The Ickmusic Tapes – Ratdog, 1995

Once again, I have to thank my 18 month old for pulling a great cassette out of the box that I thought was so securely closed (you know, the four flap clockwise fold – there’s probably a name for it, like Boy Scout knots).

Between 94 and 97, I taped just about every Grateful Dead Hour off a local radio station (KZON, then KDKB). In late ’95, they played what was then an early Ratdog show from the Warfield in San Francisco – it was September 2nd, short of a month after Jerry Garcia’s death.

I’ve always loved this particular version of “Heaven Help the Fool”. And “Throwing Stones” was always one of my favorites. This early version of Ratdog included Rob Wasserman on bass (Weir and Wasserman performed together for years prior to that), and former Primus member Jay Lane on drums. In this particular show, though, former Tubes-man Prairie Prince is pounding the skins.

Check out this nice mini-set.

September 2, 1995
The Warfield, San Francisco

Heaven Help the Fool
Bass Solo (Wasserman)
Victim or the Crime
Throwing Stones

Happy Birthday Steve Kimock!

My man north of the border, Cam, is back for another post…. – Pete

Oct 5 – If you’re anywhere near Teaneck, New Jersey, head over to Mexicali Blues to catch Steve Kimock, George Porter Jr., Robert Walter, and John Morgan Kimock and celebrate Steve Kimock’s birthday.

Steve Kimock is one of the more versatile guitarists I’m familiar with. His long and ever evolving career has now spanned over three decades, and he has shared the stage with many “big names” as well as showing up to guest with lesser known entities.

Kimock grew up in the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania region and moved to the Bay Area in the 1970s. After playing with folk-rock band the Goodman Brothers and several other bands, Steve co-founded Zero in 1984. The band had a lifespan of 16 years and played its brand of rock to both San Francisco and national audiences. Kimock was also the leader of the critically acclaimed band KVHW, featuring Steve on guitar, Zero band mate Bobby Vega on bass, Frank Zappa alumnus Ray White on 2nd guitar and vocals, and drummer Alan Hertz, more recently with Garaj Mahal.

More recently Steve has led the Steve Kimock Band (SKB), which, when not on hiatus, plays primarily original instrumental compositions in styles ranging from jazz to prog-rock. The only permanent musician in SKB, apart from Steve himself, is ex-Santana drummer extraordinaire Rodney Holmes.

Since 2006 the SKB has been on a hiatus which has allowed Steve to sit in with many bands spanning a range of genres, including Banyan, Everyone Orchestra, the Allman Brothers, Porter Baptiste and Stoltz, Dark Star Orchestra, Zilla, and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – to name just a few.

A check today reveals that Steve will be touring with Ratdog later this month on a 14 show, 12-city tour including a date on Halloween. A typical Kimock performance, whether in one of his bands or sitting in with others, involves multiple guitars. Sometimes Steve will play one of his many electric guitars or dazzle fans with his slide work on his Lap Steel. The different guitars provide different sound and textures that vary the music. Steve is a huge “gearhead” and provides detailed answers to various questions from fans on the ‘Gear’ section of his website.

During his Bay Area years, Kimock periodically played with Grateful Dead related bands (even earning him the title of “… the best guitarist nobody ever heard of” from Jerry Garcia). Despite the fact that he rarely plays Dead material in his own band (in part to not to be viewed as derivative of the Dead scene) his career and persona have been intertwined with Grateful Dead related music – he has performed with Phil & Friends, The Other Ones, the aforementioned Rat Dog, and Dark Star Orchestra to name a few.

Music, tour dates, and the all-important page dedicated to Steve’s gear can be found at

Special thanks to my good friend Azer for his contribution to this post.

ZeroGregg’s Eggs (mp3) – 8/10/2007 at Gathering of the Vibes, Bridgeport, CT

BanyanFull Show stream from 8/4/07 – Cervante’s Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver (Kimock on Guitar)

Check out the Steve Kimock Band’s latest, Eudemonic

SK’s Official Site | MySpace

The Gourds go Gyroscopic – it’s Austin time

I ask you, what’s not to like about a band with a member named Shinyribs Russell? It’s the Gourds out of Austin, Texas. You may have heard a funny bluegrass version of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” several years back (in the free Napster-era when we were all pinching ourselves – “holy shit, I can find any song I want!”). Many folks wrongly tagged the song as coming from Phish, but nope, it was the Gourds.

They released their latest, Noble Creatures, back in July. I just picked it up on eMusic after hearing “The Gyroscopic” on Sirius. Nice earthy feel. I recommend.

