Kimock Talks Grateful Dead

HT Interview: Steve Kimock, Resident Expert

Legendary guitar guru Steve Kimock kicked off an exciting spring residency at New York City’s Sullivan Hall last Wednesday, which over the course of three weeks will find the Bethlehem, PA native joined by a Yankee-esque stacked roster of big hitters including Marco Benevento, John Morgan Kimock, Adam Deitch, John Molo, Marc Friedman, Andy Hess, Henry Butler and Pete Sears.

By all accounts, the first iteration of the weekly residency exceeded all expectations as the various members gelled in ambitious improvisation. In fact, in Kimock’s own words, “The show on Wednesday was awesome! It was ridiculous, so much better than I could have hoped. I knew it would be fine, since it’s a nice place with decent people, so the nature of the event was that it should have been cool, but it was extraordinary. I’m reeling.”

With two more weeks to go in the series, we caught up with Steve Kimock to chat about what went into to preparing for the Sullivan Hall shows as well as a whole host of topics including his job working at Mesa Boogie back in the 1970s, the direction of his recent writing and playing music with his son.

Hidden Track: Let’s kick it off with the residency. Obviously, you’ve got a lot of crack shot musicians involved, but I was curious what kind of preparation goes into when there are so many different players, moving parts, and so on?

Steve Kimock: Ay Ay Ay. Not a lot, honestly [laughs]. There’s not a lot that you can do other than get the logistics of it together. If it was any other kind of gig, like if I was a singer/songwriter type or if I had a hit song on the radio, the people that would have been involved would have a pretty simple task. They’d know what the song was, I could send them a chart, and that’s that.

The way I like to work is to prepare the groundwork for something creative or serendipitous to happen in an authentic improvisational way. You know, you don’t really know what people are good at, and what the chemistry ultimately can provide. To dictate too much upfront screws that up. There’s a certain amount of preparation, maybe half of the material we played last week, we touched on briefly. Then we got up and played, and as we played together, it became obvious that if I went too hard toward telling everyone what to do, I would have screwed that gig up. And no kidding, that was a monstrous gig. READ ON for more of Ryan’s chat with Steve Kimock…

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