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What’s Up, Southtown?
September 15, 2012
Southtown band members
Todd "Rooster Simoneau,
Brad Errigo, and David Brown.
of the Tribune
Known on Facebook and YouTube as SouthtownKC, the cover band Southtown plays covers from Prince to ACDC. Their most popular cover is “Sweet Home Alabama,” and their biggest fans are their wives, mothers and children.
It all started two years ago in Kevin Root’s basement. Root and his buddy from Ruskin High School’s class of ’86, David Brown, had small “band nights” every Saturday night. Root plays lead guitar, and Brown is the lead singer.
“I think it was a strong start for the band,” Root said. “Brown and I are like brothers so there was chemistry between lifelong friends. The band has a strong foundation and that’s what gets us through the trials and tribulations.”
Meanwhile, Todd “Rooster” Simoneau and Brad Errigo were doing the same thing at Simoneau’s place. Simoneau and Errigo work at Root Dental Lab together, which is how they met Root years ago. Simoneau plays bass guitar without reading a note of music, and Errigo keeps the beat on the drums.
On October 8, 2011 Southtown played their first gig together at Richey’s Club in downtown Kansas City.
“I always thought it’d be cool to be in a band,” Brown said. “And Southtown just happened.”
The name of the band originated from Brown. He and Root were talking about possible band names, and they both liked the idea of Southtown because they came from the Hickman Mills School District, which is the southernmost part of the Kansas City area. The next time Brown saw Root, he said, “What’s up, Southtown?” Since then, the band has been known by that name.
Bryce Campbell came into the picture during February of this year after his previous band broke up. Southtown found Campbell because his brother worked with Simoneau’s daughter.
“And here we are eight months later,” Campbell said.
Campbell is actually 20 years younger than the other guys, but he fits into the band like a missing puzzle piece. The ages make no difference to the chemistry of the band.
“Root and I were jamming in the basement for fun in the early 90s,” Errigo said. “Campbell was born in ’92.”
Campbell is a master on the guitar. He picked up his first guitar when he was 12-years-old, he took lessons from three different people and he’s been playing on his own ever since.
“I just like to have fun,” Campbell said. “I’ve been playing with older guys since I was 14.”
Root admits that when he struggles with a chord he goes to Campbell for help. Although he is younger, Campbell can always show Root, Brown, Simoneau and Errigo a thing or two. The guys agree that Southtown is definitely about teamwork.
“I love the crowd response because you know you’re entertaining,” Simoneau said. “We do it because it’s fun and we’ll do it until it’s not fun anymore. It’s not about the money, if it was I would quit my job.”
The band members of Southtown aren’t the only ones having fun. The families of the guys, especially the wives who are considered “Southtown Groupies”, also enjoy watching their guys perform.
“The band makes the wives get together too. We all enjoy our spouses having a good time on stage,” Terry Simoneau said.
Band practice is held at the Simoneau house on Thursday and Saturday nights. Even though some nights it can be stressful, Terry puts up with it because she knows it means a lot to the guys.
“It’s not important that they play shows. The guys have formed a friendship with this band, and as long as they’re happy to play together, the band will continue. It’s a boy’s getaway. It’s their thing,” Terry said.
However, Southtown does play many shows. They are actually booked the rest of the year. They often play at Kobi’s Bar and Grill in Bonner Springs, Kansas; Brew Top in Lee’s Summit; Thirsty Ernie’s Bar and Grill in Raymore; Richey’s Club in Kansas City and Bullfrogs in Lee’s Summit. Southtown has also played a few private parties.
Their next gig is Saturday, September 29 at Bullfrogs. They will begin their set at 8:00 p.m. Southtown will also be playing in ThirstyErnie’s Halloween Bash on Saturday, October 27.
“When I hear the songs we play on the radio, I think, ‘Man, I like that song!’” Brown said. “You want to hear songs you know when you go to a bar, so that’s why we do covers.”
The Southtown guys have another life outside of the band consisting of family and work, and that comes first, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stop playing anytime soon.
“There’s a lot of good times ahead,” Root said.
For more information about the band, add SouthtownKC on Facebook. To view some of Southtown’s performances, search SouthtownKC on YouTube.
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