Steve Kimock Band
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Steve Kimock Band


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The best kept secret in music


"Zen and the Art of Playing a Guitar"

Steve Kimock has been performing nationally for over 25 years with such legendary bands as The Heart of Gold Band, Bob Weir’s Kingfish, Phil Lesh and Friends, The Other Ones, Bruce Hornsby and KVHW. His latest group, The Steve Kimock Band features the talent of multi-Grammy winning drummer Rodney Holmes who played with Santana from 1997-June, 2000, guitarist Mitch Stein, bassist Alphonso Johnson, bassist Leo Traversa and keyboardist Jim Kost formed in January, 2000. So far, they’ve put out three live CDs and will have their first studio CD wrapped up soon.

In September, we caught up with Steve and discussed his attitude toward “greatness,” life, Zen and the art of playing a guitar:

KYND MUSIC: All of the accolades you’ve received over the year’s, do you ever think ‘I can’t live up to that?’

STEVE KIMOCK: It’s worse than that. I understand why I need to do interviews in the press, but to take any of it to heart, whether it’s criticism or praise, it’s not what I need to do to play. That shit hurts my playing. Any time I have to see myself in relation to a thing like, I’m a guitar player and here’s the audience – anything that puts you back in to that duality screws it up. Like if you were me, you might think, on some level you would define yourself as being a guitar player, and if you imagined yourself, you might imagine yourself standing there with an instrument and I don’t at all. It’s really not what’s happening at all.

KM: So what is happening?

STEVE: What’s happening is just sort of being in the moment, that’s all, whatever it is, whatever you’re doing, whether it’s sleeping or taking care of the baby or talking on the phone.

KM: Speaking of babies, congratulations. I guess a new baby makes your guitar seem less important, huh?

STEVE: Well, yes and no. It doesn’t make the guitar thing less important. It adds another layer of responsibility to trying to do a good job with it and it does kind of focus your time differently. So, when I’m playing or when I’m working on music, it gets much more attention. When I’m doing the family stuff, the family stuff gets much more attention, I try to keep it like that.

KM: In a recent interview in RELIX, you were talking about to book, ZEN MIND, BEGINNER MIND and how when you read it, you took “life”, and when it said “life”, you substituted the word “guitar.” Can you talk about that?

STEVE: Yeah, anywhere that it said practice, and it says practice a lot in that book - It’s talking about spirit and the doing it that winds up being the thing. I think what it did was it got me away from suffering behind being goal-oriented about what it was that I was trying to do with the music. I realized that you just sing what you sing and play and just do the work and there’s no looking at your watch and wondering when am I going to change something, or if I do this, that there’ll be some mastery down the line. You sort of abandon that in favor of actually just methodically trying to do the work. If some benefit comes from it or some realization comes down the line, then it comes. And maybe, before it comes, like it said in the book, it’s something special and after it comes, it’s nothing special. You just sort of sit and do the work. You don’t really expect to get something from it. You understand that doing it is just doing it. Also that not doing is doing. If not doing is involved, that’s also doing, so yeah, that was enormously important to me.

KM: So, there’s the doing, and then there’s the not-doing. Your newer stuff, on your Live in Colorado CD is very sparing. It seems like you don’t feel the need to play a lot of notes. How do you know when to not play a note as opposed to when to play a note?

STEVE: Another enormously important book that I stumbled on relatively early on, in the seventies when I moved to California – At Indian Valley Colleges, there was a guy named Lou Harrison who had written a little handbook, like a little primer, you know - here’s your basic music stuff. I think page one was, for any pulse, a tone may be sounded or not. That was the very first thing. I mean, there’s the moment and it’s absolutely equally relevant to sound the tone on that pulse and not. That always struck me as unbelievably right on. It was like, oh yeah, either – or. It’s just as good to not as to. I believe the Chinese had some notation for un-struck sound where you would go through all the motions of getting to the note, you know, put your finger on the note and get there on time and everything like that, except you didn’t play that note. In between, a pulse may be sounded or not, and the idea that there could be struck and un-struck sound, you know and the fact that I like to work with improvisation - those ideas have maybe given me a little more patience than some folks. What the hell, I’ve been playing since I was a teenager. I’ll be 49 in a month – I put my time in shredding. I did some serious shredding as a kid man, you better believe it – I - By Sara Terpeny


To download live performances visit

Steve Kimock Band:

