Simon Phillips is by far one of the world’s most renowned and respected drummers, whose style not only reflects his technical gift but also his distinct musical sensibility. Whether it is Rock, Fusion or Jazz, Simon applies the same precision and intensity to his drumming, which is never lacking in emotion and feel.
Simon’s professional musical career began at the early age of twelve, performing and recording with his father’s, Sid Phillips, Dixieland band until he turned sixteen when he joined the London production of the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Simon soon became one of London’s most celebrated session drummers. In his early twenties he was well on his way to having a musical career nothing short of brilliance. To date he has toured and recorded with many bands and artists, including: Mick Jagger, The Who, Jeff Beck, Jack Bruce, Peter Gabriel, Joe Satriani, Tears for Fears, Judas Priest, Roxy Music, Michael Schenker, Nik Kershaw, Al DiMeola, 801, Pete Townshend, Robert Palmer, Stanley Clarke, The Pretenders, Whitesnake and Dave Gilmore… to name but a few.
Expanding his career from drumming to writing, Simon recorded his first solo album “Protocol” in 1988, followed by a live album, “Force Majeure”, in 1992.
During that year he got a call to join Toto on their Kingdom Of Desire tour of the World and this was the start of a 20 year collaboration.
He recorded his third solo album, “Symbiosis”, in 1995 and “Another Lifetime” in 1997. He formed his own band and toured Europe and Japan. “Out of the Blue”, a live album, followed in 1998 and in 1999 another complete change of style took place and resulted in “Vantage Point”, which is a pure, straight ahead jazz album in collaboration with pianist Jeff Babko.
Yet another expansion to Simon’s musical career is producing and engineering, which he first started back in England with British composer Mike Oldfield, working on three albums with him. Aside from his solo projects, Simon also co-produced Toto’s “Tambu” in 1995, followed by “Mindfields” in 1998 and “Through the Looking Glass” in 2002.
The next two years saw more intense touring throughout the World for Toto including the shooting of a DVD at Amsterdam’s Heineken Hall.
Recording of Toto’s final release “Falling In Between” commenced in February of 2005 at Simon’s own studio, Phantom Recordings. He was kept busy with engineering duties as well as playing and composing and sharing production duties with Steve Lukather and David Paich.
The release of this album in February 2006 was followed by the “Falling In Between” World tour playing 177 shows in 31 countries.
In 2009 he re-formed his solo band once more and toured Japan. He then partnered up with long time associate and friend, Philippe Saisse and formed PSP together with Pino Palladino.
In 2010 he joined Michael Schenker for a short tour of Japan – the first time playing with Michael since the recording of the Michael Schenker Group in 1980. Also that year he performed with Trilok Gurtu and the NDR Big Band for an amazing project resulting in the “21 Spices” CD – a fusion of Indian, World and Jazz music.
After a break of a couple years Toto reformed and embarked on World Tours in 2011 and 2012 and then again in 2013 for the 35th Anniversary Tour and DVD filming. Simon was an intricate and instrumental part of the Band Toto for 21 years, a part of his legacy and journey close to his heart.
Simon has also been in the studio 2013 and 2014 with up and coming artist Billie Rainbird producing her first major album due out Fall 2014.
And now, 25 years after his first solo recording, Simon has released Protocol II featuring Andy Timmons (Gtr), Steve Weingart (Keys) and Ernest Tibbs (Bass) and has toured Europe, Japan and the US with this exciting new band!! Protocol II will be back in Europe touring Fall 2014!
As guitarist for pop-metal band Danger Danger, he toured the world opening for Kiss and Alice Cooper, sold over a million records worldwide, and had two #1 videos on MTV, plus amassing a discography that includes 7 solo releases that range from blazing guitar instrumentals, to blues, and even a Beatles/Elvis Costello-inspired collection of pop tunes.
