By Chris Newton
What makes a musician successful? Some would say fame, fortune, record and ticket sales, popularity, or general stardom, but those people are probably not musicians. All of those things lead one to believe that there is an endpoint, or a definable pinnacle that all musicians set their sights to, and once a musician reaches that endpoint, they are successful. Real musicians have no endpoint; they understand that music and its encompassing possibilities are infinite. Pinnacles occur, but they are rarely planned or expected and often are not realized as pinnacles until much later.
Most musicians, especially younger ones, will say that success is simply being able to call your relationship with music a "career," that if you can go out and play your instrument in front of people who pay enough money to enable you to eat, put clothes on your back, and buy new gear, you have become successful. This attitude has become both a blessing and a curse for people striving to become career musicians. On the one hand, this pure love and dedication for music drives the creativity and passion of a musician to brilliance. On the other hand, club owners and other industry villains are aware that musicians have always been revolutionary and non-conforming, and most will play for next to nothing just to maintain their artistic integrity.
Steve Kimock :: By Tobin Poppenberg
Steve Kimock is a successful musician. For the past two and a half decades, he has earned a living wowing all kinds of audiences with his extraordinary guitar abilities. Truly a Renaissance man, Kimock's guitar prowess has been heard in dozens of bands and special guest appearances, and he has embraced music (or has music embraced him?) in every aspect, from building his own amps and indulging in gear technology, to teaching his son the ins and outs of the music industry, to compiling ideas to put out an outside-the-box instructional book sometime in the near future. This man lives and breathes music, and his carefully spoken, thoughtful responses emphasize his enthusiasm and respect for this ancient form of artistic creative expression.
Recently, Kimock organized the reunion of Zero for a three-night run in Denver. The shows were successful and rewarding, and the band is gearing up for festival season, beginning with next month's Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, CA, followed by High Sierra, Oregon Country Fair, Gathering of the Vibes in New York state, and Jam Cruise 5 early next year.
Zero :: 03.11.06 :: Denver, CO :: By Tony Stack
Zero began in the mid-80s when Kimock and drummer Greg Anton teamed up in an old horse barn in Marin County near the Bay Area in San Francisco. Kimock and Anton have always been the backbone of the lineup, which has changed numerous times over the years but remained true to its family roots, always drawing from the same pool of players. But after about 15 years, several albums and tours, Kimock and his band mates felt other projects pulling them in different directions.
"I'd been playing in Zero for my entire adult life," Kimock explains, "and I got to a place in my life where I needed to do things differently." Kimock took the opportunity to stretch his guitar virtuosity into several projects, including several tours with Phil & Friends, the Other Ones, and the formation of Steve Kimock Band, whose lineup also rotates from time to time.
Steve Kimock & Rodney Holmes
Recently Kimock has been everywhere, playing not only with SKB, but also with New Monsoon, PBS, Rhythm Devils, Banyan and others. As his role varies from project to project, Kimock approaches playing in all these unique styles and with dozens of different musicians from a philosophical perspective. "A band isn't running on autopilot. Everybody is listening and contributing in a very heads-up way. If you can listen and let the music push you as your guide, you can get to a place you know you've never been before. And when a band realizes that and shares this sense of discovery, that is the golden moment of the thing. A shared moment of consciousness with the band and the audience – that's what I'm going for." By immersing himself and his playing into all these projects, Kimock definitely leaves his mark – literally: "The New Monsoon thing [in mid-May] was a riot – I get to pee in their pool again at Harmony."