Kimock drives strings to ‘flow state’ after years of feeling tunes |

Kimock drives strings to ‘flow state’ after years of feeling tunes

Shauna Farnell
Steve Kimock feels every string. The former Bay area phenom plays at 8150 Wednesday night.

VAIL – Steve Kimock’s tight-knit following has been equated to Jerry Garcia’s. Garcia. Kimock. For some of us, the latter doesn’t have the same familiar ring to it, but maybe it will some day.At the age of 14, Kimock committed himself to five-hour sessions of scales, chord progressions and generally intensive practice on his guitar every day. His hard work has seen him through several different bands, including Zero, KVHW and sit-ins with Bruce Hornsby. For the last four years, he’s delivered his far-reaching guitar sound with the Steve Kimock Band.”I’m trying to get a small and very humble book of my own music,” Kimock said from the motor home he tours in. On Monday, Kimock was bracing himself for a 15-hour stretch of road between Seattle and Telluride characterized by horizon-swallowing highway flats along “the graying wasteland of Idaho.”

“With SKB now, it’s very much our own sound,” Kimock said. “It’s unique to this band. I think it’s mostly the result of allowing the various influences of the thing come into play and not trying to direct too much. It’s allowing everybody to do their thing.”Kimock said that those various influences come from more of a feeling rather than a conscious effort to mimic a certain style or sound. His array of listening selections of late attest to this.”Let’s see, what’s been on the box these days? I’ve been listening to a lot of Middle Eastern music, The Beach Boys. I’ve been listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Bob Marley – I love Bob Marley – a little bit of everything. I go through periods of listening to nothing but North Indian classical music. I still put on the first two Black Sabbath records,” he said. “The trick with the listening is, l don’t try to figure it out. As a teenager, I tried to play stuff, but after a point, I was like, God, I love this. I would want to listen to it and start the feeling with just that. Music is that feeling you get when you listen to something. I want to feel something when I’m playing it or feeling it. It has nothing to do with a style, it’s just about trying to proceed from a place of feeling the music.”

Throughout the years, Kimock has managed to communicate that feeling to audiences around the globe. His band has a substantial following in Japan, not to mention the Colorado Rockies, the San Francisco Bay area and other places he’s frequented in the last five years. Kimock spent New Year’s at home in Pennsylvania – where he moved from the Bay area two years ago – with family and his new baby.”In Pennsylvania, I could have a giant farmhouse and a barn for what I was paying in rent for a shack in San Francisco,” he said. “I miss the Bay area terribly; I spent all of my adult life there. But, I was priced out of the market. It just wasn’t artist friendly anymore.” Kimock’s music has been through the categorical analysis cycle and placed into the “jam band” box, but he is reluctant to run with that definition.I think it’s kind of a lame tag,” he said. “I go out of my way to try to create some different forms than the standard – slowly gathering energy to some sort of peak. We try to change that up. There’s a lot of compositional elements to our music and there’s a lot of improvisational. I don’t think (the jam band label) speaks directly to any musical style. How do you use one little catch phrase like that for Karl Denson, The Radiators … How do you get all of those under the same roof?”

Although touring can be demanding, especially consecutive performance dates with 15 hours of gray landscape in-between, Kimock’s relationship with his guitar has lasted almost 40 years and he still finds joy in sharing it with others. “I really enjoy playing,” he said. “I’m doing it for playing – for the chance at having that connection with the music and the audience, that flow state.”Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 610, or, Colorado

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