The GourdsThe Gyroscopic (mp3)

Buy Noble Creatures: Amazon | The Gourds - Noble Creatures

Linkage: Official Site | MySpace

Deep in the Heaaart of Texaaas…. And so listening to an Austin band segues quite conveniently into my much anticipated maiden voyage to Austin for the Austin City Limits Music Festival. For those that can’t make it, you can check out a live webcast all weekend at the AT&T Blue Room. See y’all on the other side!!

My 1990 Halloween with Phish

Thanks to my college cohort Jason, I now have a living breathing document of our early Phish experience. It was Halloween 1990. That night, Phish would play our college’s 740 seat theater, Armstrong Hall. Judging by my first Phish show in April of that year, I knew we were in for something special. Costumes were required for this performance. So I dug up a poncho, a cowboy hat and a water pistol and called myself Josey Wales. Jason got a little more creative, and dressed up like a droog from A Clockwork Orange.

That night, we filed into Armstrong Hall and had our minds blown by these four strange fellows from Vermont. Page seemed the most normal of the bunch, nestled behind his keyboard. Mike was a cartoonish figure with his moppy hair and deadpan expression as he laid down those great bass lines. Fishman was a fascinating sight on drums, dressed in his standard attire of goggles and a dress. I had never heard / seen such drumming live before. The rhythms he banged out had me wondering how one person could muster up all of those sounds.

And then there was Trey: red hair, red beard, and his perma-grin throughout the show. With his stack of amps and electronic equipment blipping and flickering behind him, Trey was a veritable guitar god that night (and every other time I saw him).

Phish obviously evolved into a phenomenon, selling out tours for years with minimal album sales & radio play. In 1997, when Phish was playing America West Arena here in Phoenix, I scored a backstage pass and got a chance to introduce myself to Trey. I reminded him of this night in 1990, when he and his buddies from Vermont took the stage at a small auditorium in Colorado Springs, and did proceed to tear the roof off the mother (not to mention my brain).

*Embellishment follows* As a distant neon sign flickered in Trey’s eyes, he began to nod emphatically and hoarsely whispered, “Hey! Weren’t you dressed like Josey Wales?” A tear fell from my eye, and we embraced like two long lost brothers, as we shared the common bong bond of a simpler time. A salivating silver and black dragon then burst through the ground beneath, swallowing us both whole. *End of embellishment*

Armstrong Hall
Colorado College
October 31st, 1990

1: (Buried Alive -> Possum, The Squirming Coil, Lizards, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, You Enjoy Myself, The Asse Festival, My Sweet One, Cavern, Run Like an Antelope

2: The Landlady, Reba, Runaway Jim, Foam, Tweezer, Fee, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony -> Suzy Greenberg, HYHU -> Love You -> HYHU, Mike’s Song -> I Am Hydrogen -> Weekapaug Groove

E: Uncle Pen, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars

Set 2 preceded by costume contest. *Vocal jam included “A Night in Tunisia” (Dizzy Gillespie).

McDowell Mountain Profile: Ratdog

photo courtesy of Alan Hess:

Headlining the McDowell Mountain Music Festival tomorrow night is Bob Weir and his band Ratdog. The band originally formed as a side project for Bob and his friend Rob Wasserman. They picked up former Primus drummer Jay Lane and guitar / harmonica player Matthew Kelly and hit the road in 1995. For those that don’t know, Bob Weir was the rhythm guitar player and founding member of the Grateful Dead (did I need to mention that?). Ratdog’s songbook has consisted primarily of Dead tunes, Weir solo tunes, and the wealth of Bob Dylan tunes that the Dead also enjoyed playing over their 30 year career. Only Bob and Jay Lane remain from the original Ratdog lineup (Wasserman left in 2003), but they’re still going strong. This summer, they’ll be touring the U.S. with jam-guitar man Keller Williams.

Judging by a Weir interview I read in the local paper today, I can look forward to seeing some Ratdog / Neville Brothers collaborations tomorrow night. Did I mention I’m excited?

RatdogMasters of War (mp3) – Dylan cover, live, unknown date & location – great version of a great song that rings OH SO TRUE today.

Ratdog Heaven Help the Fool (mp3) – live, September 2nd, 1995 – original comes from Weir’s 1978 solo album of the same name – this is hands down one of my favorite versions.

  • Ratdog’s Official Site.
  • Stream / download some live Ratdog shows on
  • Current Ratdog lineup: Bob Weir (vox, guitar), Jay Lane (drums), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards,vox), Kenny Brooks (sax, vox), Mark Karan (guitar, vox), Robin Sylvester (bass, vox)

McDowell Mountain Profile: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

grace potter and the nocturnals

Next up on the big stage Friday: Vermont band Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. Grace leads the band with her killer soulful voice and a Hammond B3. The Nocturnals are made up of Scott Tournet (guitar), Matthew Burr (drums), and Bryan Dondero (bass). The fine folks over at Hidden Track swear by her, and they are true aficionados of today’s jam scene, so I’m looking forward to the live GP & the Nocturnals experience. Judging by a recent live show I checked out on Archive, it should be good.

