Acclaimed guitarist Steve Kimock was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on this date in 1955. Kimock co-founded legendary improvisational rock act Zero and followed the band’s breakup by performing and recording with a variety of projects, including many under his own name or as the Steve Kimock Band.
Steve Kimock has a long history of performing with members of the Grateful Dead. The guitarist was a member of Keith & Donna Godchaux‘s Heart Of Gold Band, the pair’s first group after leaving the Dead. Sadly, Keith didn’t get a chance to perform live with the ensemble as he was killed in a car accident before they had a chance to take the stage. Later, Kimock contributed to Bob Weir’s Kingfish, RatDog and Campfire bands, performed as a member of Phil Lesh & Friends and teamed with Mickey Hart & Bill Kreutzmann as part of The Rhythm Devils. Additionally, Steve toured as part of the original The Other Ones lineup during the summer of 1998.
In honor of Steve Kimock’s 65th birthday, JamBase compiled five videos featuring the guitarist performing classic Grateful Dead songs over the years via the JamBase Live Video Archive. Check them out below:
Scarlet Begonias | November 6, 1998
Bruce Hornsby performed a residency at Oakland jazz club Yoshi’s that spanned October 27 – November 8, 1998. Steve Kimock was the keyboardist’s special guest for most of the performances, including a special early show on November 6, 1998 that also featured four songs with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. Phil’s only public on-stage appearance between August 1998 and April 1999 came just one month before he underwent successful liver transplant surgery. Steve Kimock, Phil Lesh and Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers started their four-song collaboration with “Scarlet Begonias.” Kimock and Lesh also contributed to Hornsby original “Rainbow’s Cadillac” and GD classics “Loser” and “Tennessee Jed.”
As noted, in 1998, Steve took part in The Other Ones, a band that included Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart as well as Bruce Hornsby, Mark Karan, John Molo and Dave Ellis. Lesh would continue to call upon Kimock to play guitar in various Phil & Friends’ lineups through October 1999, when Steve left Phil’s employ in the middle of a co-headlining tour with Bob Dylan and the pair haven’t shared the stage together since. The duo were still in each other’s good graces on August 14, 1999, the second night of a two-night Phil & Friends’ run at Red Rocks that began with “Playing In The Band.” Lesh’s lineup was rounded out by Molo and The String Cheese Incident sans bassist Keith Moseley.
“Stella Blue” has long been a staple of Steve Kimock shows regardless of the lineup he’s leading and with good reason. Kimock always takes his instrumental renditions of the Hunter/Garcia ballad to the next level. “Stella Blue” served as the encore for Steve Kimock & Friends’ September 13, 2003 concert at Chester’s Place in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The guitarist’s band at the time saw him joined by bassist Reed Mathis, drummer Rodney Holmes and keyboardist Pete Sears.
Help On The Way Slipknot! Franklin’s Tower | December 5, 2014
Steve Kimock played a show in honor of the R&B roots and inspiration of Jerry Garcia at a venue that has become a frequent host of Kimock, the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, California on December 5, 2014. The guitarist’s band for the night featured bassist Bobby Vega, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, guitarist Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz and drummers John Kimock and Bill Vitt. Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann stopped by and took John Kimock’s seat for a 30+ minute run of “Help On The Way” into “Slipknot!” into “Franklin’s Tower” that ended the evening’s first set. Steve let the “K-Waves” fly during “Help” and “Slipknot” before the band transformed “Franklin’s” into a bluesy vamp.
An episode of long-running radio program eTown featuring Bob Weir premiered on September 27, 2017. Weir was joined by Steve Kimock for his performances, which were filmed and recorded at eTown Hall in Boulder on August 2, 2017. Bobby and Steve were backed by the eTown Band including Nick Forster on pedal steel guitar and vocalist Helen Forster for the “Ripple” finale that ended the first half of the show and the first of two installments of eTown featuring Weir.
Robert Hunter wrote the words to “Ripple” during a particularly fruitful day of songwriting in London that also yielded “Brokedown Palace” and “To Lay Me Down.” Garcia set “Ripple” to music while the train shepherding musicians across Canada as part of the legendary Festival Express tour was stopped. The Grateful Dead recorded the song for their second of two 1970 studio albums, American Beauty.