The Doobie Brothers touring lineup is, from left, Marc Russo, John Cowan, Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, John McFee, Ed Toth, Guy Allison, and Tony Pia.
The Doobie Brothers were inescapable in the 1970s. The band was a mainstay of FM radio with the hits "China Grove," "Listen to the Music," "Black Water," and "What a Fool Believes," and made frequent appearances on network television, including a 1974 performance on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.
And in one of the stranger confluences of popular culture, the Doobie Brothers were guest stars on the second season of What’s Happening! as the mostly white rock-pop band from California performed a special concert at the mostly black high school in the Watts section of Los Angeles where the members (fictionally) graduated.
The two-part episode moralized on the evils of concert bootlegging and the value of friendship, and featured the quasi-classic line “I thought you guys were our friends,” as delivered by guitarist-vocalist Patrick Simmons after the band discovers the three teenage stars of the show illegally tape recording the performance.
Just as the band survived its sitcom appearance, it also survived the myriad comings and goings of band members, most-notably vocalist-keyboardist Michael McDonald.
The constant presences in the group’s 40-year-plus history have been Simmons and Tom Johnston, both of whom continue to front the band, which also features drummer Michael Hossack, who joined the group in 1972, and multi-instrumentalist John McFee, whose history with the Doobie Brothers dates to 1978.
The band has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, including the band’s latest release, 2010’s World Gone Crazy.
The Doobie Brothers will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Centennial Terrace, 5773 Centennial Rd. in Sylvania. Gates open at 6:30 p.m and tickets are $31 for general admission and $60 for reserved. Information: 419-381-8851 or etix.com.