Thursday, May 10, 2012

Quintessential guitarist Steve Kimock

Steve Kimock w/ Bernie Worrell, Wally Ingram and Reed Mathis at Port City Music Hall in Portland, Maine 

XVSK opened for Steve Kimock and Friends this night.


Steve Kimock on stage with XVSK.

Port City Music Hall - Arts District Portland, ME

XVSK = (Trevor) Exter vs (John) Kimock 

Trevor Exter - Cello & Vocals

John Morgan Kimock - Drums

 Thanks to Steve Kimock and Charlie Miller for supporting live recording, and much more!
'Hey Man'... New Song by Steve Kimock - live track from 5-12-12. 
Live audio archive Steve Kimock Band Live at Port City Music Hall on 2012-05-12 
Part One advance interview Steve Kimock Tour 2012
The following is part two of a interview with Steve Kimock recorded on May 4, 2012. 
 Interview by  Conall O'Brien

CO: How are things going in The Red Barn, that’s your practice space?

SK: Yeah, I have a big Red Barn, built a nice room in it, and it’s like super comfortable, got a organ in there, gotta piano in there, got some drums, I got a bunch of guitars, and I play. And I sketch and I get ready to do things, It’s a beautiful, uh, it’s a beautiful space man. Although surprisingly, I still get a lot of good creative work done, um – moving around…., ya know what I mean? Like it’s nice to have an area that’s big enough to get a bunch of guys in to do some actual work.  But I’ll still occasionally have a lap guitar, and like <snicker>get in the bathroom and shut the door, or go upstairs  in the kids room when nobody is around…. Just different environments, just to hear it in a different space.

CO: Do you have any new instruments? I heard you had a new gold-top guitar… I’m wondering if that’s inspired you in any new adventures or grooves with….

SK: Well… ya know… (long pause)  sigh…  The new…  You can pretty much kinda know that there’s always some kinda new instrument around… along with the old instruments… The old instruments, ya know – probably be the ones you’re going to see the most, the most duty on stage because I’m used to them and how they work. 

SK: Umm..The Gold-top.., that Gold-Top Les Paul – My cousin Kenny’s old guitar! , would be an exception to the rule, it would be the very first electric guitar I ever saw. (Laughs). I was like” Oh my god that’s an electric guitar”, when I first saw it.

May 12, 2012 Portland, Maine

SK: That was my cousin Kenny’s guitar, that was the guitar he brought back with him, I guess from Germany when he got out of the service. I was… twelve or thirteen, or something like that- at my grandma’s house. And the, Ya know,  the buzz at the family, somebody.. my mom or one of my aunts or something saying “ AHH Cousin Kenny is back from Europe and he’s back from Germany and he’s upstairs” in  Grandma’s house.  
SK: So I go up there after school, and Kenny’s not there but that guitar was laying on the bed, and I was like OMG… what is that?  I had no idea… I didn’t even know…I tried to pick it up, right.. to play it, and BROKE a STRING. Right?

CO: Uh oh…

SK: Which was like ahh shit, he’s going to kick my ass.. for real, ya know? “Oh great, my military policeman big cousin comes back from the Army”, and I break his guitar… but it didn’t go like that, Ya know and.. but.., he was just glad to be back in the states…  but he taught me a bunch of stuff… taught it to me on that guitar.

SK: Ya know and then eventually he sold it, THEN it showed up... on Ebay for some astronomical amount of money, and he called me up and he says, “ Hey man that’s my old guitar”, It was like “ Oh yeah you’re right”. So I say here I go…

SK: Ya know, so – bit the bullet, robbed a couple of 7 Eleven’s, got it back.

CO: Nice. 

Steve went on to say  he plays mostly fretless instruments at home....

CO: What have you been listening to lately, (do you) have any new influences? 

SK: Ohh.. I’ve been, I’ve been listening to … I’ve been listening to more Brazilian music, I’ve actually been listening to a lot of Brazilian music. There’s a female singer named Joyce, that if you looked on..if you looked online, if you looked for Joyce one of the songs is Feminina, you would find a performance from Japan for her with a trio. Which is what kind of got me started on the Joyce, and now I’ve got five or six of her records and the stuff that was on Itunes.

SK:  And I just love her singing and playing, she’s a great player, great guitar player, great singer, uh, One of my very best friends- I played for him all the time, he goes “ I don’t know” he says, “ I just don’t, I don’t get this Joyce thing” ( much laughter…). So um, ya know that convinces me that even more so that it is fantastic and that not everyone gets it.

