Steve Kimock Crazy Engine: A New Trip

 
I think that there's a great deal of positive energy that can be generated playing music in general, but I think that this specific batch of people - because everybody represents a comfort zone that I recognize - I think that it's going to be good energy for people right now. The whole country is undergoing some kind of metamorphosis. It's time to get out there and put some energy into that.

-Steve Kimock

 
Photo by: Greg Kessler

Sharing a stage with each other may be a relatively new event, but Kimock and Melvin Seals both have deep roots in the Bay Area music scene of the '70s, '80s and '90s. Their shared connections are almost endless, with links through members of the bands Legion of Mary, the Grateful Dead, Merl Saunders and the Rainforest Band, Zero and the Jerry Garcia Band.

John and Steve Kimock by Michael Weintrob
But, there can be no doubt that his most special bond with a Crazy Engine member is that which he shares with his son John Morgan, who was banging pots and pans in the kitchen before he could speak. Although Kimock saw potential talent "as soon as he got a hold of a stick," by two years of age, John Morgan was writing his own compositions.

Kimock remembers the day he knew John was a musician: "He would grab stuff - a toy and a plate and a box and a bell and whatever - and make semicircles on the floor, and amuse himself by doing whatever he believed the permutations of those collections were. So, one day he's sitting there with his collections on the floor, and he says, 'Do you want to hear a song I wrote?' I was like, 'Sure.' And then he goes around for a minute or two, and then he stops, and you do the usual thing, clap, but then he said, 'Do you want to hear it again?' And he did it again! It was a really long sequence, and he knew what it was supposed to be. He was composing! And I was like, 'Cool!' So, he still does that a lot. He writes beautiful, beautiful stuff."

John has played with his father in several projects, but this is the first time he's a permanent member of one of his father's bands. Steve Kimock doesn't take credit for his son's skill. Instead, he attributes John's keen attention to detail to his own inquisitiveness about all types of music.

"I know a lot of people who listen to a lot of music [but] he listens to more music than anyone I know," says Kimock. "He's heard so much stuff, and he's been at it for so long. He has such a right attitude about his own place in all of it that he approaches the thing with a lot of respect. It's pretty cool."

Janis Wallin by Paul Kruis
Part of the discipline required for a nineteen-year-old to expertly serve in the rhythm section for a band that boasts so much experience and talent can be attributed to John's experience as a national martial arts champion. According to his father, as a second-degree Black Belt submission grappler in high school, he was "kicking ass and taking names." "He brings a certain resolve to his work that few people have. He's been beat up by professionals. He knows how to pay attention."

It's these newfound strong connections with his band mates that Kimock feels will help Crazy Engine to create the soundtrack to the "existing, developing energy" that is present in the world right now.

"I think that there's a great deal of positive energy that can be generated playing music in general, but I think that this specific batch of people - because everybody represents a comfort zone that I recognize - I think that it's going to be good energy for people right now," he says. "The whole country is undergoing some kind of metamorphosis. It's time to get out there and put some energy into that."

So, why Crazy Engine, and why now?

"From a family perspective, it's the right time for me to be working with Johnny for Johnny. That's one reason," says Kimock. "I'm thrilled with his development, and I know that he's going to be off to bigger and better things, a wonderful and expansive musical life of his own, and I just want to spend some time with him before he gets away. I enjoy playing with him so much and love him and his playing, and I know he's got a world out there that I'm happy to let him go after."

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