Cris Cohen: How would you say you guys are different as songwriters?
Pat Simmons of The Doobie Brothers: Good question. I couldn't really tell you, to be honest. I think most songwriters probably do it the same way, just like anybody writing anything. It's trial and error in a certain respect. You get an idea and you just try to float it and see if it'll turn into something. I'm sure you've talked to dozens of writers. Everybody has the same process. Everything you come up with as a writer, it's an idea that embeds itself in your head. Where it comes from? Who knows.
It's something that you cultivated. I certainly think that people are born with an aptitude for music, but it's something that you cultivate, especially with writing. If you never tried it or determined that it was (not) something that you wanted to do, it wouldn't come to you. But once you've decided that, "I can write a song," that's where it starts. "Maybe I can do something." You write a song and you go, "Hey, that works." And then you try performing it and everybody goes, “Oh, that was good, Pat. You should write some more.” Then you go and try to write more songs. That's I think how it starts.
From then on, it's just exhilarating. For every song you write, probably there are a hundred different ones that never get there. I have so many demos on my computer. Sometimes it’s a matter of minutes until you have something really great. Other times it's a matter of months to years to have something that’s solid.
That’s the process for me anyway. (Bob) Dylan writes six songs every day and completes them. (laughs)