SK: But Joyce.., awesome. You know I’ve been listening.. I haven’t had a Hermato Pascoal spell for awhile, but I listened to Hernato a lot, back even in the pre Zero days. I remember having a cassette tape in the pickup truck, that this guy had given me of a recording from Montreux, “He goes, Check these guys out” –this is live, and he plays me this stuff from Montreux Switzerland , I was… the most amazing music improvisation and group improvisation , sort of listening compositions, the whole bit – that I ever heard, Amazing, amazing music. And I just, I wore that cassette out, and I eventually wore the cassette out, and that was the end of that, you know I couldn’t find it again because I guess I just wasn’t looking hard enough. 

SK: But now you can go on youtube and look up Hermato Pascoal, and all that stuff from Montreux, that I was listening to it, like right after it came out, is over in video with really good audio, and its killing, it’s just amazing, it’s so good. 

SK: So I had a renewed Hermato thing, along with my Joyce thing. And I’ve been listening to some… oh- I’ve got a tip for the musically inclined –if anybody is reading this is musically inclined. There’s a website called Atlas of Plucked instruments, and Atlas of Plucked Instruments just kinda gives you a map of the world, anywhere that you would like to be, southeast Asia, Africa, southern Europe, whatevers good. And it gives you all the plucked instruments that are indigenous to those areas. So anything with strings on it that you would hit, as opposed to bow. And then links, there’s You Tube  links to guys playing these instruments. You can get totally lost into it… when you see… I mean I think this is what hooked me on the guitar thing, uh.. probably, ya know originally when I very first got it…  ‘cause I didn’t know how to play it… I didn’t know what it was… it was kinda like oh yeah I’d like to do this, what the hell…

SK: I mean, like my first guitar was some kind of 30 or 40 dollar flattop with a trapeze tailpiece and just like a pop sickle stick bridge that kinda moved around. So I remember getting that first guitar and not knowing how to tune it, not realizing that the bridge had to go somewhere special to work with the frets, and just hitting the thing and moving the bridge around and going (mimicking the effect “wow, woww”), ya know, listening to the pitch change. But I mean early on I kinda got the hint that there was this whole bunch of string stuff, that was cool… that wasn’t exactly guitar and when you get to Atlas of Plucked Instruments (dotcom), and you start paging around through it, you see the variety of ….of variation, to playing styles, and music and songs and application of instruments in the world, it’s just incredible, so much beautiful stuff. So along the way with that, there’s this Vietnamese folk music called Vong Co, that’s got some craazyy guitar style stuff, the strings are real slack, the frets are scalloped, the notes are bent (to) this crazy place , that’s fascinating…. I’ll let anybody who’s interested explore that space. Yeah that Vong Co..(guitar style of playing).

CO: Great.

SK: It really is, you should check it out.

Bernie Worrell (Parliament Funkadelic, Talking Heads)

CO: I read in a recent interview that you’d like to go to Brazil or India?

SK: ohh..That was in response, that was the right answer to like the wrong question. I believe the question (earlier interview) was “WHO would you like to play with? ”…ya know, “what person would you like to play with?”.
And (laughs) obviously, I would like to play with everybody. What I’d like to be able to do is, if this has any relevance to your question, what I’d like to do is go to these places and be immersed in these other musical cultures and to be inside that music with the people, it doesn’t matter who they are, it just matters that that’s their music, I mentioned I would love to go to Brazil, I would like to go to India, I’d love to go to Africa, and I just mentioned the Vong Co thing… I mean it’s <chuckles>probably more likely that I would get to Vietnam before any of these other places, just for that. Their music.. their use of the guitar and culture , is worth a closer look…. It kicks my ass, just coming off the screen, of my dinky ‘lil IPad, or whatever- I see some of this stuff and it blows me back… ya know, and man how would you like to sit there, and be there in reality.

CO: I’m curious, in your opinion, what’s happening with the Jam band scene, and do you even consider yourself a jam band player?

