CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Doobie Brothers' Pat Simmons acknowledges the classic rockers have been kind of a merry-go-round with the band's membership. Over the course of 40 years, band mates have left and returned and left again. The group even broke up for a while back in the 1980s, but Simmons says they're still a rockin' band.
"Because we can, so we do," he said.
The Doobie Brothers will be rocking out Tuesday night at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center in Huntington.
As has been the case for a couple of decades with the band, there are some familiar faces and a few who fans from the old days may or may not know. The current touring lineup includes Simmons and Tom Johnston, half of the original four, as well as guitarist Tom McPhee, who joined the band in 1979, and bass player John Cowan, who started playing with them in 1993. But even the latest additions, like keyboardist Guy Allison and drummers Ed Toth and Tony Pia, have been with The Doobie Brothers for several years.
"Mike Hossack [another founder] would have been with us," he said. "But health issues kept him home."
What's important, however, is the band sounds pretty much the same. This, he thinks, is reflected on the band's latest album, "World Gone Crazy."
"It's not like we're The Beatles or something." He laughed. "We're out making new music, and, if nothing else, we've had some musical integrity through our career. There will always be some things people will listen to and go, 'Wow, that's a good song.' I think we have some good songs on this record."
"As usual, Bill left some big footprints on our album."
Payne, considered one of the best piano players in rock 'n' roll, has appeared on most of The Doobie Brothers' recordings over the years, starting with their 1971 breakthrough album, "Toulouse Street."
"I think we went in and just tried to make the best record we could," Simmons said. "We wanted something we could be proud of."