Back in the 1980’s I worked in a record store. For you youngins, “records” were the media that stored our music. We also had “tapes” and eventually “CDs”. Now we have MP3s and no record stores to speak of! Anyway, this is where I first encountered the band Savoy Brown. Kim Simmonds founded the band in England in the mid-60s, when Blues was all the rage. My guess is that they were influenced by many of the same American blues artists who influenced other English groups of the same time. Perhaps Kim will leave a comment and expand on that! Anyway, nearly fifty years later and Kim Simmonds is still touring the US with Savoy Brown, now calling New York home. A few months ago he followed me on Twitter, which I took to mean he may have an interest in cigars. Further conversations confirmed this and I’m honored to say that he is a reader of CigarCraig.com! I’ve been overdue for a Celebrity Cigar Chat installment, so I imposed upon him to take a few minutes out of his schedule to answer a few cigar questions for us!
1. How and when did you come to be a cigar smoker?
I’ve never thought about that question until now. I’m thinking it was back in the 70’s in London when I started smoking cigars. All the pubs sold them from behind the bar (Hamlet was one brand) and I’d have the occasional one with a beer. It was just a natural pairing…a beer and a cigar.
I’ve been playing music now for 50 years come 2015 and it’s strange what sticks in your mind…..one memory is of a Decca Record Company executive pulling out an expensive cigar from his desk humidor, at a meeting we were having, and soon the office was full of Cuban aromas. I must have been in my early 20’s but I can still taste that marvelous cigar now!
2. What is your “goto” cigar? What is it you like most about that cigar and how long has it been your favorite?
My cigar smoking is pretty much like my guitar playing and my music…it changes every day (I like to keep things fresh for myself and the audience).
That being said I always had a preference for the old H.Upmann’s. I must have tried the new brand but I’m not sure…I do have it in mind to buy a five pack and find out what they are like these days. I did smoke a “Havoc” from that company fairly recently and was surprised the band looked so average. The cigar itself was okay.
Recently my “go to” cigar has been the “Vegas 5 A series”. I got some at a good price from CI and they have a nice taste, don’t knock my head off and are smooth. I’ve enjoyed those cigars, off and on, for over two years now.
I like a smooth cigar be it mild, medium or strong. I don’t inhale…it’s a matter of taste rather one of nicotine buzz. I used to only enjoy mild cigars but so many of those have no taste so I have gone to a more medium cigar as a general rule.
I like Montecristo whites and Cohiba Red Dots but rarely smoke them as I’m always looking for a $2.00 bargain!
I like your blog because it gives me ideas for cigars to smoke other than the usual I might run into.
3. What is your ideal situation for enjoying a cigar?
In the summer sitting on my patio with my dogs (well, dog now..my eldest passed away)….nothing beats it. For that matter….sitting in the summer with a cigar on anyone’s patio!
I also like smoking a cigar on the road with my band mates. It’s a way for us to relax together and share time together other than professionally.
And quite often in the winter, I will go for a drive simply to smoke a cigar and let my thoughts clear up problems or give me ideas. I live in the country so traffic is minimal.
4. Do you have the opportunity to enjoy cigars while touring? Do you search out local shops or lounges?
That’s one of the highlights of touring! As a band we all seek out a cigar lounge wherever we are and that ends up being the most relaxing time during stressful tours. And it’s fun, at the lounges, trying a cigar you might not normally smoke.
5. If you could hang out and smoke a cigar with anyone, living or dead, who would that be, why, and what cigar would you smoke?
That’s a no brainer. Sir Winston Churchill. A monumental presence in British political history and someone I grew up admiring for his strength and fortitude. Also, like me, he is a painter and his book on the subject inspired me years ago. And, of course, we would smoke a Romeo y Julieta!!!
Thank you Kim, for taking the time to give us a little glimpse into your cigar passion, and thank you for following along with my adventures! I seriously hope to be able to have a cigar with you one of these days, and you can bet I’ll be looking for a Philly area show to come to! You can read more about Savoy Brown and Kim at their website: http://www.savoybrown.com/ and get the music on iTunes and Amazon. It’s a lot of fun when passions collide!
Until the next time,