Five Questions with Steve Kimock
Whether with each of the living members of the Grateful Dead, his band Voodoo Dead, with Parliament/Funkadelic co-founder Bernie Worrell or his solo acoustic project, Steve Kimock has proven himself a versatile master of improvisation for over four decades, and in the process inspiring music fans with his transcendent guitar speak voiced through electric, acoustic, lap and pedal steel guitars. While one can say that his genre is rock, no one niche has ever confined him. Instead, through the years, he’s explored various sounds and styles based on what’s moved him at the time, whether it’s blues or jazz; funk or folk; psychedelic or boogie; gypsy or prog-rock; traditional American or world fusion.
What was the first venue you ever played?
I don’t remember the name of the venue: it was a little bar in Bethlehem PA. I was riding down the street on my bike. I didn’t even have a car. I knew a guitar player; he was a big guy. His name was Bela Sarkozy. Bela pulled up next to me on my bike and said, “Hey, do you want to play a gig?” And I said sure, not having ever done one. He said show up at this place at 6 o’clock or whatever it was. I don’t even remember how I got there. The gig turned out to be me and a drummer on this little runway above the bar, maybe two or three feet deep. I was told to take the stage. I knew nothing. I knew no music. No tunes. The drummer started to play, and I started to play. Then a girl with basically no clothing on came up on the little runway and started dancing in front of us. I was horrified. We played for a little while, and we were instructed to take a break. Almost immediately after I got off the stage, my dad, who had been alerted to my presence in the bar, burst in the door, grabbed me and whisked me out. I was totally underage. I managed to grab my guitar but couldn’t convince my dad to grab my Blackface Princeton Reverb off the stage. I went back the next day. My amp was gone. In some ways, many things have improved.
What is the first album you bought?
Simon & Garfunkel.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Truck driver or bartender. I partially achieved this as a young musician by driving all over the country to play where people drink.
What music are you currently listening to?
Well, I listen to lots of different stuff in various rotations, but recently have been focusing on Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Otis Rush.
If you could share a meal with any three people (living or dead) who would they be?