:: Steve Kimock :: NedFest :: :: August 22nd :: w/ Praang :: :: August 23 :: with Melvin Seals & JGB ::
By Ryan Lappi
If there is an art and discipline to maneuvering through the shifting climates and sonic landscapes of the world of musical improvisation, then Steve Kimock has undoubtedly taken on the dual roles of Zen Master and Secretary of the Psychedelic State. Not only has he mastered the art of shaping chaos within the context of on-the-fly musical composition, but he has also turned context itself on its head, adding a sublime and kaleidoscopic presence to any band that will have him.
In the last year alone, he has embarked on musical forays that have included such improvisational greats as Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Mike Gordon, Bill Kreutzmann, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Stephen Perkins, John Molo, and the Everyone Orchestra (just to name a few).
When he appears at NedFest this year he will continue the journey by playing with two more bands – Praang (featuring Jamie Janover and the String Cheese Incident’s Michael Travis and Jason Hann) and Melvin Seals & JBG.
Kimock’s fearless spirit for musical exploration will no doubt benefit musicians and fans alike at NedFest, which is known to encourage cross pollination between musicians and late night adventures aplenty. In fact, the roots of his relationship with his NedFest cohorts arose with a similar amount of spontaneity, with a few drops of freshly squeezed serendipity to boot. While Kimock was in Denver in December 2006, waiting to play a show with old friends Bobby Vega and Ray White, a snowstorm left him stranded without a band to play with. “I flew in a few days early,” Kimock recently reminisced with The Marquee, “and everybody else was supposed to fly in the day of the show. But nobody could fly in because of the snow. And I was like, ‘anybody around with a sled or snowshoes want to come over and play?’”
Luckily, Colorado locals Michael Travis, Jamie Janover and Jason Hann were willing to lend a helping hand. “We got together, and it’s sort of a, how do you say it? Miles per gallon, pound for pound, it’s the highest possible musical efficiency rating for that band because we just showed up at the gig and played. There was zero bullshit, zero hassle … So that’s really neat, and the way that those guys approach music, I can relate to them,” said Kimock. “And for whatever reason, whatever I do with it they relate to it too, and we just sort of paint as we go.”
That ‘incident’ was not the first time Kimock was thrown into unfamiliar music terrain, and it certainly was not the last. In the summer of 2007, Kimock received a call from an old friend, former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir. Just two weeks before tour, Mark Karen, lead guitarist for Weir’s band, Ratdog, was diagnosed with throat cancer, leaving the future of the band uncertain.
After much pondering about what to do, Kimock seemed to be a logical choice. “The Grateful Dead and those folks have really given everybody [so much], wherever you are in the scene,” Kimock said. “If you’re playing music or building PA systems or involved in music somehow, the Grateful Dead have given everybody a lot. I felt like that was an opportunity for me to give something back, just whatever way I could. Just give back something by hopping in there and keeping that seat warm for Mark to get better. You’ve got to have some momentum. It would have been a real shame if they’d have to go into some kind of limbo, for the band, and for Mark. I think everyone was served by keeping it going and I think that the entries and exits were handled gracefully. I have nothing but respect and fondness for that whole crew.”
Now that Mark Karen has returned, happy and healthy, Kimock can pursue his own muse. Aside from his recent, highly lauded contributions to the Mickey Hart Band, he is perhaps most benefiting from a project that reaches a little closer to home: his son, John, is an up-and-coming drummer, and he said that playing with his son is a constat learning experience. “All the time. Constantly! He’s at that stage in his life where he’s on a fantastically accelerated learning curve. I wish I could have stayed there. And in a way I wish I was playing more with him. At the same time, he’s almost 19, and it’s like, who wants that every time you play to have your dad there?”
:: Steve Kimock ::
:: NedFest ::
:: August 22nd :: w/ Praang ::
:: August 23 :: with Melvin Seals & JGB ::
Recommended if you like:
• Grateful Dead