CONNECTICUT (CelebrityAccess) Mikey Leonard, guitarist and original member of the Simms Brothers Band of Connecticut, has died.
Few details were available at press time outside of a Facebook post dated April 4.
Leonard has played with Angela Bofill, Marvin Gaye, Renaissance and others. Budd Tunick has been management and production consultant for artists Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton and many more.
The Simms Brothers were known to be the backup singers on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album and the keyboard player also played keys in Nile Rogers’ Chic.
The band was formed in early 1974 in southwestern Connecticut. The group began as a trio; Frank and George Simms, and Dave Spinner, composed their harmonies set to an acoustic guitar and played local coffee houses. With Budd Tunick handling the booking, they regularly appeared at popular seventies Manhattan nightclubs like Tramps, Reno Sweeny’s, Catch a Rising Star, and The Bitter End.
The trio became a true rock band with the addition of Leonard on lead guitar, Ted MacKenzie, drums, Doug “Shimmy” Maki, bass, and Rob Sabino, from the Bronx, on keyboards, late in 1975. Ted moved on a few months later, and Budd Tunick replaced him, after serving as the band’s manager up to that time. They became regulars throughout Connecticut at clubs like The Player’s Tavern of Westport, and Toad’s Place in New Haven with their blend of original tunes and sophisticated arrangements of unique popular tunes. In 1979, The listeners of WPLR, the area’s largest and most popular rock radio station, voted The Simms Brothers Band Connecticut’s number one act.
Current members still work in today’s music industry. Frank and George Simms, Dave Spinner, and newest member Dennis Collins, have sung as soloists and group artists with David Bowie, Sting, Celine Dion, Chaka Khan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Billy Joel, Elvis Costello, Brian Wilson, Madonna, Carly Simon, Dionne Warwick, Roberta Flack, INXS, Serge Gainsbourg and others throughout the world.