- KNOWN QUANTITY Jerry Garcia once called Steve Kimock his favorite unknown guitarist.
In the four decades guitarist and songwriter Steve Kimock has called the North Bay home, he has played in an array of musical projects and crafted a diverse body of work.
He's best known for his jazz-rock band Zero, formed in the 1980s in Marin. Touted by Jerry Garcia as his "favorite unknown guitar player," Kimock's ever-evolving sound has been on display since 2000 in the Steve Kimock Band and projects like Steve Kimock Crazy Engine.
In addition to a performance with David Lindley at 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley on Feb. 27, Kimock debuts his latest ensemble on March 2 at HopMonk in Sebastopol, and this one is a family affair.
Joining Kimock onstage will be his eldest son, John, himself an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and composer, for a new wide-ranging and inventive instrumental outfit simply called KIMOCK.
"I guess I just got tired of people misspelling my last name, so I spelled it out in capital letters," laughs Kimock, speaking from his home studio in Sebastopol.
"John and I had taken prototypical swipes at the idea of collaborative songwriting, but there was always too much stuff going on, for him and me both, to settle into a space to make that work," Kimock says. "But now we are both at a point in our lives where we can apply a little torque to that idea."
The idea behind KIMOCK was inspired by the guitarist's forthcoming solo album, Last Danger of Frost, which Kimock recorded solo last winter. It's set for release on March 18.
"I wanted to go into some areas of music that didn't have anything to do with my normal routine," Kimock says. "I play in lots of rock bands, and that's fun and everything, and after 60 years, I'm starting to get good at it. But it's not where my musical influences are if left to my own devices."
Lately, Kimock has been experimenting more with the balance between acoustic and electronic elements, making "Last Danger of Frost" an instrumental wonder unrestricted by the rock and roll format.
Throughout the album, Eastern and Western folk melodies filter through looping effects, creating a hypnotic feel, and the instrumentation flows freely in an eclectic sonic exploration.
"It's like that feeling you had when you were a kid and you laid down on the floor with the speakers on either side of your head and you put on a record," says Kimock. "Or when you were huddled in the closet with the headphones on—that feeling. I like that feeling."