While last weekend’s news was justifiably dominated by the grand return of Phish in Hampton, another jam stalwart used the same weekend and locale to trot out his own new band, Steve Kimock’s Crazy Engine. The soundboards are available for free at livedownloads.com, as previously reported, and this seems like as good a time as any to shine the spot on the Toaster, something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.
For many people, Kimock is tied to Garcia in some nebulous way, even though the Pennsylvania guitar guru doesn’t actually sound all that much like Jerry, or even have that close an approach, aside from playing sweet and clean. Regardless, Kimock himself has mentioned his role as one of the stewards of the GD and solo JG cannons, and has had long standing relationships with many of Garcia’s sidemen, including Merl Saunders and Melvin Seals, not to mention his Zero cohort Martin Fierro.
This first volume in the Kimock series at Stormy Mondays is Kimock plays the music of Jerome Garcia, kicking off with sit-ins with DSO for a rockin’ That’s What Love… at All Good in 2005, and New Monsoon on the Jam Cruise doing Mission in the Rain. Steve spent a good chunk of 2007 filling for Mark Karan in Ratdog, and while the summer gigs were a bit hit or miss, the fall tour was a scorcher. From the epic Albany concert, a full show Terrapin sandwich, comes an unreal Eyes that closed set I. Returning to DSO, there is a beautiful version of Dylan’s Visions of Johanna, a tune very rarely played by the GD, and the mix closes out with Zero outside Grand Central Station on a sunny Saturday morning in April, absolutely crushing Franklin’s Tower. Feel the K Waves, and as always, enjoy!
Great choice for a Stormy Monday.
I first saw Steve back in the very early 1990’s as part of the bay area psychedelic scene that was dominated by (but certainly didn’t stop and end with) the Grateful Dead. While Jerry played stadiums and vaudeville theaters for multi night runs, you could always find Zero at the local fundraiser, the small bar and nightclub.
Where phish rejected the mantle of the grateful dead school (at least until Jerry’s death), Steve always seemed real cool with it. It didn’t bug him when people made comparisons. I think also, very much to Steve’s credit, he came to love a lot of this music and to appreciate it’s deeply improvisational spirit. Steve’s more of a Miles fan than a Deadhead, but so was Jerry. I think that’s why people continue to link them, there’s something about the quality and feel of what they’re doing rather than exact tonality or style similarities.
When Steve ditched Phil tour in 2000, it really changed the dynamic of the post-Garcia Grateful Dead world. Steve had been the people’s choice for those first few Other One’s tours and made Phil and Friends a serious contender for preemanate psychedlic traveling band. Check out Steve with the Trey and Page from Phish with Phil and Friends in April of 1999. He’s absolutely huge and expansive in his playing. http://www.archive.org/details/1999-04-17.paf.sbd.ejade.6415.sbeok.flacf but he’s equally impressive doing his own thing: http://www.archive.org/details/kvhw1999-01-17.akg.flac
When Steve got back from the Phil and Dylan tour debackle he played a tiny show at the San Geronimo cultural center with Billy Goodman (there may have been 150 people) and somebody yelled out for “Wolfman’s brother.” This brought the house down in extended laughter (part of a long proud tradition of heckling that flows from both sides of the stage at Zero and Kimock shows). I think even among those that love Phish and Kimock (Charlie Dirksen specifically) there’s a feeling that Kimock is up to something a little less romper-room and a little more critical than the hard jamming boys from Vermont.
As the black sheep of the Grateful Dead family, Steve continues to push forward while our old beautiful traditions and lineups start to sound a bit nostalgic, Steve is out there doing something entirely new with graceful deference to a common musical tradition.
A Steve and Melvin Seals tour is something I’ve been exited about since KVHW broke up. Both of these cats are supreme masters of a very beautiful psychedelic art. This will be a tour to remember.
Jerry’s legacy belongs just as much to these guys as to Phil, Billy, Mickey and Bobby. In fact, Steve continues a much older musical tradition of borrowing from every avaliable musical tradition to develop one’s own voice.