As a session player, he’s been highly featured on CDs by drumming legend Simon Phillips, a live CD with Olivia Newton-John (Andy has been her music director/guitarist for several U.S. tours), two internationally acclaimed CDs by Kip Winger, recording sessions for Paula Abdul, Paul Stanley, and countless radio and television jingles. He has also played alongside many of his heroes such as Steve Vai and Joe Satriani (as a regular guest on their G3 tours in Dallas), Eric Johnson, Steve Morse, Mike Stern, Ace Frehley, Ted Nugent, and Pierre Bensusan, as well as some of his fave ’60′s singing stars such as the Beach Boys, Lesley Gore, and Gordon Waller (of Peter and Gordon fame!)
Andy’s musical career began in his hometown of Evansville, Indiana at the age of 13 with his first band, Taylor Bay. “Early on, I realized that making it in a rock band was such a long-shot, that I better figure out other ways of making a living playing guitar. I began reading about players like Steve Lukather and Larry Carlton who made their living as session musicians. This really appealed to me, since I really loved a wide variety of musical styles.”
The decision to pursue the studio scene led him to more serious music studies. He studied classical guitar for two years before moving to Miami to study jazz guitar at the University of Miami (largely because the Dixie Dregs, Pat Metheny, and Jaco Pastorius had all gone there). He eventually ended up in Dallas where he was very fortunate to get a foot in the door of a very good studio scene. In 1988, the Andy Timmons band was formed and he quickly gained a following in Texas. Around that time, Epic recording artists Danger Danger recruited him to finish their debut record, film several videos, and begin touring.
After 4 years in New York with Danger Danger, Andy returned to Dallas in 1993 to resume his studio career and the Andy Timmons Band. His first solo release, ear X-tacy, was released in 1994 to critical acclaim followed by 1997′s ear X-tacy 2. He then released Pawn Kings (1997), Orange Swirl (1998), The Spoken and the Unspoken (1999), and And-thology 1 & 2 (2000). In 2001 Andy signed with Favored Nations and released his first international record, That Was Then, This is Now, a compilation of the first two ear X-tacy records and five new tracks. Resolution (2006) marked Andy’s first full-length new release for Favored Nations.
Andy has been consistently voted a “Top 20 Favorite Guitarist” in most of Japan’s rock music magazine’s reader polls, as well as being voted “Musician of the Year” four years in a row in the acclaimed Dallas Observer Music Awards. He also has become one of the most respected and sought after clinicians representing Ibanez Guitars, touring the world on their behalf.
Steve Weingart’s musical journey began when his parents, recognizing his gift at the age of three, sought out the best piano teacher in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio. A critical foundation of classical studies followed that allowed Steve to appreciate the complex compositions of contemporary artists who would ultimately influence his professional career as a composer and keyboard player. Through his future brother-‐ in-‐law, Steve was introduced to the compelling music of Chicago, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea and he knew then that music would be his life.
After high school, Steve was awarded a full scholarship to The College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio where he was introduced to the world of improvisation. Steve soon realized it was time to take the next step and make the move to Los Angeles where he could expand his opportunities. While teaching at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, he began playing with local greats and soon found himself in the midst of a Jazz/Latin/Funk trio with Marco Mendoza on bass and vocals, and Joey Heredia on drums. Steve credits his work with this trio for his good fortune and it was at that time he met many established musicians including drummer Dave Weckl. He spent a few years touring the world with Weckl’s band in addition to writing and co-‐writing songs for numerous albums including ‘Transition’, ‘Perpetual Motion’, ‘Live and Very Plugged In’, and ‘Multiplicity’.
Steve also met and has become widely known for his work with Steve Lukather, aka: ‘Luke’ (Toto, Los Lobotomys, L.A. guitar session legend). His first experience was in 2005 with ‘El Grupo’. The band toured in Japan and Europe to wide acclaim and released a live CD: “El Grupo-‐Live”. Following up this experience, Luke invited Steve to play a few tracks on his 2008 album, ‘Ever Changing Times’. This led to Steve becoming Luke’s Music Director for his live performances. The touring experience proved so successful, that Steve returned to the studio to record on Luke’s follow up albums ‘Alls Well That Ends Well’ (2010) and the recent ‘Transition’ (2013).
