Music: Kimock & son

Guitarist Steve Kimock unveils family band

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On Friday, March 11, guitarist and songwriter Steve Kimock will perform at San Francisco’s The Chapel. Photo courtesy of Steve Kimock.

By Charlie Swanson

In the four decades that 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.

On February 27, Kimock performed with David Lindley at the Throckmorton Theatre, and on March 2 at HopMonk in Sebastopol, he debuted his latest ensemble—this one, a family affair.

Joining Kimock onstage was his eldest son, John, himself an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and composer, for a new wide-ranging and inventive instrumental outfit simply called KIMOCK.

“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 from his home studio in Sebastopol. “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 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 playing with the balance between acoustic and electronic elements, making Last Danger of Frost an instrumental wonder unrestricted by the rock ’n’ 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,” Kimock says. “Or when you were huddled in the closet with the headphones on—that feeling. I like that feeling.”

An evening with KIMOCK; Fri., March 11; The Chapel, 777 Valencia Street, San Francisco; doors, 8pm/show, 9pm; $40; thechapelsf.com.

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