So this summer will see their third release, This is Somewhere. Here’s a sneak peak at one of the tracks…

Grace Potter & the NocturnalsAh Mary (mp3)

Watch Grace & the Nocturnals tear up “Mystery Train”.

Previous MMMF Profiles: Gelatinous Groove | 2 Tone Lizard Kings | Tea Leaf Green

McDowell Mountain Profile: Tea Leaf Green

tea leaf green

Third to take the stage at this Friday’s McDowell Mountain Music Festival is San Francisco jam band Tea Leaf Green. I was trying to get a chat lined up with the guys prior to the festival, but it looks doubtful considering they’re busy on the road, and I waited until only a week before the festival to get in touch with them. But look for something in the near future.

Anyhoo, the boys in Tea Leaf Green are made up of keyboardist/vocalist/ and main songwriter Trevor Garrod, guitarist/vocalist Josh Clark, bass man Ben Chambers, and drummer Scott Rager. They’ve been going strong in northern California since the late 90’s, and have really built up a loyal and growing fanbase through their live performances. They caught the attention of Phish’s Trey Anastasio, who brought them out on the road to open for him. They’ve since opened for Gov’t Mule, Dave Matthews Band, and Bruce Hornsby.

TLF has gone from playing the small clubs (including Tempe’s former dive bar with a heart, the Sail Inn) to selling out San Francisco’s Fillmore in a few short years. I’m waiting for my eMusic monthly downloads to roll over to pick up some of their stuff, but I did grab a few off their latest, Rock ‘n’ Roll Band, which was recorded live at Boulder, Colorado’s Fox Theater in 2006. The release also includes an accompanying DVD, which I’ll have to check out.

I’m really looking forward to checking them out on Friday. Here’s a kick ass introduction to Tea Leaf Green, a 10-minute journey through power jam goodness…

Tea Leaf GreenFranz Hanzerbeak (mp3)

Check out Tea Leaf Green on: their official web site | their MySpace | | YouTube

Buy Rock ‘n’ Roll Band:

Previous MMMF Profiles: Gelatinous Groove | 2 Tone Lizard Kings

Have you ever had a Garage a Trois?

Garage a Trois

Howzabout a little Garage a Trois to end the weekend / kick off the week? What we have is a side project of Charlie Hunter on his 8-string guitar, Galactic’s Stanton Moore on drums, and Skerik on sax. On this 2003 release, Emphasizer, they had Mike Dillon help out on percussion and vibraphone.

Laid back acid jazz/funk comin’ your way.

Garage a TroisHard Headed Rio aka Rio Cuca Dura (mp3)

Buy Emphasizer:

Garage a Trois’ Official Site.

Listen to a whole GaT show on August 3rd, 2005 at the Fox Theater in Boulder. That’s my birthday, mark your calendars and save your money.

McDowell Mountain Profile: Gelatinous Groove

gelatinous groove

So my girl and I will be spending next Friday, April 27th – all day, all night – at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival. From noon to 2pm, Sierra Nevada (the sponsor) is throwing a little kick off happy hour with $2 beers. It’s the perfect opportunity to get soused in the 85 degree heat before the first note is even played. Look out!

The music kicks off at 1:30, and goes through 11pm. The lineup for the day is:

Gelatinous Groove (1:30-2:15)
2 Tone Lizard Kings (2:30-3:15)
Tea Leaf Green (3:45-4:45)
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (5:15-6:30)
The Neville Brothers (7:00-8:30)
Bob Weir & Ratdog (9:00-11:00)

I thought I’d spend the next week or so profiling each band in Friday’s lineup. So we start tonight with the festival opener, local band Gelatinous Groove.

They came together in early 2004 in my former home of Tempe, where I spent six years living dangerously close to ASU hang-out Mill Avenue and great local bar Casey Moore’s. The boys in GG lay down the laid back jam-bandish vibe. Usually these types of bands thrive in the live environment, and I haven’t seen them yet, so it’s hard to judge them from the three tunes available on their MySpace page. I’ll give you some better perspective after the show next week.

The band is made up Mike Roberts (keys, vox), Matt Vestal (bass), Steve Allen (alive and well! on guitar and bass), Mike Hatley (guitar), and the lead vocalist drummer Cory Yardley. And you can’t forget Richard the head. They rave about Richard on their MySpace page, and have a song all about him. Richard apparently goes everywhere with them. I’ll make sure to get an in depth interview at the show. You can see Richard representin’ in the pic above.

Gelatinous Groove: Big D and the Darwin Theory (mp3)

Check out their MySpace here.

Join me at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival in Scottsdale, AZ.