Name: Pat Simmons
Home: Maui, HI
Occupation: Lead singer and guitarist for The Doobie Brothers
Photo: Total Assault Music
“I got my first bike in 1970, the same year we formed The Doobie Brothers band. A friend gave me a BSA 441 Victor basket case, and that was my crash course in motorcycle mechanics. Armed with a crescent wrench, a couple screwdrivers and pliers—I didn’t even have any metric tools—I put it back together. I’ll be damned if it didn’t start up and run!
“I still have a 441 Victor—not the same one—but what I’m really into is old American bikes. I’ve got about 25 or 30, most of which are early American bikes from the teens.
"My main ride is this 1965 Panhead. I bought it maybe 16 years ago, at the MidAmerica Motorcycle Auction in Las Vegas. The band happened to be in town playing when a friend called from the auction and suggested I stop by to check it out. I noticed the Pan as soon as I walked in, and thought it was a neat bike. I put the first bid in just for fun, not expecting to buy it. But when the price didn’t go very high, I bid again and ended up with the bike. I didn’t even have any money with me—I had to borrow the amount from my friend!
“I live in Hawaii and it’s the perfect bike for riding here. It’s just three speeds, and it’s very comfortable at 55-60 mph, which is perfect for an island with no freeways. It’s old enough to be cool, but it’s modern enough that I can ride it regularly without feeling like I’m killing it. Plus, it’s the same color as my favorite Gibson ES-335 guitar, which is from the same era.
“Music is my main hobby, and motorcycling is a close second. The two have been intertwined since the beginning. We started playing clubs around the San Francisco Bay Area, many where motorcycle clubs, including the Hell’s Angels, hung out. We played blues-rock, which really connected with the biker crowd. We were also riders ourselves; we all had bikes and lived that lifestyle. We identified with them and vice versa. We still have that biker connection today. We just released our 13th album, World Gone Crazy, and we’ll probably play 90-100 shows this year, many at motorcycle events. Whenever we’re offered motorcycle-associated gigs we go for it, and we probably enjoy those more than other gigs that don’t have a motorcycle component.”