A Conversation with Steve Kimock

Steve Kimock is arguably one of the best contemporary guitar players out there. He regularly attempts to reinvent himself, and is a man of experimentation. Kimock is not afraid to take chances or to step outside of the box.

Dubbed as Jerry Garcia’s favorite unknown guitar player, Kimock fuses jazz, blues, world, and whatever else is out there-not to mention that he surrounds himself with an assembly of renowned, kick-ass musicians who help Kimock raise the bar on what it takes to make a sound that is one’s own, stimulating, intense, and, most of all, intelligent.

Vermonters should feel lucky that on Thursday, February 26th, the Steve Kimock band will be gracing Higher Ground with its presence.

I recently spoke with Steve Kimock to discuss his roots, plans, feelings, and thoughts on other players in the scene-This is what he had to say.

Vermont Cynic: You guys have a new DVD coming out, can you talk about that a little bit?

Steve Kimock: I’m very excited about it. It was recorded on New Years Eve, at the Gothic Theatre in Denver, and it is myself, Rodney Holmes, Mitch Stein, and Alfonso Johnson on the bass, and Jim Kost on keyboards.

VC: Are there any musicians right now that particularly interest you, and that you would be interested in playing with?

SK: Yeah there’s a million. There’s always a million musicians I’d love to play with. There’s a guy coming to town around here in the summertime-an Indian guitar player named Dave Hashish. He’s THE guy-he’s so good. I would really like to hook up with him, and I think I probably will. I think it would also be fun to catch up with Hornsby, I don’t know what he’s doing, I hear he’s working on a record-something with Elton John or Sting or something or some giant guy, Clapton maybe.

VC: I read that you were Jerry Garcia’s favorite unknown guitar player-did he influence you at all in your playing?

SK: Yeah, I certainly was. I don’t think that there were any musicians in Northern California that weren’t-I mean if you were right there where he was it was inevitable. He was a great player, I particularly loved the stuff with the Garcia Band. And I liked some of the older stuff too.

The first thing I listened to at all seriously was Europe ’72 as a young teen and it was like hey, these guys are doing something.

VC: SKB has a real interesting sound, where do you guys draw your inspiration from when you create in accordance to your unique improvisations and stuff like that?

SK: Oh my God, there is so much stuff that at any moment can kind of creep in there. I think at this point we’ve been doing it long enough, and I think everyone is pretty comfortable with letting their influence into the thing.

I don’t think it is so much drawing on any specific influences as it is in the situation of being comfortable allowing everyone’s influences to surface-you know, take there place. If we sat down and started making a list, boy, that list would be all over the map. It is kind of nutty, but it’s fun to work like that.

VC: So is the Kimock Band a permanent thing, or is it just a project?

SK: That’s a worthy question. I think that I’m going to try and keep it going for a while, there will be other projects as my own musical means dictate that will come up. I’ve been really wanting to do a straight ahead blues thing for a while. I haven’t really played any straight ahead blues for a while and I really enjoy listening to it, as well as playing it. There will probably be a project at some point that is a little more Americana, more vocals, etc. I did a lot of it growing up in Northern California, lots of trios with a harmonica player. It’s fun stuff, I’ll hit that again at some point.

VC: Are there any particular blue guys that you would want to be playing with?

SK: Good question. I’d feel real lucky if Pete Sears wanted so play some piano. Pete is a great blue piano player-which is pretty much coming up on becoming a lost art. That would be nice.

VC: Has there been a high point in your career so far that you might define as the ultimate thing?

SK: You mean besides this interview? I think the high point part of it is that there’s pretty much is a high point every night, and that’s why we keep doing it. You get in there and get playing and takes a minute to get comfortable maybe, and takes a minute to get the audience on the same page as the band. But at some point, bang, you get there-there’s not really one show.