Friends of SIMS
Sims Ellison was an Austin musician who was highly regarded and beloved in his hometown. In 1995 he took his own life after an intense battle with severe depression arising from a series of personal disappointments and the dissolution of his band. The tragic suicide of Sims Ellison innervated the people of the city of Austin to band together in rousing support of its cherished musical community in the name of one of its own. A non-profit mental-health outreach and support program was formed in Sims’ honor and The SIMS Foundation was born. The foundation was named in Sims Ellison’s honor but it is also recognized locally as "Services Invested in Musician Support."
The making of Friends of Sims by Kyle Ellison:
For the first time in a long time I found myself not in a band. I wanted to make a record for Sims. I wanted to give back. I wanted to make a record that was full of beauty and love that reflected all the beauty and love Sims gave. It’s the 20th Anniversary of the SIMS Foundation but also of my brother Sims’s death. I wanted to create something to celebrate his life, his fun sprit and the fun we had together.
I got a band together with John Michael and Kyle Schneider (who I played with in Roky Erickson’s band) and began recording some of my favorite cover songs. Songs just came to me, haunted me, and I knew that we were supposed to do each one. I called friends of Sims that I thought would be interested in singing specific tracks. I knew Charlie Sexton could nail “Moonage Daydream” andJeremy Nail would be perfect for “She.” The first track we cut was Sabrina Worthington on “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” She came in and blew me away along with everyone in the studio. There was no pressure, no expectations, just music. It was easy and it flowed and at times it felt like divine intervention. I lived every note of this record, every song was right in tune with what was happening each time we recorded. Everyone who played on this record did it out of a love of music and Sims and to celebrate him and his memory.
Sims guided me every step of the way on this record, from the name, Friends of Sims to the cover. The cover came to me in a vision: a bunny coming out of Sims hat. That’s what this record felt like, pulling a rabbit out of a hat, beauty manifested from thin air. My friend Amanda sent me a picture of her bunny, Bruce, nearly the same one I saw in my vision. He was a one take wonder, he just sat in the hat when we took the picture that is now the album cover of Friends of Sims. It was perfect and reminds me of all the magic and wonder Sims had.
I truly hope everyone enjoys this record as much as we did making it with love…for Sims…for everyone.
Friends of Sims: Charlie Sexton, Doyle Bramhall II, Alejandro Escovedo, Paul Leary, Kyle Ellison, Sally Allen, Kyle Schneider, John Michael, Jason McMasters, Dave Derrick, Jared Tuten, Sabrina Worthington, Laura Scarborough, Jeremy Nail, Savannah Welch, Bukka Allen, Abby Travis, Chris Layton, Ian Moore, Denny Freeman, Michael Ramos, Amy Hawthorne, Shandon Sahm, Michael Hale, Tommy Taylor, Topaz, Evan Charles, Sean Faires, Riley Osbourn, Adam Minkoff, Anthony Cole, Ted Vecchio, David Beeson, Rob Lamaman, Bruce Rivers, Annie Long, Sims Ellison
SIMS Foundation provides life-saving mental health and addiction recovery services to Austin music industry professionals and their family members. Since 1995, SIMS Foundation has served more than 5,000 members of the Austin music community with counseling, psychiatry and substance abuse services. The SIMS Foundation was formed following the death of Sims Ellison, bassist for the band Pariah, after he took his own life after losing his battle with depression.
Story of Hope by Kyle Ellison with Elizabeth Decker: