Victor Simon says he was a bit of a daredevil growing up in Kingsport.
“When I was younger, my brothers and I would do everything from bicycle stunts to motorcycle stunts. I crashed so much they started calling me Vic Danger,” Simon said during a recent phone interview from his Nashville home. “Somehow, I didn’t get many broken bones. But I did get a lot of bumps and bruises. That’s what was so funny about it. I always kept getting up and they’d tell me, ‘Wow! That was cool. Can you do it again?’ I’ve crashed lawn mowers, motorcycles, bicycles, you name it. I should’ve had my own ‘Jack Ass’ program.”
It was while a junior high school student at John Sevier that this thrill-seeker found his niche in music. “I was in John Sevier’s band and just moved to the next level in high school,” Simon said.
Simon is a 1971 graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School and says in the late 1960s and early 1970s, racial discrimination was still quite prevalent, even in Kingsport.
“I had all kinds of friends, both white and black, but in the general area of living, it was still pretty tough. There was just not really any potential, that I could see, for work or really doing anything that would help me in my adult life. I loved to play music, and I had this gift from God. I thought if I got good enough at it that I could create my own path. You just have to look inside yourself and decide you’re not going to stay down all the time. You’re going to try to do something to better yourself. The Lord built this fire in me and without God, I would not be where I am. He made all of this possible, and I am ever so thankful,” Simon said.
Read the expanded version of this report in the print edition or the enhanced electronic version of the Kingsport Times-News.