photo by Mark Bowman
There is little doubt that Austin loves it’s music, however, the musicians that perform night in and night out are often left dealing with problems that can be overwhelming. That’s where SIMS comes in to provide the support that musicians deserve. Friends of Sims is an organization that was set up after Sims Ellison of Pariah tragically took his own life in 1995 as he struggled with intense depression. His brother and fellow bandmate, Kyle Ellison, decided to turn this terrible tragedy into an opportunity to help others battling mental health issues. The Friends of Sims provides the support that musicians so desperately need, whether it’s addiction, depression, financial problems or any other issues they may be dealing with. The organization has reported that over the past 20 years that they’ve helped over 5,000 musicians and a 98% improvement of symptoms that many suffer from, helping curate a tight knit community within the music scene. Bringing together a number of musicians from the Austin area including, Charlie Sexton (the musical director of Freinds of Sims), Jeremy Nail, Sally Allen, Conrad Choucroun, George Reiff and many others, helped collaborate on a 20th anniversary rock album covering songs that Kyle Ellison helped choose. Tracks covered include, Iggy Pop‘s “I Wanna Be Your Dog“, David Bowie‘s “Moonage Daydream“, Tom Petty‘s “Refugee” as well as a very touching lost Pariah cover of Bob Dylan‘s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” performed by Sims and Kyle Ellison.
The Friends of Sims stopped by Studio 1A to promote the 20th anniversary of the organization that will be celebrated at the 34th Austin Music Awards showcase on Wednesday, March 16th, at the Hilton. If you aren’t able to attend, you can also stream their music here on KUTX. Lastly, you can help support the wonderful talented musicians who make up the Austin music scene by donating to the SIMS here, insuring that those who bring joy to our lives, get to enjoy their lives as well.
Video by Todd V. Wolfson