Live at the Gothic Theater DVD
Live in Colorado Vol. 2
East Meets West
Live In Colorado
Live From The West Coast
KVHW - Live in Concert
Zero - Nothin' Lasts Forever
Zero - Zero
Zero - Chance In A Million
Zero - Go Hear Nothin'
Zero - Nothin' Goes Here
Zero - Here Goes Nothin'

Steve also appears on the following recordings:

The Heart of Gold Band - Double Dose (1989)
Various Artists - Everybody Slides II (1993)
Psychedelic Guitar Circus - Psychedelic Guitar Circus(1994)
Dama & D'Gary - Long Way Home (1994)
Frank Novato - Rock 'n Roll Heaven (1996)
Harvey Mandel - Planetary Warrior (1997)
Carlos (Bobby) Vega - Down the Road (1998)
Dose Hermanos - Live from California (1998)
Merl Saunders - With His Funky Friends (1998)
Merl Saunders & the Rainforest Band - Fiesta Amazonica (1998)
Missing Man Formation - Missing Man Formation (1998)
Phil Lesh & Friends - Love Will See You Through (1999)
Kingfish - Sundown on the Forest (1999)
Jazz Is Dead - Laughing Water (1999)
The Other Ones - Strange Remain (1999)
KVHW - Life at the Lip (1999)
Ubiquities Compilation - No Categories, Vol 2 (1999)
Solid Air - Heartbreak Town (2000)
Bruce Hornsby - Here Come the Noisemakers (2000)
Pete Sears - Long Haul (2001)
Bruce Hornsby - Big Swing Face (2002)

A new studio album is expected to be released soon.


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Steve Kimock Band defies simple categorization. Its players are renowned artists with diverse musical influences and a shared love of stretching sonic boundaries. Its music is a kaleidoscope of innovative compositions and dazzling improvisations that range from the rush of exploratory fusion and funk, to the roar of psychedelic rock, to the whisper of a ballad so haunting and sweet that audiences fall silent under its spell. Its live performances are incendiary marathons of musical creation and on-stage chemistry that are unlike anything else in music today.

SKB guitarist Steve Kimock has dedicated his life to the mastery of his instruments and the exploration of new paradigms of rhythm, tone, and melody. Kimock has been at the leading edge of guitar-driven improvisational music for more than 25 years, consistently reinventing his art through hard work, imagination, and the creation of a new musical vocabulary.

Joining Steve Kimock in the current line-up of SKB are Rodney Holmes (drums), Mitch Stein (guitar) , Leo Traversa (bass). Holmes is a Grammy award-winning drummer, recognized for his explosive power, graceful touch, and an unparalleled ability to play multiple rhythms simultaneously. He has performed with a diverse and talented mix of world-class musicians – from the Brecker Brothers to Santana to Wayne Shorter – and his unique approach to drumming is hugely influential in creating SKB’s signature sound.

Guitarist Mitch Stein’s rich musical heritage and imaginative style provide the perfect foil for Kimock’s fat-toned phrases. Schooled in jazz, classical and rock guitar, Stein is a creative player who has performed with the likes of David Sanborn, Chaka Chan, George Benson and Steve Gadd. Leo Traversa, considered one of the world’s top bassists, has performed and recorded with a wide range of internationally-known artists, including Tania Maria, Ben E. King, Elaine Elias and Claudio Roditi.

Live performances of the Steve Kimock Band are the stuff of legends. Audiences come to experience the vivid musical imagination of the players, celebrate the power of sound that moves the soul, and share in the sheer thrill of new music created nightly. Widely admired for the quality of its live sound engineering, SKB is one of the most frequently-recorded touring acts today.

Since the inception of the Steve Kimock Band in January 2000, SKB has enjoyed a rotating cast of standout players, including Alphonso Johnson, Arne Livingston, Bobby Vega, Pete Sears, Alan Hertz, Tom Coster, Prairie Prince, Chip Roland and Jimmy Sanchez, with expert sound support from Howard Danchik, Rudson Shurtliff and Evan Crown.

The Steve Kimock Band has recorded two live CDs, East Meets West and Live in Colorado, as well as a live concert DVD, Live at the Gothic Theatre available in the goods section. In late spring of 2004, SKB will release a much-anticipated studio debut featuring the powerful line-up of Steve Kimock, Rodney Holmes, Mitch Stein, Alphonso Johnson and Jim Kost.