Doobie Brothers have reunited with 70s producer Ted Templeman for their first new album in a decade, “World Gone Crazy,” which is due out on Sept. 28.
Singer-guitarist Tom Johnston tells Billboard.com that the group and Templeman — who helmed the group’s first 10 albums, including “Toulouse Street,” “The Captain and Me,” “Takin’ It to the Streets” and “Minute By Minute” — have been working on the disc for the past three years “off and on, between touring and everything. We were going in the studio and then we’d be on the road, get back in the studio and then be on the road again. It was kind of like the old days, only not as hectic because we…don’t play as many shows as we used to.” The set will be released by the new House of Rock label.
Johnston describes the album as “more musically diverse than anything we’ve done in the past. We cover a kind of large area.” The title track, in fact, was inspired by New Orleans post-Katrina and incorporates Crescent City rhythms and horn charts. “I’ve got another one that’s sort of a funk shuffle type of thing,” Johnston says, “and then I’ve got, for lack of a better word, an English kind of rock ‘n’ roll tune that’s kind of like what I always think of when I think of a pub, that old body rock ‘n’ roll feel.” Band mate Patrick Simmons, according to Johnston, contributed “some pickin’ stuff” including “We Won,” which features a guest appearance by Willie Nelson.
At Templeman’s suggestion the Doobies also re-recorded “Nobody,” the lead-off track from the group’s self-titled 1971 debut album, which will be “World Gone Crazy’s” first single. “It does have a different treatment now than it used to, a different feel,” Johnston says. The Doobies have already filmed a video for “Nobody.”
Johnston says working with Templeman was also different this time around than it was earlier in the group’s career. Back then he was more of a director as well as a producer, and now that’s not really quite the case,” Johnston explains. “Everybody’s matured a great deal in songwriting and playing…so this time i was more like we produced with Ted as much as he produced us. It was kind of a collaboration, and it worked very well.”
The Doobies are planning to film a second video in August, after the group finishes its current tour with Chicago, with a headlining run planned to follow the album’s release. “It’s kind of like starting all over again,” Johnston says. “We haven’t had an album out for 10 years; the last one (‘Sibling Rivalry’) didn’t do that much, so we haven’t had one that people really know since ‘Brotherhood’ in ’91 and, before that, ‘Cycles’ that had ‘The Doctor’ on it. So it is kind of like starting all over again and getting in the new way that music is being marketed and distributed and sold these days, which has changed so dramatically. So we’ll see how we can fit into that.”