SK: I have no idea…. I never considered myself a jam band player in the first place…  I remember when the term first started to get a little traction, I just moved to California, I was living in Fairfax, CA., with the Goodman Brothers where I saw it for the first time… It was a music industry, a big record company response, sort of a derogatory response to those bands that actually _had an audience_, as they were lamenting, these manufactured kind of boy band things, putting out a record that sold millions of copies and then putting ‘em on the road and no one would come to the show. The idea that these bands  that had built audiences, that built followings, ya know that were actually playing for people live… They were like, well you know… ”They weren’t choreographed, with four singers”, and twelve years old kind of thing, um, to just playing around as The Grateful Dead or something, it wasn’t as directed as the boy band thing was . I was like well that’s BS.
I can’t believe that the (jamband) label stuck, it’s not even a musical term. There is nothing that you can say about it, (laughs)  I mean everybody asks if (I) have a wah-wah or something, I don’t know (laughs). I don’t see that you can identify a band that you lumped into jamband thing by identifying a musical element or styles. There are some jambands out there that are entirely electronic, or they play bluegrass, ya know what’s a jamband… <Unintelligible, Carl Benson? Dr. Ditch> , Bob Dylan? Ya know, come on -you can’t lump all that stuff into one musical category, it’s radically different styles and approaches and you could be completely accomplished in one of those areas and be completely lost in another. Which would not be the case if you were a bluegrass player, you could play bluegrass, if you were a jazz musician you could play jazz. But jamband? It’s a, it’s like a marketing thing, it’s not even a bin, you know like if there was still a record store and you went to “jamband” you’d be like,  bin? Everything, nothing?
Yeah, I…. for whatever reason,  that handle stuck, I have no idea. It’s not me anyway.

CO: OK.. Going back to your tour, do you have any plans for an extended Midwest or other parts of the country?

SK: Oh yeah, We’ll got to all of it ya know come hell or high water.

CO:Great, I know…

SK: It’s not going to get to (happen) all on this trip.

CO:Sounds good. Someone wanted me to ask you if there was something you do at every show that people may not know about? (laughs)

SK: Is there anything I do at every show that people may not know about, what does that even mean? 

CO: Uhh, I don’t know..

SK: Is there anything I do at every show that people may not know about…

CO: Do you have any set routine that..

SK:Oh, like ritual preparation kind of thing?

CO: Eat or drink a certain…

SK: No, um (thinking) , there’s nothing really, ya know. I mean I… sometimes I eat, sometimes I don’t.. ahh, I drink a cup of coffee, sometimes I take some vitamins, if I’m at altitude or something like that I might take some, might drink some water for the stamina kinda thing.. oxygen. But nothing to interesting ya know, I don’t sit in a darkened room ya know with uh …

CO: (laughs)

SK: …with tortoises with jewels affixed to their backs smoking opium and ya know watching the light flicker off the shells and listening to them bump on the floor every so often, although I’d to do that, nothing fancy…

Reed Mathis

CO: Let me ask you about your current band, Reed Mathis will be the bass player touring with the band up through Portland? 

SK: Yeah, something like that. 

CO: Bernie Worrell, you’ve known him a long time… he was with Parliament Funkadelic?

SK: He was with Funkadelic, he was a big deal in the Talking Heads, as well as on some of the good Pretenders stuff too, so Bernie definitely gets around, he’s one of my favorite players of all time, ya know, just great melodic sense, and great humor, great attitude…

Wizard of Woo Bernie Worrell on keys

CO: One thing we have in common as far as favorite people ... I know you’re a big fan of Johnny Winter, as I am. 

SK: Oh yeah.

Johnny Winter in April 2012 Tupelo Londonderry

CO:  I saw him recently and his encore is always Hwy. 61, the only song he plays slide..with the Gibson Firebird… Do you have any plans to play slide?

SK: Oh yeah…

CO: and do you have a certain guitar that you use for slide work?

SK: No, I’m going to slide on as much as I possibly can, all the time on everything (laughs). 

Steve Kimock Tour 2012 Port City Music Hall

SK: I’m kinda.. is that the only thing Johnny plays slide on his current show?
He played so much good bottleneck, back in the day acoustic, and electric. You’ve listened to Progressive Blues experiment, haven’t you? I think that’s his very first one, you should go on ITunes and look that one up. Progressive Blues experiment, there is some awesome, just my favorite record of all time. 

SK: He was a …when you were talking about the Chi Chi club stuff earlier.. back in the day there, I used to see Johnny Winter at the Stone too… and even then man, they had a string on him, ya know so the crew could pull him back from the edge of the stage if he got too far, he was so blind. I’m glad he’s up and moving around , he’s one of my favorite players of all time. 

CO: OK Steve, thank you very much

SK: It was fun.

CO:I’ll be seeing you in Portland
(ed- May 12th Port City Music Hall)

SK: See you in Portland !

CO: OK, take care. 

Wally Ingram - Drums

ATLAS of Plucked Instruments 

Interview, Images © 2012 Conall O'Brien All Rights Reserved -

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