The Doobie Brothers performed without Michael McDonald during their August 31 show at the Minnesota State Fair. From left to right: Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee.

Jon Bream, Minneapolis Star Tribune

George Varga San Diego Union-Tribune

The Doobie Brothers are still on the freeway after 51 years, despite four of the group members having been stricken with COVID-19.

“We’re back to work, but it’s a weird time for anyone doing this,” said Tom Johnston, singer, guitarist and co-founder of Doobies. “The option is not to go out on tour. Many people have chosen this option.

With or without a pandemic, the longevity of the Doobies is a happy surprise to Johnston, 73.

“When we started we didn’t even know what was going to happen the next day! Johnston called back.

“How does a band know that? You’re just trying to pull yourself together and move on. At the start of this group, we hadn’t done anything yet and we were playing in bars like everyone else. Luckily, we did a demo that got us a recording deal with Warner Bros. Our first album didn’t sell, but the second did. And the rest is history. “

Indeed, it is for the Doobies, whose 19th album, “Freedom”, was released on Friday. The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year, albeit virtually due to COVID-19, and are now starting their 50th anniversary tour – a year later due to the shutdown of live events caused by the pandemic.

48 million albums

The group’s record sales total 48 million albums. A major business force in the 1970s, the Doobies won gold and platinum with their radio mix of rock, blues, gospel and soul. The band has sold over 48 million albums and recorded 16 top 40 hits, thanks to audience favorites such as “Jesus Is Just Alright”, “Black Water”, “Long Train Runnin ‘”, “Listen to the Music “and – after Steely Dan alumnus Michael McDonald has joined us -” What a Fool Believes “and” Minute By Minute “.