Other notable projects Steve participated in with Luke include a tour of Asia in the spring of 2010 with “Soul Bop” (Randy Brecker, Bill Evans, Robben Ford, Darryl Jones, and Rodney Holmes), the “40th Anniversary of the Baked Potato” Jazz Club (Vinnie Colaiuta and Tal Wilkenfeld), an autumn European tour with “Good Fellas” (Kenny Aronoff, and Fabrizio Grossi), and a January 2011 New York City appearance with “Toxic Monkey” (Bill Evans, Will Lee and Keith Carlock).
2006 brought about Steve’s highly anticipated solo project, ‘Dark Blue Dream’. It was received with great approval in the music world and moved Chick Corea to proclaim it “a powerful musical statement.” The core personnel included Frank Gambale on guitar, Tom Brechtlein on drums, and Jimmy Earl on bass. The album also introduced the talents of Steve’s wife, Renee, who sang and played bass on a few select tracks.
Steve’s next project, 2011′s ‘Dialogue’ was particularly exciting. It showcased Steve’s best instrumental composing to date in addition to being co-written with his wife, Renee, and included her playing bass on the entire project. Also very notable is Steve’s association with co-‐producer and drummer, Simon Phillips (Toto, Jeff Beck, The Who, Stanley Clarke). Steve and Simon displayed a singularity in vision for the musical endeavor, and it is quite evident upon listening to the very high production value. Special guests Steve Lukather, Victor Wooten, and Lenny Castro joined the core band of Simon Phillips on drums, Renee Jones on bass/vocals, Mike Miller on guitar, and Katisse Buckingham on saxes/flutes.
In 2012, the core band of Weingart, Jones, Phillips and Buckingham reunited with drummer/percussionist Chris Wabich for the recording of ‘Observatory’, their second release in as many years. Tapping into the influence of the music legends that inspired them (Joe Zawinul & Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Wayne Shorter), Steve and Renee dramatically thrust the genre in new directions with ‘Observatory’ by expressing a potent mixture of compositional risk, a refined sonic palette and superb musical craftsmanship.
Graduated from Bass Institute of Technology in 1989 and received the Bass Student of the Year Award. Since then, he’s gone on to develop an impressive list of credits, including work with Natalie Cole, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight (musical Madam Lilly), James Ingram, Melba Moore, Eloise Laws, and Debra Laws.
Ernest has also toured and/or performed with Allan Holdsworth, Andy Summers, Jeff Richman, Thom Rotella, David Benoit, David Garfield, Phil Upchurch, Dan Segal, Tom Scott, Eric Marienthal, Brian Auger, Ronnie Laws, Jeff Lorber, Kevin Toney, Pat Kelley, Lee Ritenour, John Pisano, Brian Bromberg, Brandon Fields, Norman Brown, Russian Pop Star Alsou, as well as symphony orchestras in San Francisco, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. Recently, Ernest was a member of the Debbie Allen directed musical “TWIST” at the Pasadena Playhouse in Los Angeles, California.
Ernest has been part of the teaching staff at Musician’s Institute for 19 years. He’s also made recent clinic/concert appearances with Mike Stern, Danny Gottlieb, and Oz Noy.
His TV appearances include two appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Rosie O’Donnell Show, and the 2002 American Idol finale.
His recording credits are equally impressive: Phil Upchurch & the Phil-Harmonic Orchestra, David Garfield, David Benoit, Pat Kelley, Kevin Toney, Carlton Schroeder, Mijares, MSM Shmidt, Vernell Brown, Jr., Ray Fuller, and Sonny Axell. He was also a part of the recording band for “Livin’ for Live”: The Natalie Cole Story.