Steve Kimock (born October 5, 1955 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) is an American rock musician and guitarist.
Kimock's music is widely known for being influenced heavily by the psychedelic rock styles of the Grateful Dead. He is one of several musical artists whose fan base includes Deadheads and whose popularity has surged as these fans have sought out new live musical outlets following the 1995 death of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia.
Resisting the usual trappings of a normal life at an early age, Kimock focused extensively on music, typically practicing for eight hours daily. This routine began as early as high school in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, where his principal permitted him to practice guitar in the breezeway, on the condition that he at least show up for school.
His diverse musical influences have been wide-ranging, including Roy Buchanan, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ali Akbar Khan, David Lindley, Bob Weir, Frank Zappa, Jerry Garcia and others. But Kimock is best known for creating music that is generally considered to be the nearest contemporary sound to that of the Grateful Dead, and his music is held in high esteem by diehard fans of the former band and by members of the Grateful Dead themselves.
In San Francisco
In the mid 1970s, Kimock moved from Pennsylvania to the San Francisco Bay Area to play guitar with the folk-rock group The Goodman Brothers. In 1979, after a stint with Martin Fierro in the salsa band the Underdogs, Kimock joined the Heart of Gold Band featuring Keith &Donna Godchaux and drummer Greg Anton. In 1984, along with Anton, Kimock co-founded the psychedelic rock ensemble Zero.
It was through 16 years of touring and six co-produced albums with Zero that Kimock first gained a national audience that thrived on his blistering improvisations and inspired compositions. In January 1998, Kimock along with Zero band mate Bobby Vega, joined with Frank Zappa alumnus Ray White and drummer Alan Hertz to form the band KVHW. This band toured nationally until their December 1999 breakup.
In February 2000, Kimock formed the Steve Kimock Band. In December 2000, Grammy-award winning drummer Rodney Holmes joined the band.
With the Grateful Dead
During his tenure in the Bay Area, Kimock frequently crossed paths with members of the Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia once touted Kimock as his "favorite unknown guitar player," and Kimock has toured and recorded with many Grateful Dead-influenced bands, including Keith and Donna Godchaux's Heart of Gold Band (1979-80), Bob Weir's Kingfish (1986), Merl Saunders and the Rainforest Band (1990-91), Vince Welnick's Missing Man Formation (1996-97), Phil Lesh and Friends (1998-99), and The Other Ones (1998-2000). He is currently a member of the Rhythm Devils, a supergroup formed by Grateful Dead drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart. In July of 2007, Kimock was asked to join Bob Weir's RatDog, filling in for Mark Karan who is undergoing treatment for cancer of the throat.
In addition to those affiliations, Kimock also toured and recorded with (among others) Jerry Joseph’s Little Women (1988), The Psychedelic Guitar Circus (1993), Steve Kimock & Friends (early 90s), and Everybody Slides (1996). Kimock has also been featured on the two most recent recordings by Bruce Hornsby ("Big Swing Face" and "Here Comes the Noisemakers"), and toured as featured guitarist with Bruce Hornsby and his band in the fall of 2002.
Though SKB is now Kimock’s primary musical focus, he continues to play other outlets such as acoustic performances that have allowed him to play some of his favorite and diverse instruments publicly, including custom guitars, vintage lap steels and arch tops, Hawaiian guitars and even an octave mandolin. These special performances also have offered Kimock the opportunity to connect with his folk roots and with old musical friends.
Returning to Pennsylvania
In 2004, Kimock returned to his home state of Pennsylvania to be closer to his family and SKB band members. With a home studio at his disposal, Kimock (and the band) released the band's first studio album, entitled Eudemonic. Eudemonic is dedicated to the memory of Kimock's long-time friend, Doug Greene, who died in 2004.