John Simms, one of our dearest friends and a musician of limitless talent, passed away last night after a brief illness. Our hearts go out to his beloved Mary.
I loved hanging and schmoozing with John about classic soul music. We'd laugh at the realization that we were probably the only old farts in this town who remembered long-forgotten R&B performers like Jon Lucien and Dennis Coffey. Gotta say, I'll sure miss those late-night conversations with John.
I'll let John speak for himself:
As a guitarist, learning my instrument in the early Seventies, my musical influences were vast. As a vocalist, I really didn't have to search any further than my own family. I became interested in guitar at the age of 12, and at 17, I was making a name for myself as lead guitarist and bandleader for various local R&B and pop bands.
After a while I felt the need to learn more about singing, songwriting and composition. After about two and a half years with the "Softones" and at the end of a second European tour of club dates, I decided to put in my notice to join a German based group called the "Singing Players."
Arriving in Paris I found myself for the first time in my young adult life not in a band, but Arthur and I soon found ourselves recording backing vocals for a number of French recording artists and various musical productions.
I stayed on in France following Arthur's death in 1987 and continued composing, writing and doing studio work. After my wife passed away in 2002 I was no longer sure what direction to take. I prayed for an answer. The time had come . . . I wanted other people to hear the songs I had written over the years.
The result of that collaboration turned out to be John's masterpiece, a beautiful collection that is one of Marti's and my most treasured CDs, one that we've shared with many friends over the years. You can find it on iTunes or at CDBaby.
Marti and I are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend but heartened that his music will live on.