Kimock Teams with Worrell, Ingram and Hess for Latest Journey of Exploration

:: Aggie Theatre :: October 18 ::
:: Oriental Theatre :: October 19 and 20 ::

By Brian Turk

“Who is Steve Kimock and why does he keep blowing my mind?” That saying is on a bumper sticker on a high-profile VW around Denver, and it’s also on the lips of people standing in front of him for the first or the fifteenth time. The question is a valid one, and deserving of an answer. Kimock has never been a “superstar,” yet he has played with superstars. His name is well-known, but in specific circles, and like his music, those circles are hard to define because he does have reach to music lovers of all types, but most likely, the introduction was made through his association with the Grateful Dead (he has played or toured with every member of the 1990-1995 line-up of the Grateful Dead, including Jerry Garcia).

Kimock is a guitar player by trade, and an explorer of cosmic proportions. There is nothing mystical about what he does, yet his songs have a transcendental quality, in the most organic use of the term. No hoopla, ho hootenanny — just playing.

Kimock’s sound developed from exploration, and a journey West started the expedition that has planted many flags, but he still keeps searching. In a recent interview with The Marquee from his home studio in Pennsylvania, Kimock told us about how the West introduced him to new sounds, and how his seeking still journeys on.

Kimock grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and lived a life surrounded by music in a small and sleepy steel town. At 20 years old, a scene worthy of a movie sparked the seeker in Kimock. “I moved to Northern California in 1975,” said Kimock. “I was playing and living with The Goodman Brothers in a farmhouse in Pennsylvania — a bunch of brothers and a bunch of crew, with some assorted females and family, mothers and sisters, and additional brothers that weren’t in the band. It was sort of a commune, as we used to say — bunch of people living in a house out in the woods. One day, Brother Mike (See “One for Brother Mike” on Eudemonic), the eldest, sort of walked out of the house with nothing but a coat on, hopped on the back of a motorcycle, and we said, ‘Mikey. Where ya goin?’ He said, ‘I’m goin’ to California. Come on.’ And he roared off. And that was it. He went across the country on a motorcycle to California and started carving out a spot there. I guess it was a year later that we went out there for the first time. We got out there and immediately went, ‘Oh my god, we’ve got to go home and get our shit and get back out here.’ So we did. We went home and packed up everything we owned, which was really only a couple of amps and a couple of lights, and we drove across the country to San Francisco, and there I was for the next 30 years or something.”

Kimock didn’t go to California looking for gold records, he went searching for sound, and that humble step onto the path has yielded a steady course of lifelong exploration. “Obviously, I didn’t get into this because of the showbiz aspect,” he said. “It never really actually occurred to me. As a kid, I picked up a guitar, and with the help of some of my family around me — my Aunt Dottie was a folk singer — I got a big push. I was taught music was used to tell a story and to get a circle and gather some people. It was in service of the gathering. And that’s what we are still doing. It wasn’t a circus or a spectacle, it was a gathering. It never needed to go much further than that. I still play all the time, and I still feel like it’s about the gathering. There doesn’t need to be anything contrived about it. It’s ok if it’s just the music and the musicians and the people. The nature of the gathering and the harmony of all the people together is what it’s about. The audience is a big part, and we reciprocate the energy.”

With Kimock, the possibilities are endless. From the formation of his band Zero in the mid-eighties, to Steve Kimock’s Crazy Engine or The Everyone Orchestra, no territory remains uncharted. Different configurations establish different parameters, if there were any to begin with at all.

The most recent lineup Kimock has been playing with will be coming to Colorado this month, and Kimock’s enthusiasm hinted at the cohesiveness of this particular group of musicians. “Besides myself, it’s Bernie Worrell on the keys (Parliament-Funkadelic, Talking Heads), Andy Hess (Gov’t Mule, Black Crowes) on the bass, Wally Ingram (Timbuk 3, Stockholm Syndrome) on the drums —one of my favorite artists, along with David Lindley for the Twango Bango routines. So anyway, that’s the band. These guys are so good. So good natured and so good humored. All of the ensemble chemistry that might allow the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts is all there. I’m diggin’ the shit out of this project, man! After this tour we are going to start putting together a record with this band,” he said.

Kimock’s commitment to being a “musical expeditionary,” as Bob Dylan once called himself, gives audiences the chance to travel with him as he brings together the encyclopedia of sounds in his head. Sometimes the ride is soft and subdued, other times it’s hard and haunting. At all times, it’s honest and organic. The above information should give you a starting point for finding out who Steve Kimock is, but to truly understand, listeners need to channel that bumper sticker and allow their minds to be blown.

:: Steve Kimock ::

:: Aggie Theatre :: October 18 ::

:: Oriental Theatre :: October 19 and 20 ::


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• Grateful Dead

• Jorma Kaukonen

• John Scofield



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