Classic Rock

The Doobie Brothers’ Tom Johnston reflects on the band’s 50-year career

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from left to right: Pat Simmons, Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald, John McFee. Photo by Clay Patrick McBride

The Doobie Brothers are celebrating their 50th anniversary with a new round of tour dates that kicks off May 25 in Hollywood, Florida. Co-founder, lead singer and guitarist Tom Johnston has just announced that he’ll be sitting out this leg of the tour due to back surgery, but reflecting on the band’s five decades, he says he’s surprised they’ve made it that long.

“I don’t think anybody probably thinks that far ahead, there’s no way you can, because you can’t see the future,” he told ABC Audio last month. He adds that the Doobies are the “sort of a band that doesn’t really plan a lot of stuff, other than tours and what have you, and working on an album.”

Noting that most bands probably don’t consider having that kind of longevity, Johnston laughed, “If you find somebody that actually does that, I’d like to meet ’em.”

But one thing that has helped keep The Doobie Brothers going all these years is their loyal fanbase, and these days, that includes some younger folks.

Johnston says he’ll see “a sprinkling” of teens in the crowd, as well as some fans in their 20s, 30s and 40s, who  he says have “been turned on to the music by their parents.” 

Of course, there are also plenty of older fans who grew up with the Doobies, but the age of the fan isn’t something that really matters to Johnston. He explains, “The one thing I like about it is everybody is wild and crazy, doesn’t matter.”  

The Doobie Brothers’ 50th anniversary tour is set to run through October. A complete list of dates can be found at thedoobiebrothers.com.

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