When the Doobie Brothers hit the road in 2016, they'll be bringing an old friend along for the ride.

The Doobies have announced in a press release that they're adding keyboard player and Little Feat co-founder Bill Payne as an official member of their touring band. Payne, who was previously announced as part of the Doobies lineup for their upcoming tour with Journey, is now expected to remain indefinitely.

Payne remains a member of Little Feat, though the band has stayed largely off the road in recent years and tends to record sporadically (their most recent LP, Rooster Rag, was released in 2012). His involvement with the Doobies comes after a period of membership in Leftover Salmon — and although that's come to an end, he still intends to sit in with them as his schedule allows. As he noted in the press release, his Doobies union culminates decades in the band's creative orbit.

"Having played on many of their albums, and spent time on the road with them over the years, it is an absolute honor to be in the band," said Payne. "They have some truly great songs, the musicianship is the best, and they are good people. I’m very happy about this union."

"It’s such a pleasure to have Bill playing with us every night," added Doobie Brothers co-founder Patrick Simmons. "Little Feat and The Doobies started out together at Warner Bros., with Ted Templeman producing both bands. There has been an incredibly close friendship, and so many musical collaborations through the years. The fit is just right. Bill takes us to a noticeably higher level that is inspiring to all of us, and our fans."

The Doobie Brothers will begin their tour with Journey on May 12, but they'll be performing select dates beforehand, including the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam in Asheville, N.C., on Dec. 12. Visit the band's website for dates and ticket information.

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