghat in ’71).
So could a reunion of one of Savoy Brown’s classic lineups be in the works?
“Everybody asks me about that,” says Simmonds, who turned 50 last December. “We’re such good friends again now, and when we did jam together it took us right back to the very beginning, and it’s a fantastic feelin’.
“We sold lots of albums and had a terrific fan following, but the band was never huge–never the Eagles or anything like that–so I don’t know if [a reunion] makes a lotta sense. But if we’re gonna do somethin’ we should do it quick, because we’re not gettin’ any younger, obviously.”