very steep learning curve

For some reason or other, I thought I’d like to host my weblog on my own webspace (it seemed like a good idea at the time!) So, I upgraded my hosting package to the all singing all dancing super duper advanced package, with built in thingy and added wotsit. So I’ve spent almost 24 hours in a hell made up of mambo, Xoops, PHP and more, and the end result? Well, we’re still here aren’t we? And here is where we’ll stay unless the new year brings me a new brain to understand the slightest thing about all of this.

More Back Door

More Back Door

After I got Back Door’s 8th Street Nites, I got the reissue of their first, self-produced album, just called Back Door. Although somebody made a mess of transferring from the master tapes (side 2 was obviously mastered first, followed by side 1, so the tracks are in the wrong order), the music is still great. And the album features another Colin Hodgkinson solo piece called here Catcote, though it is actually called Catcote Rag. Another great reminder of how great a bass player he was (and still is, I guess). I just wish I had kept my fully autographed vinyl version of the original limited edition album! If you didn’t check out Back Door after my previous recommendation, or you did and you want more, then this is for you.

Ah, the Catcote! Although I never saw Back Door at the Catcote, I did spend a lot of my formative years in the back room, and it is the place that I made my first ever public performance. (As well as being the place I had several other firsts too – as far as I can remember) I remember that I was so nervous that the blues instrumental that I had practised for weeks (Vestapol, in open D tuning, from Stefan Grossman) ended up being played about 3 times too fast, and my right hand and arm swelled up because of the effort involved – well, once I’d started playing fast I couldn’t slow down, could I? I had to get a bar towel soaked in ice water and wrap it around my arm to reduce the swelling. Ah, but it was worth the pain for the brief moment of adulation and adoration (OK, a few people seemed to like what I did and stopped drinking and smoking long enough to look in my direction)

Steve Kimock – stunning guitar player

I first heard Steve Kimock about 5 or 6 years ago. I was heavily into trading cassettes (remember them?) of live music with people around the world. One name that kept popping up on people’s lists was KVHW, Steve Kimock’s band at the time (Steve Kimock – guitar, Bobby Vega – bass, Alan Hertz – drums, Ray White – guitar and vocals) As part of one trade, I decided to take a chance on this band, having heard some good things about them. And man, were these good things right! I could do without the ramblings of ex-Zappa player Ray White, but the rhythm section were very hot, and Kimock was a revelation. Now I know that as a guitar player of no renown myself, I listen to music differently to non guitar players, non musicians. But Kimock has an army of fans, and they are not all guitarists or musicians.

So what is it about Kimock? Better people than myself have tried to define this, but I think it is to do with one thing – emotion. Sure, he has great technical ability, can play in many styles at the drop of a hat, but so can lots of other people – it doesn’t stop them from just being guitar w*nkers (excuse me for that – I’m sometimes one myself). But Kimock plays everything with feeling, be they original tunes or cover versions. When he is jamming and improvising, he moves to another level, and in my opinion there are few that can equal him. He has, at times, been called the “New Jerry Garcia”. He is not the “new” anything, he is the old Steve Kimock, doing what he does very well indeed. Rarely can I listen to Kimock play without getting emotional myself – now some may say I need therapy or psychiatric drugs, but I know better – it is the music and the emotion in the music that is making a connection with me. It doesn’t take getting a counseling degree online to understand that music, and being able to acknowledge the emotions that arise when people hear it, is great therapy already.  For a while he was part of Phil Lesh’s everchanging line-up in Phil & Friends – for my money the best of those shows were the ones featuring Kimock with Bill Payne and Paul Barrere of the best band in the world ever – Little Feat. There is some stunning intuitive playing, both individually and as an ensemble.

I recently got Kimock’s most recent album “Eudemonic”, and it is a stunning thing. It has had me laughing and cheering in the car, as well as wiping away the tears at the lyricism and, yes, the emotion. So please do yourself a favour and listen to some Steve Kimock, either at his website (see link above), at the Live Music Archive here or by buying his new album. You won’t regret it. And yes, I know I am a big soft shi*e.

Guitar blog?

It seems that a lot of my recent posts have to do with music in general and guitars in particular. Well, that’s fine, that is where my head is at at the minute. And there’ll be more of the same, too, without apology.
Got my kit ready for a band audition which has yet to materialise, and had a couple of impromptu festive jams at work with my manager who plays in a folk band. Just got me wanting to play even more.